beseech » besiege

Classification: English

Spotted in the wild:

  • I besiege you to keep on your front pages reminders to all the people of Hawaii of the atrocities that are occurring in our government in order for Hawaii to wake up and enter a new future with promise of prosperity achieved in honesty and with integrity in the absence of those holding the reigns today. (Hawaii Reporter, letter to the editor, Apr. 16, 2004)
  • I besiege you to vote your conscience and for once help put an end to the governmental abuse of the American citizens. (, June 1, 2004)
  • I besiege you to employ the services of two special agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation skilled in anti-kidnapping tactics to work with the dedicated team of Oswyn Allard’s Anti-Kidnapping Squad to track down, arrest and charge this gang of kidnappers. (Trinidad Guardian, letter to the editor, Mar. 21, 2005)
  • Lastly, if you’ve emailed us the last few months and not received a response to your query yet, may I kindly besiege you to pardon us as we were inactive and hardly accessed our emails. (Blazing Outdoor Adventurers & Co., Apr. 16, 2005)

The semantic range of besiege in the sense of ‘to harass or oppress with requests or complaints’ is not far from beseech ‘to ask fervently for something.’ But in cases where a single person makes a request politely rather than harassingly, it appears that _besiege_ is encroaching on the territory of _beseech_ (perhaps _besiege_ sounds more fervent?).

| link | entered by Ben Zimmer, 2005/07/22 |

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