besiege

To besiege means to attack with an army, or to pester with many requests. When all your teachers ask you to hand in assignments on the same day, you can end up feeling besieged.

The source of the word besiege in its military sense is the Latin word for "seat." When an army settles down in front of a fort or other site of attack, they are besieging it or taking a seat there. Picture them continually bombarding the fortress with arrows and cannon shot, and you've got the picture of the figurative sense of the word, "to pester with requests, etc." If you get a lot of spam in your e-mail, you are besieged with advertisements — and maybe also besieged with worries that you'll get a virus!

DEFINITIONS OF: besiege

1

v surround so as to force to give up

“The Turks besieged Vienna”
Synonyms:
beleaguer, circumvent, hem in, surround
Types:
blockade, seal off
impose a blockade on
ebb
hem in fish with stakes and nets so as to prevent them from going back into the sea with the ebb
Type of:
assail, attack
launch an attack or assault on; begin hostilities or start warfare with

v harass, as with questions or requests

“The press photographers besieged the movie star”
Type of:
importune, insist
beg persistently and urgently

v cause to feel distressed or worried

“She was besieged by so many problems that she got discouraged”
Type of:
distress
cause mental pain to
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