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 Undefeated Japanese Champion Masahiro (Yusuke Ogasawara) is preparing for the biggest fight of his life: A showdown with Clint Sullivan, a down-and-out American pugilist enlisted to defend his country's honor and redeem himself in the process. Scott Roxborough, The Hollywood Reporter, "'In Full Bloom' Wins Oldenburg Independence Award," 16 Sep. 2019 Revolution Another JJ Abrams show that starred a Lost alum, this NBC series enlisted Elizabeth Mitchell, who played Juliet, for a post-apocalyptic sci-fi drama that began 15 years after a global blackout put humanity back into the Wild West. Sydney Bucksbaum, EW.com, "Netflix's The I-Land tries (and fails) to be the next Lost — just like these 11 other shows," 14 Sep. 2019 Andre, 39, is the visionary behind the project, buying the old theater and enlisting his parents as prime movers on scene. Mary Colurso | Mcolurso@al.com, al, "There’s new life at Bessemer’s historic Lincoln Theatre, thanks to actor Andre Holland and family," 12 Sep. 2019 Kushner became his most essential ally, enlisting Parscale as his proxy. Peter Elkind, ProPublica, "The Myths of the “Genius” Behind Trump’s Reelection Campaign," 11 Sep. 2019 Both terror groups used digital tools to spread online hatred and enlist recruits with surprising ease. Kristine Phillips, USA TODAY, "After massacres and thwarted plots, federal authorities confront limits in fighting domestic terror," 10 Sep. 2019 An early draft of the new grading system, discussed by the committee on Thursday, listed a few ways students would be considered successfully enrolled, enlisted or employed. Emma Kate Fittes, Indianapolis Star, "What students do after graduating could determine their high school’s rating," 9 Sep. 2019 Chivers is a former Navy sailor, enlisting for a three-year commitment as an 18-year-old before being honorably discharged in 1975. Paul Chinn, SFChronicle.com, "Volunteer electrician ensures Richmond WWII vessel remains in shipshape," 8 Sep. 2019 But Mr Assad shrugged off the empty threats of Western leaders, and enlisted the help of Iran and Russia. The Economist, "Syria will poison the region for years to come," 5 Sep. 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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Statistics for enlist

Last Updated

24 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for enlist

The first known use of enlist was in 1599

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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

Spanish Central: Translation of enlist

Nglish: Translation of enlist for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of enlist for Arabic Speakers

Comments on enlist

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


not being in agreement or harmony

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