Definition of sequester in US English:



[with object]
  • 1Isolate or hide away.

    ‘Tiberius was sequestered on an island’
    ‘the jurors had been sequestered since Monday’
    ‘the artist sequestered himself in his studio for two years’
    • ‘A borderline alcoholic with a severe addiction to painkillers, he maintains a live-in girlfriend in the city under the guise of ‘working late’ at the office, while sequestering his wife and kid in the suburbs.’
    • ‘Plus it was nice that the festival organizers didn't sequester you from the other musicians.’
    • ‘We didn't see Lori for many days after that, as she chose to sequester herself in her bedroom, with only visits from a revenge-plotting Gloria to cheer her up.’
    • ‘Unable to protect the ones he loves from the life that has chosen him, Frank sequesters himself, putting all his time and energy into his work.’
    • ‘Yet he himself was a middle-class intellectual who disdained the working class and sequestered himself for decades inside the British Library in lieu of direct observation of the conditions he railed against.’
    • ‘He then sequestered himself in a cave for nine years and sat gazing at the wall.’
    • ‘The domestic ideal held out to young women no longer meant that she was to be sequestered from the world in her palace; her influence could now reach past the front door.’
    • ‘And since last night, the bearded mentor had sequestered himself in his prayer closet, taking only water as he fasted.’
    • ‘In fact, practically every story written on her lately has breathlessly played up how she sequestered herself in a cabin in the woods near Ottawa in the months leading up to making the album.’
    • ‘Until that time would arrive, however, he was sequestered - thanks to his parents - in the family apartment just above the garage, without a single clue as to what he wanted to do with his life.’
    • ‘Eventually he sequestered himself in a tower on Mt. Soledad, overlooking La Jolla, and wrote book after book after book.’
    • ‘The check-in lines are long, your patience is short, and, to top it off, you're traveling for business, which means you'll likely be sequestered in a chilly conference room for much of the time you're away.’
    • ‘I've become such an effective slacker in the past week that, after some conversations with friends and family, I've decided to sequester myself from the Internet for the next three days.’
    • ‘Lately I've been feeling somewhat unwanted by some of my friends, so I'm choosing to sequester myself a little and stop hassling people.’
    • ‘Some soldiers had saved their mounts by hiding them on farms; other horses had been sequestered in countries far and wide.’
    • ‘The facts of these soldiers' cases are under wraps, partly because they've been sequestered from the media by their commander.’
    • ‘I actually was sequestered in Los Angeles with everybody else who wasn't able to fly.’
    • ‘Henry David Thoreau took this to heart when he sequestered himself at Walden Pond and wrote Walden as a response to his experiences.’
    • ‘So they actually bought their own small roulette wheel, sequestered themselves in their rooms at the Pension Russe, spent hours practicing, and returned to play day after day.’
    isolate oneself, hide oneself away, shut oneself away, seclude oneself, cut oneself off, shut oneself off, set oneself apart, segregate oneself
    View synonyms
  • 2Take legal possession of (assets) until a debt has been paid or other claims have been met.

    ‘the power of courts to sequester the assets of unions’
    1. 2.1 Take forcible possession of (something); confiscate.
      ‘rebel property was sequestered and a military government installed’
    2. 2.2 Legally place (the property of a bankrupt) in the hands of a trustee for division among the creditors.
      ‘a trustee in a sequestered estate’
  • 3Chemistry
    Form a chelate or other stable compound with (an ion, atom, or molecule) so that it is no longer available for reactions.

    ‘non-precipitating water softeners use complex phosphates to sequester calcium and magnesium ions’
    ‘the organic sequestering agent EDTA’
    • ‘One of the interesting properties of melanins is their ability to sequester metal ions.’
    • ‘Such reversible, switchable metal-ion binding activity will lead to systems that can sequester metal ions while in the avid form and to systems that can exchange metal ions rapidly while in the other.’
    • ‘With the hydrophobic portions of the molecules sequestered from and the hydrophilic surfaces exposed to solvent, there is little driving force for the soluble peptide oligomers to associate with membranes.’
    • ‘Non-precipitating water softeners use complex phosphates to sequester calcium and magnesium ions.’
    • ‘We observed subunit dissociation directly in excess vitamin D binding protein to sequester monomers and preclude association reactions.’


  • A general cut in government spending.

    ‘if the budget deal hadn't gone through, there would have been a sequester of at least $100 billion’
    • ‘Even Democrats who supported big defense cuts wanted them chosen carefully, not with the sequester's cleaver.’
    • ‘Economists warn that the sequester could lead to a recession.’
    • ‘The committee should be working overtime to avoid a sequester, which would cut virtually every discretionary program at the Pentagon and the Homeland Security Department by 10 percent in 2013.’
    • ‘Congress and the president were supposed to figure out how to cut the deficits or else they'd have a sequester, forced spending cuts.’
    • ‘"But even if a sequester is avoided, the likely policies required to address the nation's long-term fiscal debt problems may also reduce the level of federal funds for states."’
    • ‘Of course, that was exactly the point of the sequester: to force a more sensible approach.’
    • ‘But if the Senate doesn't move we might just have a sequester.’
    • ‘Now Washington is less than two weeks away from austerity in the form of the sequester.’
    • ‘If Congress wants to help the U.S. economy, the best thing it can do right now is implement this sequester.’
    • ‘And what we ended up with by default was this sequester and the fiscal cliff because the parties as currently arranged, couldn't make a deal on stimulus.’


Late Middle English: from Old French sequestrer or late Latin sequestrare ‘commit for safekeeping’, from Latin sequester ‘trustee’.