"engage" Definition | Free English Dictionary | international-dictionary.com
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English Word:


English Pronunciation:


Transitive Verb:


imperfect & past participle Engaged; present participle & verbal noun Engaging.; (French) engager; prefix en- ((Latin) in) + gage pledge, pawn. See Gage.


1. To put under pledge; to pledge; to place under obligations to do or forbear doing something, as by a pledge, oath, or promise; to bind by contract or promise. "I to thee engaged a prince's word." (Shakespeare)

2. To gain for service; to bring in as associate or aid; to enlist; as, to engage friends to aid in a cause; to engage men for service.

3. To gain over; to win and attach; to attract and hold; to draw. Good nature engages everybody to him. Addison.

4. To employ the attention and efforts of; to occupy; to engross; to draw on. Thus shall mankind his guardian care engage. Pope. Taking upon himself the difficult task of engaging him in conversation. Hawthorne.

5. To enter into contest with; to encounter; to bring to conflict. A favorable opportunity of engaging the enemy. Ludlow.

6. (Machinery) To come into gear with; as, the teeth of one cogwheel engage those of another, or one part of a clutch engages the other part.

Intransitive Verb:


1. To promise or pledge one's self; to enter into an obligation; to become bound; to warrant. How proper the remedy for the malady, I engage not. Fuller.

2. To embark in a business; to take a part; to employ or involve one's self; to devote attention and effort; to enlist; as, to engage in controversy.

3. To enter into conflict; to join battle; as, the armies engaged in a general battle.

4. (Machinery) To be in gear, as two cogwheels working together.

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From Middle French engagier, from Old French engager (“to pledge, engage”), from Old Frankish *anwadjōn (“to pledge”), from Proto-Germanic *an-, *andi- + Proto-Germanic *wadjōną (“to pledge, secure”), from Proto-Germanic *wadjō (“pledge, guarantee”), from Proto-Indo-European *wadʰ- (“to pledge, redeem a pledge; guarantee, bail”), equivalent to en- +‎ gage. Cognate with Old English anwedd (“pledge, security”), Old English weddian (“to engage, covenant, undertake”), German wetten (“to bet, wager”), Icelandic veðja (“to wager”). More at wed.


engage (third-person singular simple present engages, present participle engaging, simple past and past participle engaged) (transitive) To interact socially. To engross or hold the attention of; to keep busy or occupied. Alexander Pope (1688-1744) Thus shall mankind his guardian care engage. To draw into conversation. Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864) the difficult task of engaging him in conversation To attract, to please; (archaic) to fascinate or win over (someone). Joseph Addison (1672-1719) Good nature engages everybody to him. To interact antagonistically. (transitive) To enter into conflict with (an enemy). Fitz Hugh Ludlow (1836-1870) a favourable opportunity of engaging the enemy (intransitive) To enter into battle. To interact contractually. (transitive) To arrange to employ or use (a worker, a space, etc). 1905, Baroness Emmuska Orczy, chapter 2, The Affair at the Novelty Theatre: For this scene, a large number of supers are engaged, and in order to further swell the crowd, practically all the available stage hands have to ‘walk on’ dressed in various coloured dominoes, and all wearing masks. (intransitive) To guarantee or promise (to do something). (transitive) To bind through legal or moral obligation (to do something, especially to marry) (usually in passive). They were engaged last month! They're planning to have the wedding next year. (obsolete, transitive) To pledge, pawn (one's property); to put (something) at risk or on the line; to mortgage (houses, land). 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, II.vii: Thou that doest liue in later times, must wage / Thy workes for wealth, and life for gold engage. To interact mechanically. To mesh or interlock (of machinery, especially a clutch). Whenever I engage the clutch, the car stalls out. (engineering, transitive) To come into gear with. The teeth of one cogwheel engage those of another. (intransitive) To enter into (an activity), to participate (construed with in). 1910, Emerson Hough, chapter 1, The Purchase Price: “ We are engaged in a great work, a treatise on our river fortifications, perhaps ? But since when did army officers afford the luxury of amanuenses in this simple republic ? ”





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