Etymology
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siege (n.)

early 13c., segge, "a seat, chair, stool; ceremonial seat of a king," senses now obsolete, from Old French siege, sege "seat, throne," from Vulgar Latin *sedicum "seat," from Latin sedere "to sit" (from PIE root *sed- (1) "to sit").

The military sense, "the stationing of an attacking force before or around a fortified place; the act or process of besieging a city, castle, etc." is attested from c. 1300; the notion is of an army "sitting down" before a place.

The oldest sense preserved in archaic Siege Perilous (early 13c.), the vacant seat at Arthur's Round Table, according to prophecy to be occupied safely only by the knight destined to find the Grail. Also in Middle English "a privy, a latrine, chamber pot" (c. 1400), hence in 16c. "excrement, fecal matter; the anus."

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besiege (v.)

"lay siege to," c. 1300, from be- + siege. Related: Besieged; besieging.

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*sed- (1)

Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to sit."

It forms all or part of: assess; assiduous; assiento; assize; banshee; beset; cathedra; cathedral; chair; cosset; dissident; dodecahedron; Eisteddfod; ephedra; ephedrine; ersatz; icosahedron; inset; insidious; nest; niche; nick (n.) "notch, groove, slit;" nidicolous; nidification; nidus; obsess; octahedron; piezo-; piezoelectric; polyhedron; possess; preside; reside; saddle; sanhedrim; seance; seat; sedan; sedate; (adj.) "calm, quiet;" sedative; sedentary; sederunt; sediment; see (n.) "throne of a bishop, archbishop, or pope;" sessile; session; set (v.); sett; settle (n.); settle (v.); siege; sit; sitz-bath; sitzkrieg; size; soil (n.1) "earth, dirt;" Somerset; soot; subside; subsidy; supersede; surcease; tanist; tetrahedron; Upanishad.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit a-sadat "sat down," sidati "sits," nidah "resting place, nest;" Old Persian hadis "abode;" Greek ezesthai "to sit," hedra "seat, chair, face of a geometric solid;" Latin sedere "to sit; occupy an official seat, preside; sit still, remain; be fixed or settled," nidus "nest;" Old Irish suide "seat, sitting," net "nest;" Welsh sedd "seat," eistedd "sitting," nyth "nest;" Old Church Slavonic sežda, sedeti "to sit," sedlo "saddle," gnezdo "nest;" Lithuanian sėdėti "to sit;" Russian sad "garden," Lithuanian sodinti "to plant;" Gothic sitan, Old English sittan "to sit."

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cheval de frise (n.)

1680s, from French, literally "horse of Frisia," supposedly because it was first employed there as a defense against cavalry (at the siege of Groningen); from French cheval "horse" (see cavalier (n.)). Plural chevaux de frise.

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fifth column (n.)

1936, from Gen. Emilio Mola's comment at the siege of Madrid during the Spanish Civil War that he would take the city with his four columns of troops outside it and his "fifth column" (quinta columna) in the city.

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barrack (n.)

1680s, "temporary hut for soldiers during a siege," from French barraque, from Spanish barraca (mid-13c. in Medieval Latin) "soldier's tent," literally "cabin, hut," a word of unknown origin. Perhaps from Celt-Iberian or Arabic. The meaning "permanent building for housing troops" (usually in plural) is attested from 1690s.

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pyrgologist (n.)

"one versed in the structure and history of towers," 1877, from Greek pyrgos "a tower, wall-tower, siege-tower; highest point of a building" (a technical term in architecture, of uncertain origin, according to Beekes "clearly Pre-Greek") + -ologist. It seems to have been used once, in The Athenaeum of Aug. 18, 1877, and then forgotten except in dictionaries.

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scape (v.)

early 13c., scapen, "to escape (siege, battle, etc.), depart from (confinement, etc.)," a shortened form of escape; frequent in prose up to late 17c. By late 14c. in the general sense "avoid death, peril, punishment, or other danger." Related: Scaped (sometimes 15c.-16c. with strong past tense scope); scaping. As a noun from c. 1300, "an escape."

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zig-zag (n.)

also zigzag, 1712, from French zigzag (1670s), perhaps from German Zickzack (though this is attested only from 1703), possibly a reduplication of Zacke "tooth, prong." Earliest use in German is in reference to military siege approaches. Originally in English used to describe the layout of certain garden paths. As an adjective from 1750; the verb is recorded from 1774. The brand of cigarette paper is from 1909. Related: Zig-zagged; zig-zagging.

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beleaguer (v.)

1580s, "besiege, surround, blockade," literal and figurative, from Dutch or Low German belegeren "to besiege," from be- "around" (from Proto-Germanic *bi- "around, about;" see by) + legeren "to camp," from leger "bed, camp, army, lair," from Proto-Germanic *legraz- (from PIE *legh-ro-, suffixed form of root *legh- "to lie down, lay"). A word from the Flemish Wars (cognates: Swedish belägra, Dutch belegeren "besiege," German Belagerung "siege"). The spelling influenced by unrelated league. Related: Beleaguered; beleaguering.

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