verb en·gage \ in-ˈgāj , en- \
|Updated on: 11 Aug 2018

Definition of engage

engaged; engaging
1 : to offer (something, such as one's life or word) as backing to a cause or aim : to expose to risk for the attainment or support of some end
  • engaged his all in the king's cause
2 a obsolete : to entangle or entrap in or as if in a snare or bog
b : to attract and hold by influence or power
c : to interlock with : mesh; also : to cause (mechanical parts) to mesh
  • engage the clutch
3 : to bind (someone, such as oneself) to do something; especially : to bind by a pledge to marry
4 a : to provide occupation for : involve
  • engage him in a new project
b : to arrange to obtain the use or services of : hire
  • engage a lawyer
5 a : to hold the attention of : engross
  • her work engages her completely
b : to induce to participate
  • engaged the shy boy in conversation
6 a : to enter into contest or battle with
  • engage the enemy
b : to bring together or interlock (weapons)
7 : to deal with especially at length
1 a : to pledge oneself : promise
b : to make a guarantee
  • he engages for the honesty of his brother
2 a : to begin and carry on an enterprise or activity used with in
  • engaged in trade for many years
b : to do or take part in something used with in
  • engage in healthy activities
  • engage in bad conduct
c : to give attention to something : deal
  • failing to engage with the problem
3 : to enter into conflict or battle
4 : to come together and interlock
  • the gears engaged

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Examples of engage in a Sentence

  1. He was engaged as a tutor.

  2. He sure can engage an audience.

  3. The story engaged my interest.

  4. The troops prepared to engage the enemy.

  5. The troops prepared to engage with the enemy.

Recent Examples of engage from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'engage.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of engage

Middle English, from Anglo-French engager, from en- + gage pledge, gage



adjective en·ga·gé \ ˌäⁿ-ˌgä-ˈzhā \

Definition of engagé

: committed to or supportive of a cause

Did You Know?

Engagé is the past participle of the French verb engager, meaning "to engage." The French have used "engagé" since the 19th century to describe socially or politically active people. The term became particularly fashionable in the wake of World War II, when French writers, artists, and intellectuals felt it was increasingly important for them to take a stand on political or social issues and represent their attitudes in their art. By 1946, English speakers had adopted the word for their own politically relevant writing or art, and within a short time "engagé" was being used generally for any passionate commitment to a cause.

Origin and Etymology of engagé

French, past participle of engager to engage

ENGAGE Defined for Kids


verb en·gage \ in-ˈgāj \

Definition of engage for Students

engaged; engaging
1 : to catch and keep fixed (as someone's attention)
  • The story engaged my interest.
2 : to take part in or cause to take part in something
  • He engages in many school activities.
3 : to enter into contest or battle with
  • Soldiers engaged the enemy.
4 : to arrange for the services or use of : employ
  • I suggest you engage a lawyer.
5 : mesh
  • The gears engaged.

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having an air of easy unconcern

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