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

Synonyms & Antonyms for enlist



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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 The stop comes on the heels of a push by the Biden administration to enlist faith leaders in the effort to promote vaccinations. Ben Gittleson, ABC News, "Biden to call for states to make all Americans eligible for vaccine by April 19 amid 'concern' over increasing COVID cases," 6 Apr. 2021 Previous efforts by law enforcement to enlist the help of community members had prompted concern that the federal government was trying to spy on minority communities. New York Times, "Biden Steps Up Federal Efforts to Combat Domestic Extremism," 4 Apr. 2021 Speaking of those fathers, Lincoln rejected Douglas’s attempt to enlist the Founders on the anti-anti-slavery side of antebellum arguments. Adam J. White, National Review, "This Thanksgiving, Let’s Practice Constitutional Gratitude," 24 Nov. 2020 Worthy added that the need to enlist an additional expert would delay the completion of her own office's report. Nancy Kaffer, Detroit Free Press, "Expert poses new theory on what really killed woman in Harper Woods jail," 12 Nov. 2020 At the time, Singh felt adrift, unsure of what to do with her life after a failed attempt to enlist in the Air Force. Esther Mobley, SFChronicle.com, "The untold story of Alpana Singh, one of America’s only women of color to become a master sommelier," 5 Nov. 2020 Previous British efforts to enlist Merkel’s help to broker a compromise have foundered. Tim Ross, Bloomberg.com, "Johnson Tells Merkel That Gaps Remain With EU as Time Runs Short," 11 Oct. 2020 Rutte's party won the most seats in last week's election for the lower house of parliament but will need to enlist other parties to gain a majority in the 150-seat legislature. Mike Corder, Star Tribune, "Dutch coalition talks halted after COVID-19 case, notes slip," 25 Mar. 2021 So, more determined than ever, Olivia and her mom set out fully masked with her wagon and flyers to enlist the help of her community. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Someone San Diego Should Know: Oliva Isaacs," 24 Mar. 2021

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

11 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Enlist.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/enlist. Accessed 21 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for enlist



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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Comments on enlist

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