From Middle French engagier, from Old French engager (“to pledge, engage”), from Old Frankish *anwadjōn (“to pledge”), from Proto-Germanic *an-, *andi- + Proto-Germanic *wadjōną (“to pledge, secure”), from Proto-Germanic *wadjō (“pledge, guarantee”), from Proto-Indo-European *wedʰ- (“to pledge, redeem a pledge; guarantee, bail”), equivalent to en- + gage. Cognate with Old English anwedd (“pledge, security”), Old English weddian (“to engage, covenant, undertake”), German wetten (“to bet, wager”), Icelandic veðja (“to wager”). More at wed.
engage (third-person singular simple present engages, present participle engaging, simple past and past participle engaged)
- (heading, transitive) To interact socially.
- To engross or hold the attention of; to keep busy or occupied.
- Alexander Pope (1688-1744)
- Thus shall mankind his guardian care engage.
- To draw into conversation.
- To attract, to please; (archaic) to fascinate or win over (someone).
- (heading) To interact antagonistically.
- (transitive) To enter into conflict with (an enemy).
- (intransitive) To enter into battle.
- (heading) To interact contractually.
- (transitive) To arrange to employ or use (a worker, a space, etc.).
1905, Baroness Emmuska Orczy, chapter 2, The Affair at the Novelty Theatre:
- For this scene, a large number of supers are engaged, and in order to further swell the crowd, practically all the available stage hands have to ‘walk on’ dressed in various coloured dominoes, and all wearing masks.
- (intransitive) To guarantee or promise (to do something).
- (transitive) To bind through legal or moral obligation (to do something, especially to marry) (usually in passive).
- They were engaged last month! They're planning to have the wedding next year.
- (obsolete, transitive) To pledge, pawn (one's property); to put (something) at risk or on the line; to mortgage (houses, land).
- (heading) To interact mechanically.
- To mesh or interlock (of machinery, especially a clutch).
- Whenever I engage the clutch, the car stalls out.
- (engineering, transitive) To come into gear with.
- The teeth of one cogwheel engage those of another.
- (intransitive) To enter into (an activity), to participate (construed with in).
- 1915, Emerson Hough, The Purchase Price, chapterI:
- “[…] We are engaged in a great work, a treatise on our river fortifications, perhaps? But since when did army officers afford the luxury of amanuenses in this simple republic? […]”
to engross or hold the attention of someone
to draw into conversation
to enter into conflict with an enemy
intransitive: to enter into battle
to employ or obtain the services of someone
to enter into an activity
to guarantee or promise to do something
to bind through legal or moral obligation