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verb [transitive] seize pronunciation in American English /siz/ 
Word Forms
present tense
present participleseizing
past tenseseized
past participleseized
  1. 1
    to take something using official power and force

    Customs officials have seized 100 pounds 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.

      Synonyms and related words for this sense of seize
    2. b.
      to take something or someone away in an illegal and violent way

      Robbers tied up security guards and seized the money.

  2. 2
    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.

  3. 3
    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.

  4. 4
    mainly literary if a feeling or emotion seizes someone, it suddenly affects them very strongly

    She was seized by agonizing cramps.

    A wave of panic seized me.

    Synonyms and related words for this sense of seize

phrasal verbs


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