From Middle English sequestren (verb) and sequestre (noun), from Old French sequestrer [1], from Late Latin sequestrō (separate, give up for safekeeping), from Latin sequester (mediator, depositary), probably originally meaning "follower", from Proto-Indo-European *sekʷ- (follow).



sequester (third-person singular simple present sequesters, present participle sequestering, simple past and past participle sequestered)

  1. To separate from all external influence; to seclude; to withdraw.
    The jury was sequestered from the press by the judge's order.
    • 1597, Richard Hooker, Of the Lawes of Ecclesiastical Politie
      when men most sequester themselves from action
  2. To separate in order to store.
    The coal burning plant was ordered to sequester its CO2 emissions.
  3. To set apart; to put aside; to remove; to separate from other things.
    • 1623, Francis Bacon, A Discourse of a War with Spain
      I had wholly sequestered my thoughts from civil affairs.
  4. (chemistry) To prevent an ion in solution from behaving normally by forming a coordination compound
  5. (law) To temporarily remove (property) from the possession of its owner and hold it as security against legal claims.
  6. To cause (one) to submit to the process of sequestration; to deprive (one) of one's estate, property, etc.
    • c. 1694, Robert South, sermon XXIV
      It was his tailor and his cook, his fine fashions and his French ragouts, which sequestered him.
  7. (transitive, US, politics, law) To remove (certain funds) automatically from a budget.
    The Budget Control Act of 2011 sequestered 1.2 trillion dollars over 10 years on January 2, 2013.
  8. (international law) To seize and hold enemy property.
  9. (intransitive) To withdraw; to retire.
  10. To renounce (as a widow may) any concern with the estate of her husband.


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sequester (plural sequesters)

  1. sequestration; separation
  2. (law) A person with whom two or more contending parties deposit the subject matter of the controversy; one who mediates between two parties; a referee.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Bouvier to this entry?)
  3. (medicine) A sequestrum.

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Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for sequester in
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.)


  1. ^ Douglas Harper (2001–2021) , “sequester”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.