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seize on(to) (something)
1. Literally, to grab, grasp, or hold onto something intensely or with a lot of strength. He had a panic attack halfway up the ladder due to his fear of heights and seized on for dear life. The child seized onto her father's arm during the scary parts of the film.
2. By extension, to accept, adopt, or undertake something with great enthusiasm or zeal. The boss decided seized onto my idea of developing a smartphone app to accompany our newest product. You need to seize on opportunities like these before they pass you by.
3. To resort to some tactic or plan, as out of desperation or necessity. Jake seizes onto any reason he can think of to get out of doing his chores. You can't just seize on any old excuse and expect that to fly in this office.
See also: seize
seize (up)on something
1. Lit. to grasp something tightly. (Upon is formal and less commonly used than on.) Dave seized upon the knob of the door and yanked hard. I seized on the railing and held on tight.
2. Fig. to accept or adopt something, such as a plan, idea, etc. I heard her ideas and seized upon them immediately. The committee seized on my plan at once.
Also, seize upon.
1. Grab or take hold of suddenly, as in He seized on the bell rope and started to pull vigorously, or She seized upon every opportunity to present her side of the story. [Late 1600s]
2. Resort to some action, especially out of dire necessity, as in He seized upon any excuse, no matter how farfetched.
seize onor seize upon
To take notice of something, especially because it can be used to one's advantage: The newspapers seized on the mayor's foolish remark and said that he wasn't fit for the job.