engage

1 of 2

verb

en·​gage in-ˈgāj How to pronounce engage (audio)
en-
engaged; engaging

transitive verb

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

intransitive verb

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

engagé

2 of 2

adjective

en·​ga·​gé ˌäⁿ-ˌgä-ˈzhā How to pronounce engagé (audio)
: 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.

Examples of engage in a Sentence

Verb He was engaged as a tutor. He sure can engage an audience. The story engaged my interest. The troops prepared to engage the enemy. The troops prepared to engage with the enemy.
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
In 2017, Matthew Ryno and his then-girlfriend Kay Howell traveled to Missouri and got engaged during the eclipse. David Clarey, Journal Sentinel, 4 Apr. 2024 Batting leadoff appeared to be Washington’s way of getting Rendon engaged early in games and in the season. Steve Henson, Los Angeles Times, 4 Apr. 2024 See all Example Sentences for engage 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'engage.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Verb

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

Adjective

French, past participle of engager to engage

First Known Use

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Adjective

1946, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of engage was in the 15th century

Podcast

Dictionary Entries Near engage

Cite this Entry

“Engage.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/engage. Accessed 17 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

engage

verb
en·​gage in-ˈgāj How to pronounce engage (audio)
engaged; engaging
1
: to commit oneself to do something
especially : to bind by a pledge to marry
2
a
: to arrange for the use or services of : hire
engage a lawyer
b
: to keep fixed or concentrated
the task engaged our attention
3
a
: to cause to take part
engaged the stranger in conversation
b
: participate
she engages in sports
4
: to enter into contest or battle with
engage the enemy
5
: to come together or cause to come together and mesh
the gears engaged

More from Merriam-Webster on engage

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!