Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

seize - definition and synonyms


What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

verb [transitive] seize pronunciation in British English /siːz/
Word Forms
present tense
present participleseizing
past tenseseized
past participleseized
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  1. 1
    to suddenly and firmly hold someone by a part of their body or clothing
    ‘Listen,’ he said, seizing my wrist.
    seize someone by something: Before he could run away, she seized him by the collar.
    1. a.
      to quickly take something in your hand
      Hearing a noise, he seized his gun from the drawer.
  2. 2
    to take something using official power and force
    Customs officials have seized 100 kilos of cocaine.
    Action was taken to seize criminal assets valued at $200 million.
    1. a.
      to take control of a place or situation using military force
      Eastern towns were seized by the rebels two years ago.
      The nation’s generals seized power in a coup.
    2. b.
      to take something or someone away in an illegal and violent way
      Robbers tied up security guards and seized the money.
  3. 3
    to gain control in a situation
    seize control: Their opponents had seized control of the army.
    seize the initiative (=make certain that you are able to control a situation): You must seize the initiative in discussions about salary.
  4. 4
    mainly literary if a feeling or emotion seizes someone, it suddenly affects them very strongly
    A wave of panic seized me.
    She was seized by agonizing cramps.

phrasal verbs


a meal served in the evening which consists of foods traditionally eaten at breakfast

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary

troll factory

a company that pays its employees to write online comments in favour or against somebody or something posing as ordinary Internet users

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog