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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?
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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.
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.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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.
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.