Definition of siege in English:



  • 1A military operation in which enemy forces surround a town or building, cutting off essential supplies, with the aim of compelling the surrender of those inside.

    ‘Verdun had withstood a siege of ten weeks’
    as modifier ‘siege warfare’
    • ‘Most of the cities were already being filled with food and supplies for the siege, though it was slow and tedious work.’
    • ‘To capture a town through a siege one must, according to Philon, make proper use of machines such as catapults and other war engines.’
    • ‘This also marks the introduction of siege warfare and the deliberate efforts to counter static defenses.’
    • ‘Now all you need are the supplies to withstand the coming siege.’
    • ‘Most contemporary commanders used their troops in a slow, expensive, attritional warfare based on sieges of selected fortified cities or fortresses.’
    • ‘Skipton Castle, dates back some 900 years, and withstood a three-year siege during the Civil War between 1643 and 1645.’
    • ‘The well was outside, and no one had thought to supply water before the siege.’
    • ‘The centre of the city was walled and, with its water and food supply enclosed, could have withstood a long siege.’
    • ‘In the American civil war the sieges of Vicksburg and Petersburg saw trench warfare on a localized scale, and the same was true of the siege of Port Arthur in the Russo-Japanese war.’
    • ‘The seriousness of our project - to sneak into a town under a relentless military siege - began to sink in, and I shuddered.’
    • ‘A violent episode from York's past will be brought back to life this Bank Holiday when the Civil War siege of the city is re-enacted.’
    • ‘The Siege Museum is full of memorabilia and provides vivid portrayals of battles and conditions inside the town during the siege.’
    • ‘When the assaults failed, Grant settled into conventional siege warfare.’
    • ‘This historical drama retells the 1835-36 Texas revolution surrounding the famous siege of the Alamo.’
    • ‘By 1216 the castle was sufficiently strong to withstand a siege by forces opposed to King John.’
    • ‘Several historians of the 1569 Protestant siege on Poitiers provide detailed descriptions of the city's topography.’
    • ‘After more than a month of siege warfare, Pemberton surrendered to Grant on 4 July 1863.’
    • ‘Stalingrad, besides being the turning-point of the war on the Eastern Front, was also a reminder that an ancient form of land warfare, the siege, was by no means obsolete.’
    • ‘‘We're doing our best to prepare our city for defense in case of siege,’ she said as I shot my own arrow.’
    • ‘Such places, with their own aerial supply routes and security systems, could simultaneously withstand a siege and topple a government.’
    blockade, beleaguerment, encirclement
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    1. 1.1 An operation in which a police or other force surround a building and cut off supplies, with the aim of forcing an armed person to surrender.
      • ‘A man whose life fell apart after he sparked a dramatic armed police siege with a toy weapon said today: ‘Throw away your guns.’’
      • ‘A man who held a woman against her will through a 12-hour armed police siege today faces a life sentence.’
      • ‘Two people held hostage after a 24-hour drinking session ended in a police siege have spoken of their terror.’
      • ‘A police siege of his house ended peacefully with his surrender to authorities.’
      • ‘I yearn for those days when everything was full of wonder and fun, when kids could play cowboys and Indians in the street with toy guns that did not cause an armed police siege.’
    2. 1.2 A prolonged period of misfortune.
      ‘I've been having a siege of headaches’


  • lay siege to

    • Conduct a siege of (a place)

      ‘government forces laid siege to the building’
      figurative ‘the press laid siege to her apartment’
      • ‘The Takeda army that laid siege to Nagashino castle consisted of 15,000 men, of whom 12,000 took part in the subsequent battle.’
      • ‘Read Michael Crichton's Timeline and, on a misty day, it is easy to imagine medieval armies laying siege to these fortresses.’
      • ‘After the battle the English expeditionary force landed and laid siege to Rounai.’
      • ‘The objective was to silence the forts so that minesweepers could clear the minefields to allow the fleet to force the Dardanelles and lay siege to Constantinople (now Istanbul).’
      • ‘True to form the press were preparing to lay siege to the two family homes.’
      • ‘A generation ago, mounting an expedition meant drafting a herd of porters, slogging loads of gear to a rocky base camp, and laying siege to a Himalayan peak.’
      • ‘My parents told me that I really had to speak to the press, who were laying siege to the hospital.’
      • ‘They combined forces and actually laid siege to Aleppo itself.’
      • ‘The Iliad covers just a few weeks of the tenth year of the long period over which the Greek forces laid siege to the city of Troy.’
      • ‘In December 1880 the Boers rose in revolt, laying siege to isolated British garrisons.’
      barricade, close up, block off, shut off, seal, bar
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  • under siege

    • (of a place) undergoing a siege.

      ‘the fort had been under siege by guerrillas since June’
      figurative ‘we are under siege from budget cuts’
      • ‘Against his instructions, he elected to stay and defend the capital, Khartoum, which came under siege from the Mahdi in May 1884.’
      • ‘It is clear Helen has not been happy in Troy either - especially during the years Troy has been under siege by invading Greeks.’
      • ‘These women have lost loved ones, they face their daily fears and campaign under siege.’
      • ‘But how could one hide the fact that their capital was under siege by an army of rebels?’
      • ‘The one site that was not under siege was City Hall, where Seb Ommati was sitting down to a steak dinner with his ward and the mayor of the city.’
      • ‘The island had been under siege for several months by a fleet of pirate vessels, and the two had gone on a quest to solve their problem.’
      • ‘Manstein believed three or four divisions could keep the fortress under siege.’
      • ‘As I have long suspected, Bellandor perished by his own hand when the city he helped defend was under siege.’
      • ‘Sometimes my parents got a little suspicious as to where I was disappearing every time our village was under siege.’
      • ‘At the time it felt like we were surrounded by an army, properly under siege.’
      besieged, under siege, blockaded, surrounded, encircled, hemmed in, under attack
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Middle English: from Old French sege, from asegier ‘besiege’.