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

The gist: After their lame attempts fail to drive out the humans now living in their home, two mild-mannered ghosts enlist an annoying demon named Beetlejuice to finish the job. Joyce Bautista Ferrari, Marie Claire, "The Best Horror Movies That Aren't Too Scary," 29 Oct. 2018 Jack was not drafted, but voluntarily enlisted to be with Nicky. Emma Dibdin, Country Living, "'This Is Us' Fans Learned So Much About Jack in Tonight's 'Vietnam' Episode," 16 Oct. 2018 To get skin worthy of a red carpet (and just like the celebs who walk it) start by enlisting the help of an experienced professional and using effective products. Mia Adorante, Harper's BAZAAR, "Celebrity Facialists Sound Off on Their Top Tips for Red Carpet-Worthy Skin," 28 Sep. 2018 Sierra Burgess is a Loser stars Shannon Purser as Sierra, a high school senior who accidentally catfishes a guy (Noah Centineo) and then enlists help from the most popular girl in school. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "11 Things to Know About "Sierra Burgess is a Loser" Star Shannon Purser," 23 Aug. 2018 Many victims had been enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. Elizabeth Llorente, Fox News, "Will lame duck Jerry Brown commute sentences of every single death row inmate in one of his last acts as California governor?," 31 Aug. 2018 Instead of celebrating Meghan Markle's birthday, Prince Harry has been enlisted as van Straubenzee's best man. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle Stuns in a Multi-Colored Club Monaco Dress at Charlie van Straubenzee’s Wedding," 4 Aug. 2018 Bonnie Bruno enlisted Milwaukee activist Tory Lowe in the search for her missing daughter. Ashley Luthern, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Mom, activists find missing Milwaukee girl in Chicago after disturbing video posts on Facebook," 29 June 2018 Clark said families can also enlist the help of their community. Lauren Castle, azcentral, "5 tips parents can use to prevent summer reading loss," 23 June 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

5 Dec 2018

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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a knickknack or trinket

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