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Alternative forms[edit]


Borrowed from Dutch belegeren and/or Middle Low German belēgeren; equivalent to be- +‎ lair. Compare also German belagern. The English spelling was perhaps influenced by unrelated league.



beleaguer (third-person singular simple present beleaguers, present participle beleaguering, simple past and past participle beleaguered)

  1. To besiege; to surround with troops.
    • 1839, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “The Beleaguered City”, in Voices of the Night, Cambridge, Mass.: Published by John Owen, OCLC 877448942, stanzas 1 and 2, page 22:
      I have read in some old marvellous tale, / Some legend strange and vague, / That a midnight host of spectres pale / Beleaguered the walls of Prague. // Beside the Moldau's rushing stream, / With the wan moon overhead, / There stood, as in an awful dream, / The army of the dead.
  2. To vex, harass, or beset.
  3. To exhaust.

Derived terms[edit]