verb (used with object), en·gaged, en·gag·ing.

  1. to occupy the attention or efforts of (a person or persons): He engaged her in conversation.
  2. to secure for aid, employment, use, etc.; hire: to engage a worker; to engage a room.
  3. to attract and hold fast: The novel engaged her attention and interest.
  4. to attract or please: His good nature engages everyone.
  5. to bind, as by pledge, promise, contract, or oath; make liable: He engaged himself to repay his debt within a month.
  6. to betroth (usually used in the passive): They were engaged last week.
  7. to bring (troops) into conflict; enter into conflict with: Our army engaged the enemy.
  8. Mechanics. to cause (gears or the like) to become interlocked; interlock with.
  9. to attach or secure.
  10. Obsolete. to entangle or involve.

verb (used without object), en·gaged, en·gag·ing.

  1. to occupy oneself; become involved: to engage in business or politics.
  2. to take employment: She engaged in her mother’s business.
  3. to pledge one’s word; assume an obligation: I was unwilling to engage on such terms.
  4. to cross weapons; enter into conflict: The armies engaged early in the morning.
  5. Mechanics. (of gears or the like) to interlock.


  1. choosing to involve oneself in or commit oneself to something: Some of the political activists grew less engagé as the years passed.

verb (mainly tr)

  1. to secure the services of; employ
  2. to secure for use; reserveengage a room
  3. to involve (a person or his attention) intensely; engross; occupy
  4. to attract (the affection) of (a person)her innocence engaged him
  5. to draw (somebody) into conversation
  6. (intr) to take part; participatehe engages in many sports
  7. to promise (to do something)
  8. (also intr) military to begin an action with (an enemy)
  9. to bring (a mechanism) into operationhe engaged the clutch
  10. (also intr) to undergo or cause to undergo interlocking, as of the components of a driving mechanism, such as a gear train
  11. machinery to locate (a locking device) in its operative position or to advance (a tool) into a workpiece to commence cutting


  1. (of a writer or artist, esp a man) morally or politically committed to some ideology

early 15c., “to pledge,” from Middle French engagier, from Old French en gage “under pledge,” from en “make” + gage “pledge,” through Frankish from Proto-Germanic *wadiare “pledge” (see wed).

It shows the common evolution of Germanic -w- to French -g-; cf. Guillaume from Wilhelm). Meaning “attract the attention of” is from 1640s; that of “employ” is from 1640s, from notion of “binding as by a pledge.” Specific sense of “promise to marry” is 1610s (implied in engaged).

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