verb en·gage \in-ˈgāj, en-\

Definition of engage




  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to offer (as one's word) as security for a debt or cause

  3. 2a obsolete :  to entangle or entrap in or as if in a snare or bogb :  to attract and hold by influence or powerc :  to interlock with :  mesh; also :  to cause (mechanical parts) to mesh engage the clutch

  4. 3 :  to bind (as oneself) to do something; especially :  to bind by a pledge to marry

  5. 4a :  to provide occupation for :  involve engage him in a new projectb :  to arrange to obtain the use or services of :  hire engage a lawyer

  6. 5a :  to hold the attention of :  engross her work engages her completelyb :  to induce to participate engaged the shy boy in conversation

  7. 6a :  to enter into contest or battle with engage the enemyb :  to bring together or interlock (weapons)

  8. 7 :  to deal with especially at length

  9. intransitive verb
  10. 1a :  to pledge oneself :  promiseb :  to make a guarantee he engages for the honesty of his brother

  11. 2a :  to begin and carry on an enterprise or activity —used with in engaged in trade for many yearsb :  to do or take part in something —used with in engage in healthy activities engage in bad conductc :  to give attention to something :  deal failing to engage with the problem

  12. 3 :  to enter into conflict or battle

  13. 4 :  to come together and interlock the gears engaged

engage was our Word of the Day on 01/24/2013. Hear the podcast!

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.

Origin and Etymology of engage

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

First Known Use: 15th century


adjective en·ga·gé \ˌäⁿ-ˌgä-ˈzhā\

Definition of engagé

  1. :  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

First Known Use: 1946

ENGAGE Defined for English Language Learners


verb en·gage \in-ˈgāj, en-\

Definition of engage for English Language Learners

  • : to hire (someone) to perform a particular service : to pay for (help, services, etc.)

  • : to get and keep (someone's attention, interest, etc.)

  • : to start fighting against (an opponent) ( formal )

ENGAGE Defined for Kids


verb en·gage \in-ˈgāj\

Definition of engage for Students




  1. 1 :  to catch and keep fixed (as someone's attention) The story engaged my interest.

  2. 2 :  to take part in or cause to take part in something He engages in many school activities.

  3. 3 :  to enter into contest or battle with Soldiers engaged the enemy.

  4. 4 :  to arrange for the services or use of :  employ I suggest you engage a lawyer.

  5. 5 :  mesh The gears engaged.

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up engage? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a rounded knoll or a ridge of ice

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