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October 9, 2019

Word of the Day: Beleaguer

2 CQ

Word of the Day : December 29, 2016

beleaguer \bih-LEE-gur\ verb


1 : to cause distress to : besiege

2 : trouble, harass


Despite being beleaguered by injuries, the scrappy football team fought hard and managed to make the playoffs.

"We must work to implement reforms like the Baltimore Metropolitan Council's Plan for Sustainable Development that offer practical remedies for the extensive pockets of generational poverty that beleaguer our region." — Elijah E. Cummings, The Baltimore Sun, 22 Apr. 2016

Did You Know?

English speakers created beleaguer from the Dutch word belegeren in the 16th century. "[Military men] will not vouchsafe … to use our ancient terms belonging to matters of war, but do call a camp by the Dutch name," commented the English soldier and diplomat Sir John Smyth in 1590. The word for "camp" that he was referring to is leaguer. That term in turn comes from Dutch leger, which is one of the building blocks of belegeren (literally, "to camp around"). But neither leaguer nor beleaguer were in fact utterly foreign. Old English leger, the source of our modern lair, is related to the Dutch word. And Old English be- ("about, around"), as seen in besiege and beset, is related to the Dutch prefix be- in belegeren.

Aired December 29, 2016

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