Your city is under siege if it is surrounded on all sides by an opposing force on attack. Think of a castle surrounded by a legion of armed knights.

Like many military words, siege can be used metaphorically. If you start getting thousands of e-mail messages trying to sell you canned meat, you might feel like you're under a siege of spam selling spam. In this case, you have been besieged by spam. And even more unfortunately, if you are having a siege of bad luck, you have been besieged by bad luck.

Definitions of siege

n the action of an armed force that surrounds a fortified place and isolates it while continuing to attack

beleaguering, besieging, military blockade
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a siege and massacre at a mission in San Antonio in 1836; Mexican forces under Santa Anna besieged and massacred American rebels who were fighting to make Texas independent of Mexico
battle of Atlanta
a siege in which Federal troops under Sherman cut off the railroads supplying the city and then burned it; 1864
the peninsula and island in the Philippines where Japanese forces besieged American forces in World War II; United States forces surrendered in 1942 and recaptured the area in 1945
Dien Bien Phu
the French military base fell after a siege by Vietnam troops that lasted 56 days; ended the involvement of France in Indochina in 1954
the British residents of Lucknow were besieged by Indian insurgents during the Indian Mutiny (1857)
siege of Orleans
a long siege of Orleans by the English was relieved by Joan of Arc in 1429
Petersburg Campaign
the final campaign of the American Civil War (1864-65); Union forces under Grant besieged and finally defeated Confederate forces under Lee
the town was taken from the Turks by the Russians in 1877 after a siege of 143 days
siege of Syracuse
the Athenian siege of Syracuse (415-413 BC) was eventually won by Syracuse
siege of Syracuse
the Roman siege of Syracuse (214-212 BC) was eventually won by the Romans who sacked the city (killing Archimedes)
siege of Vicksburg
a decisive battle in the American Civil War (1863); after being besieged for nearly seven weeks the Confederates surrendered
siege of Yorktown
in 1781 the British under Cornwallis surrendered after a siege of three weeks by American and French troops; the surrender ended the American Revolution
Type of:
blockade, encirclement
a war measure that isolates some area of importance to the enemy

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