en·​list | \ in-ˈlist How to pronounce enlist (audio) , en- \
enlisted; enlisting; enlists

Definition of enlist

transitive verb

1a : to secure the support and aid of : employ in advancing an interest enlist all the available resources enlisted our help
b : to win over : attract trying to enlist my sympathies
2 : to engage (a person) for duty in the armed forces

intransitive verb

1 : to enroll oneself in the armed forces will enlist for three years
2 : to participate heartily (as in a cause, drive, or crusade)

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Other Words from enlist

enlistee \ in-​ˌli-​ˈstē How to pronounce enlistee (audio) , en-​ , -​ˈli-​stē \ noun
enlistment \ in-​ˈlis(t)-​mənt How to pronounce enlistment (audio) , en-​ \ noun

Examples of enlist in a Sentence

They're enlisting volunteers for an experiment. We enlisted all available resources. I enlisted the help of our neighbors. We enlisted the services of a professional. They enlisted several new recruits. After graduating, I enlisted in the navy. He enlisted in the cause of world peace.
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Recent Examples on the Web And like Hayes, Alphus plans to enlist this summer in the United States Marine Corps at the age of 19. Chelsea Curtis, USA TODAY, "Ira Hayes raised the flag on Iwo Jima. 75 years later, he still inspires this Indian community.," 23 Feb. 2020 And like Hayes, Alphus plans to enlist this summer in the United States Marine Corps at the age of 19. Chelsea Curtis, azcentral, "Ira Hayes raised the flag on Iwo Jima 75 years ago. His heroism still inspires the Gila River Indian Community," 22 Feb. 2020 In 2017, during the battle for Mosul, the Wall Street Journal reported that French special forces had been sent to the city in order to enlist Iraqi soldiers to kill French nationals. Sam Knight, The New Yorker, "If Shamima Begum, the ISIS Bride, Is No Longer British, What Does Citizenship Mean?," 15 Feb. 2020 That is a central element of Democrats’ impeachment case against the president, which charges him with seeking to enlist a foreign government to interfere in the 2020 election on his behalf. Sheryl Gay Stolbergand Michael D. Shear, BostonGlobe.com, "Republicans move to block impeachment witnesses, driving toward acquittal," 29 Jan. 2020 But Randy still had to enlist the support of his brother for another donation, this one twice as big as the last. Arizona Republic, "An Arizona couple donated $1 million to help foster children. One year later, they did even more.," 29 Jan. 2020 Expecting a major corporate lobbying group to enlist in #TheResistance seems unrealistic, especially three years in. Brian Barrett, Wired, "Ivanka Trump's Future of Work Isn't for Workers," 7 Jan. 2020 But in order to take on the Empire himself (and not end of like Dak Ralter), Mando needs to enlist a few friends. Darren Orf, Popular Mechanics, "The Mandalorian: Turns Out Baby Yoda Is Powerful (And Terrifying)," 18 Dec. 2019 Citizens here are also concerned about the controversial National Register of Citizens (NRC), which requires people to produce documents of ancestry to be enlisted as Indian citizens. Manavi Kapur, Quartz India, "India’s new Citizenship Act and national register of citizens are both inspired by “paranoia”," 15 Dec. 2019

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

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First Known Use of enlist

1599, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

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Time Traveler for enlist

Time Traveler

The first known use of enlist was in 1599

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Last Updated

28 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Enlist.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/enlist. Accessed 28 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for enlist


How to pronounce enlist (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of enlist

: to get the support and help of (someone or something)
: to get (help, support, sympathy, etc.) from someone
: to sign up (a person) for duty in the army, navy, etc.


en·​list | \ in-ˈlist How to pronounce enlist (audio) \
enlisted; enlisting

Kids Definition of enlist

1 : to join the armed forces as a volunteer
2 : to get the help of Let's enlist our family in painting the house.

Other Words from enlist

enlistment \ -​mənt \ noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on enlist

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for enlist

Spanish Central: Translation of enlist

Nglish: Translation of enlist for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of enlist for Arabic Speakers

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