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Today's Word "Beleaguer"

To surround and besiege on

Published in Vocabulary

beleaguer \be-LEE-gehr\ (verb) - To surround and besiege, as to beleaguer a city until it surrenders; to continuously beset from all sides; to completely fatigue with numerous attacks or constant pressure.

"Beleaguered by the constant taunts of his teammates, Jason finally switched from the baseball team to the debate team."

 

Dutch belegeren from be- "around" + leger "camp." The prefix be- ultimately derives from Proto-Indo-European ambhi- "from all sides," probably from ant + bhi "from both sides." In the Germanic languages this prefix resolved itself into both High German um "around" (Swedish om- as in "ombudsman") and Low German (Dutch and Anglo-Saxon) be-, found in "besiege," "beset," and "becloud." The full prefix appears in Latin ambulare "to walk around," ambidextrous based on ambi- "on both sides" + dexter "right-hand," as well as Greek amphitheater. The stem, "leaguer," is akin to English "lie," "lay," and "lair." Most Indo-European languages have a word for "lie" or "lay" based on the same stem, e.g. Russian lech', leg- "lie," German legen "lay" (also Lager "camp, store[house], lair"), and Latin lectus "bed."

 

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