To literally beleaguer a place is to surround it with an army so that no one can go in or out.
So, to figuratively beleaguer people is to bother and annoy them so much that it's as if you're completely surrounding them with an army and you want them to surrender.
bull EE gur
Part of speech:
(Like “eat,” “try,” and “want,” all transitive verbs do something to an object.
You eat a banana, try a game, and want a new phone.
Likewise, something or someone beleaguers you.)
beleaguered, beleaguering, beleaguerment
We write words like "manager" and "badger" and expect similar-sounding words to also be spelled "-ger" at the end. But notice the "u" toward the end of "beleaguer." (The "u" is there because the root of the word is Dutch or Low German, and it just ended up there somehow--apparently there's no good reason for it, sorry.) If it helps, see how the word "league" is inside "beleaguer." The two words don't share a root, but you might imagine a league of irritating things or people who beleaguer you.
How to use it:
More than just "irritate" or "annoy," "beleaguer" helps you express a suffocating, constant, everywhere-you-turn kind of annoyance that keeps on pestering you until you surrender.
So, talk about a person or thing that beleaguers someone (often with some request or demand,) or talk about being beleaguered by someone or something: "The students beleaguered their teacher with complaints about the homework load." "The teacher was endlessly beleaguered by students' complaints." And of course, you can be beleaguered by intangible stuff like thoughts, possibilities, dreams, expectations, etc.
"Beleaguered" is a handy adjective on its own, too: "Feeling beleaguered, he sighed and let the kids eat junk for breakfast." "The debt relief program aims to help beleaguered graduates."
After a rough day at a retail or food service job, you may not look defeated, exactly, just beleaguered.
Because I didn't want to pay the extra fee to keep my contact information private when registering my domain name, I'm beleaguered by telemarketers. (Thankfully they're mostly recordings, so I don't feel bad about hanging up instantly.)
Look away from the screen to explain the definition in your own words. You’ll know you understand what "beleaguer" means when you can explain it without saying "pester" or "pressure."
Think of something you do to relax or escape when you're feeling annoyed or overworked, and fill in the blanks: "Feeling beleaguered by _____, I _____."
Example: "Feeling beleaguered by emails, I just turned off the notifications on my phone and sat down with a book for a few minutes."
Spend at least 20 seconds occupying your mind with the game and quote below. Then try the review questions. Don’t go straight to the review now—let your working memory empty out first.
Playing With Words:
This month, we're playing with song lyrics that include words featured in issues of Make Your Point. I’ll give you a few lines from the song, with a blank where our word appears, along with its definition. See if you can come up with it! You can follow the link to see the right answer right away, or just wait until the following day’s issue. Have fun!
Yesterday's lyrics: Artist: Jamiroquai Title: Light Years Lyrics: People tell me I'm no good
‘Cause I'm expressin' all my sentiments
Now I got to channel all my _____
For the benefit of my self-defense Definition: intensity of feeling, often with anger
Try this one today:
Artist: Green Day Title: Prosthetic Head Lyrics: Plastic eyes, lookin' through a numb skull.
Self-_____, what's his face.
You erased yourself so shut up. Definition: wiped out completely, as if by an eraser
Ezra Bayda: “When you really pay attention, everything is your teacher.”
1. The opposite of BELEAGUER is
2. _____ beleaguered the neighborhood.
A. Different variations on just a few floor plans
B. Hordes of door-to-door salespeople
C. "Children at play" signs
Answers are below.
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Make Your Point is crafted with love and brought to you each day for free by Mrs. Liesl Johnson, M.Ed., a word lover, learning enthusiast, and private tutor of reading and writing in the verdant little town of Hilo, Hawaii. For writing tips, online learning, essay guidance, and more, please visit www.HiloTutor.com.
Disclaimer: Word meanings presented here are expressed in plain language and are limited to common, useful applications only. Readers interested in authoritative and multiple definitions of words are encouraged to check a dictionary. Likewise, word meanings, usage, and pronunciations are limited to American English; these elements may vary across world Englishes.
Today's "beleaguer," meaning "siege" or "pester," has roots that mean "around" and "camp," which makes sense when you think of an army camped out as it surrounds a city (or some irritating thought that seems to have set up camp all around your mind.)
We've looked at another word before that's also related to "camp." It means to skedaddle: to literally or figuratively pack up your stuff (from where you camped for the night) and go. Could you recall it?
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