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claim the moral high ground
To claim, purport, or make it appear that one's arguments, beliefs, ideas, etc., are morally superior to those espoused by others. The senator always tries to claim the moral high ground during a debate so as to shift public opinion in his favor.
seize (someone or something) with (something)
To use something to grab, grasp, or hold onto someone or something, especially intensely or with a lot of strength. The astronauts seized the detached cable with the robotic arm. The wrestler seized me from behind with his gigantic arms and flung me around the ring like a ragdoll.
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.
1. obsolete To take quick, forcible possession of something. These banks are little more than crooks, hiking up interest rates and seizing out property from those unable to pay.
2. slang To twitch and convulse from or as from a seizure. I saw a girl on the sofa seizing out, so I called 911 straight away. He was so angry that his whole body started seizing out.
seize the bull by its/the horns
To approach, confront, or deal with a problem or difficult situation directly and with clear, confident action. I seized the bull by its horns and confronted my manager about the blatant sexism in the office. I've been complaining about being out of work for too long—it's time to seize the bull by the horns and go find a job!
seize the day
To take the opportunity to do something at the present moment without worrying about the future. This is our time. Let's seize the day! We may never get a chance to do this again.
seize the hour
To make the most of some present opportunity. This is our chance to live abroad in Europe like we dreamed, so let's seize the hour! We may never get an opportunity to do this again. In the midst of this political upheaval, it's time for us to seize the hour and make the changes we've always wanted to see.
seize the moment
To take full advantage of life's opportunities whenever and wherever they present themselves; to live life to one's full potential. I've tried to get the most out of life by always seizing the moment. That's how I ended up living in Europe and fell in love with your father!
seize the moral high ground
To claim, purport, or make it appear that one's arguments, beliefs, ideas, etc., are morally superior to those espoused by others. The senator always tries to seize the moral high ground during a debate so as to shift public opinion in his favor.
seize the opportunity (to do something)
To accept or pursue an opportunity (to do something) with alacrity or conviction. Mark complains about his teaching job a lot, but I knew if he were offered a tenured position in the school, he would seize the opportunity without hesitation. When our manager said she was leaving the company, I seized the opportunity to fill the vacancy. You should have been seizing the opportunity to move someplace new and exciting—instead, you decided to just stay in the same town you've always known.
To come to a sudden, unexpected stop and become immovable. I was so dehydrated that my leg seized up in the middle of the hike. The machine keeps seizing up. Have you checked the oil levels recently?
seize upon (something)
1. Literally, to grab 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 upon the rungs for dear life. The child seized upon 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 upon my idea of developing a smartphone app to accompany our newest product. You need to seize upon opportunities like these before they pass you by.
3. To resort to some tactic or plan, as out of desperation or necessity. Jake seizes upon any reason he can think of to get out of doing his chores. You can't just seize upon any old excuse and expect that to fly in this office.
seized with (something)
1. Totally stuck or immobile due to some substance or force. The joints of the machine are all totally seized with rust. My leg is seized with a cramp—I'll have to wait until it passes.
2. Paralyzed, overcome, or strongly affected by something. He became seized with a coughing fit and couldn't speak for a full two minutes. I was seized with fear when I saw the shadow of someone lurking in our house.
take the moral high ground
To claim, purport, or make it appear that one's arguments, beliefs, ideas, etc., are morally superior to those espoused by others. The senator always tries to take the moral high ground during a debate so as to shift public opinion in his favor.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
seize onto someone or something
to grab onto someone or something. The beggar seized onto the well-dressed gentleman and demanded money. Tony seized onto the doorknob and gave it a hard jerk.
seize someone or something with something
to grab someone or something with something. The robot seized Roger with its mechanical claws. The dockworker seized the cable with a long hook.
seize something up
to grab or take something. The crow seized the freshly hatched chick up and flew away. The huge bird seized up the tiny chick.
seize the opportunity
to take advantage of an opportunity when offered. My uncle offered me a trip to Europe, so I seized the opportunity. Whenever you have a chance, you should seize the opportunity.
to freeze or halt; to grind suddenly to a stop. The engine seized up, and the car coasted to a stop. My knee seized up in the middle of a football game.
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.
seized with something
Fig. affected suddenly by something, such as laughter, coughing, sneezing, fits of rage, etc. Suddenly, I was seized with a fit of coughing. Mary was seized with laughter at the sight of Ted in a clown suit.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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.
Come to a halt, as in The peace talks seized up and were not rescheduled. Originally, from about 1870 on, this term was applied to a machine of some kind that jammed or locked, owing to excessive heat or friction. Its figurative use dates from about 1950.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
seize the day
If you seize the day, you do what you want straight away, without worrying about the future. I can't wait ten years. Life has taught me to seize the day, if not the hour. He knows he might never get another chance of soccer glory and is determined to seize the day. Note: This is a translation of the Latin phrase `carpe diem', which is also sometimes used.
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
seize the daymake the most of the present moment.
This expression is a translation of Latin carpe diem , originally a quotation from the Roman poet Horace.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
take, claim, seize, etc. the moral ˈhigh groundclaim that your side of an argument is morally better than your opponents’ side; argue in a way that makes your side seem morally better: Don’t you try to take the moral high ground with me! You’re just as bad as I am!
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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.
To fuse or stick together with another part and become unable to move normally, especially as a result of high pressure or temperature: The car's engine seized up due to a loss of oil.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
seize the hour/day
Take advantage of the moment, enjoy the here and now. This phrase is a translation of the ancient Roman adage Carpe diem, first stated by Horace in one of his Odes (ca. 23 b.c.). Actually, the full statement added quam minimum credula postero, trust the future as little as possible.
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer