en·​list | \ in-ˈlist , 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 , en-​ , -​ˈli-​stē \ noun
enlistment \ in-​ˈlis(t)-​mənt , 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

When Sabrina Albanese was enlisted to design a family vacation home on southern Ontario’s Lake Simcoe, her clients' requests were simple: comfortable, colorful and creative. Lucia Tonelli, ELLE Decor, "A Vivacious Canadian Lake House With a Joyful Sense of Irreverence," 24 Dec. 2018 Pogba was enlisted as a young prospect, and the Frenchman joined the club's youth system at the age of 16. SI.com, "Former Man Utd Star Nicky Butt Insists That the Club's Under-23 Set Up Relegation Is Not a Concern," 17 Apr. 2018 He was enlisted on July 24, 1940, trained at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center and reported for duty aboard the USS Oklahoma on Oct. 12, 1940, according to his obituary by Macon (N.C.) Funeral Home in Franklin. Joe Marusak, charlotteobserver, "Navy seaman died in WWII attack at Pearl Harbor. His remains will be buried in NC. | Charlotte Observer," 10 Apr. 2018 Jack persists though, and the doctor ends up giving him a way to trick the medical examination to be enlisted. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Last Night's Episode of 'This Is Us' Revealed an Even More Heartbreaking Detail About Jack's Death," 17 Oct. 2018 Google's new Call Screen feature can enlist Google Assistant to answer calls for you. Jon Phillips, PCWorld, "Google Pixel 3: The 5 features that matter most," 9 Oct. 2018 The council partnered with Ryan Cos. in October to enlist community engagement and get public input on redeveloping the site, which could be a mix of commercial, residential and office uses in addition to parking. Erin Hegarty, Naperville Sun, "Naperville council to be briefed in June on initial 5th Avenue redevelopment findings," 11 May 2018 And throughout April — National Volunteer Month — Chicago Cares is making a special push to enlist new volunteers and volunteer leaders for big upcoming events like its June 23 Serve-A-Thon and smaller partner initiatives. Gwendolyn Purdom, RedEye Chicago, "Do good giving community groups added volunteer support with Chicago Cares," 11 Apr. 2018 Just after son Peter was born in 1942, Mike enlisted in the navy and was sent to the Pacific. Andrew Goldman, Town & Country, "Chris Wallace Is Fox News's Man in the Middle," 17 Nov. 2018

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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Statistics for enlist

Last Updated

14 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for enlist

The first known use of enlist was in 1599

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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 \
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

Spanish Central: Translation of enlist

Nglish: Translation of enlist for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of enlist for Arabic Speakers

Comments on enlist

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