English edit

Etymology edit

PIE word

From Late Middle English involven (to cloud; to encumber; to envelop, surround; to ponder (something); (reflexive) to concern (oneself) with something) [and other forms],[1] borrowed from Old French involver, envoudre, or from its etymon Latin involvere, the present active infinitive of Latin involvō (to roll to or upon something; to roll about; to coil or curl up; to cover; to envelop, wrap up; to overwhelm), from in- (prefix meaning ‘in, inside, within’) + volvō (to roll; to tumble)[2] (ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *welH- (to turn; to wind (turn coils))).

Pronunciation edit

Verb edit

involve (third-person singular simple present involves, present participle involving, simple past and past participle involved) (transitive)

  1. To have (something) as a component or a related part; to comprise, to include.
    Synonym: comprehend
    My job involves forecasting economic trends.
    1. (specifically) To include (something) as a logical or natural, or necessary component, or consequence or effect of something else; to entail, to imply.
      • 1646, Thomas Browne, “Compendiously of Many Questionable Customes, Opinions, Pictures, Practises, and Popular Observations”, in Pseudodoxia Epidemica: [], London: [] T[homas] H[arper] for Edward Dod, [], →OCLC, 5th book, paragraph 13, page 267:
        Many conceive there is ſomevvhat amiſſe, and that as vve uſually ſay, they are unbleſt untill they put on their girdle: vvherein (although moſt knovv not vvhat they ſay) there are involved unknovvne conſiderations; for by a girdle or cincture are ſymbolically implied Truth, Reſolution and Readineſſe unto Action, []
      • 1651, Thomas Hobbes, “Of the Rights of the Kingdome of God, in Abraham, Moses, the High Priests, and the Kings of Judah”, in Leviathan, or The Matter, Forme, & Power of a Common-wealth Ecclesiasticall and Civill, London: [] [William Wilson] for Andrew Crooke, [], →OCLC, 3rd part (Of a Christian Common-wealth), page 249:
        [A]t the making of this Covenant, God ſpake onely to Abraham; and therefore contracted not vvith any of his family, or ſeed, othervviſe then as their vvills (vvhich make the eſſence of all Covenants) vvere before the Contract involved in the vvill of Abraham; vvho vvas ſuppoſed to have had a lavvfull povver, to make them perform all that he covenanted for them.
      • 1664, John Tillotson, “The Preface”, in Sermons Preach’d upon Several Occasions, London: [] A[nne] M[axwell] for Sa[muel] Gellibrand, [], published 1671, →OCLC:
        All that I can ſay is this, That vve are not infallible either in judging of the antiquity of a Book, or of the ſenſe of it; by vvhich I mean (as any man of ſenſe and ingenuity vvould eaſily perceive I do) that vve cannot demonſtrate theſe things ſo, as to ſhevv that the contrary neceſſarily involves a contradiction; but yet that vve may have a firm aſſurance concerning theſe matters, ſo as not to make the leaſt doubt of them.
  2. To cause or engage (someone or something) to become connected or implicated, or to participate, in some activity or situation.
    Synonym: include
    By involving herself in her local community, Mary met lots of people and also helped make it a nicer place to live.
    How can we involve the audience more during the show?
    I don’t want to involve him in my personal affairs.
    We are always trying to involve new technology in our products.
    • 1695, Richard Blackmore, “Book I”, in Prince Arthur. An Heroick Poem. [], 2nd edition, London: [] Awnsham and John Churchil [], →OCLC, page 9:
      If thou ſuch fierce Deſtruction doſt diſpence, / To puniſh ſome unpardon'd old Offence, / On me let all thy fiery Darts be ſpent, / Let not my Crime involve the innocent.
    • 1794 October 29, Thomas Erskine (counsel for the defendant), “The Trial of Thomas Hardy for High Treason, before the Court Holden under a Special Commission of Oyer and Terminer, at the Sessions House in the Old Bailey, [] ”, in T[homas] B[ayly] Howell, Thomas Jones Howell, compilers, A Complete Collection of State Trials and Proceedings for High Treason and Other Crimes and Misdemeanors from the Earliest Period to the Year 1783, [], volume XXIV, London: [] T[homas] C[urson] Hansard, []; for Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown;  [], published 1818, →OCLC, columns 436–437:
      There is no manner of doubt that upon an indictment for a conspiracy, be the conspiracy to do one act, or another act, or be the quality of the act done, when it is done, what it may, that as far as you can connect persons acting together towards one purpose, which purpose constitutes the crime, you may undoubtedly involve them together by evidence, but that is not the question here.
    • 1814 July 7, [Walter Scott], “Waverley-Honour—A Retrospect”, in Waverley; [], 2nd edition, volume I, Edinburgh:  [] James Ballantyne and Co. for Archibald Constable and Co.; London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, →OCLC, page 20:
      Lawyer Clippurse found his patron involved in a deep study, which he was too respectful to disturb, otherwise than by producing his paper and leathern ink-case, as prepared to minute his honour's commands.
    1. (specifically, also reflexive, chiefly passive voice) Chiefly followed by with: to engage (someone or oneself) in an emotional or sexual relationship.
  3. (figuratively) To entangle, intertwine, or mingle (something with one or more other things, or several things together); especially, to entangle (someone or something) in a confusing or troublesome situation.
    Synonyms: blend, (archaic) implicate, merge
    to involve a person in debt or misery
    • 1531, Thomas Elyot, “Howe the Studentes in the Lawes of This Realme maye Take Excellent Commoditie by the Lessons of Sondrie Doctrines”, in Ernest Rhys, editor, The Boke Named the Governour [] (Everyman’s Library), London: J[oseph] M[alaby] Dent & Co; New York, N.Y.: E[dward] P[ayson] Dutton & Co, published [1907], →OCLC, 1st book, page 62:
      Also that reuerende studie [of law] is inuolued in so barbarouse a langage, that it is nat only voyde of all eloquence, but also beynge seperate from the exercise of our lawe onely, it serueth to no commoditie or necessary purpose, no man understandyng it but they whiche haue studyed the lawes.
    • 1598, John Marston, “The Metamorphosis of Pigmalions Image and Certaine Satyres. Satyre II. Quedam sunt, et non videntur.”, in J[ames] O[rchard] Halliwell, editor, The Works of John Marston. [] (Library of Old Authors), volume III, London: John Russell Smith, [] , published 1856, →OCLC, page 218:
      [O]ld Œdipus / Would be amazd, and take it in foule snufs / That such Cymerian darknes should involve / A quaint conceit that he could not resolve.
    • 1677, Tho[mas] Herbert, Some Yeares Travels into Divers Parts of Africa, and Asia the Great. [], 4th edition, London: [] R. Everingham, for R. Scot, T. Basset, J[ohn] Wright, and R. Chiswell, →OCLC, page 321:
      So that involved vvith more perplexity novv than ever, he vvas at his vvits end, and once reſolved to burn his Book and return to trading: []
    • 1667, John Milton, “Book II”, in Paradise Lost. [], London: [] [Samuel Simmons], [], →OCLC; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: [], London: Basil Montagu Pickering [], 1873, →OCLC, lines 380–385:
      [F]or whence, / But from the Author of all ill [Satan] could Spring / So deep a malice, to confound the race / Of mankind in one root, and Earth with Hell / To mingle and involve, done all to ſpite / The great Creatour?
    • 1667, John Milton, “Book II”, in Paradise Lost. [], London: [] [Samuel Simmons], [], →OCLC; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: [], London: Basil Montagu Pickering [], 1873, →OCLC, lines 806–809:
      [H]e [Death] knows / His end with mine involvd; and knows that I / Should prove a bitter Morſel, and his bane, / When ever that ſhall be; ſo Fate pronounc'd.
    • 1768, Mr. Yorick [pseudonym; Laurence Sterne], “The Fragment and the Bouquet. Paris.”, in A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy, volume II, London: [] T. Becket and P. A. De Hondt, [], →OCLC, page 146:
      Our misfortunes vvere involved together— []
    • 1843, Cha[rle]s Ansell et al., “Introduction to the Tables”, in Tables Exhibiting the Law of Mortality, Deduced from the Combined Experience of Seventeen Life Assurance Offices, [], London: [] J. King, [], →OCLC, page vii:
      The materials being thus combined, the next process was to involve them, so as to obtain the number exposed to the risk of mortality in each year of age, in order to ascertain the proportion of deaths; []
  4. (archaic)
    1. To cover or envelop (something) completely; to hide, to surround.
      Synonyms: enfold, enwrap, swallow up
      to involve in darkness or obscurity
      • 1605, Francis Bacon, “The First Booke”, in The Twoo Bookes of Francis Bacon. Of the Proficience and Aduancement of Learning, Diuine and Humane, London: [] [Thomas Purfoot and Thomas Creede] for Henrie Tomes, [], →OCLC, folio 5, verso:
        [T]he vviſe mans eyes keepe vvatch in his head vvhereas the foole roundeth about in darkneſſe: but vvithall I learned that the ſame mortalitie inuolueth them both.
        A quotation from Ecclesiastes 2:13–14.
      • 1649, Jer[emy] Taylor, “Discourse 14. Of the Excellency, Ease, Reasonablenesse, and Advantages of Bearing Christs Yoke, and Living According to His Institution.”, in The Great Exemplar of Sanctity and Holy Life According to the Christian Institution. [], London: [] R. N. for Francis Ash, [], →OCLC, 3rd part, paragraph 5, pages 25–26:
        For vvhatſoever the vviſeſt men in the vvorld in all nations, and religions did agree upon as moſt excellent in it ſelf, and of greateſt povver to make politicall, or future and immateriall felicities, all that and much more the Holy JESUS adopted into his Lavv; for they receiving ſparks, or ſingle irradiations from the regions of light, or elſe having fair tapers, ſhining indeed excellently in repreſentations and expreſſes of morality, vvere all involved and ſvvallovved up into the body of light, the ſun of righteouſneſſe.
      • 1667, John Milton, “Book I”, in Paradise Lost. [], London: [] [Samuel Simmons], [], →OCLC; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: [], London: Basil Montagu Pickering [], 1873, →OCLC, lines 232–237:
        [T]he ſhatter'd ſide / Of thundring Æetna, whoſe combuſtible / And fewel'd entrails thence conceiving Fire, / Sublim'd with Mineral fury, aid the Winds, / And leave a ſinged bottom all involv'd / With ſtench and ſmoak: []
      • a. 1677, Matthew Hale, “Touching the Excellency of the Humane Nature in General”, in The Primitive Origination of Mankind, Considered and Examined According to the Light of Nature, London: [] William Godbid, for William Shrowsbery, [], published 1677, →OCLC, section I, page 63:
        It is true, that it is vvith the connatural Principles inſcribed in our Minds as it is vvith our Faculties, they lye more torpid, and inactive, and inevident, unleſs they are avvakened and exerciſed, like a ſpark involved in aſhes; []
      • 1677, Tho[mas] Herbert, Some Yeares Travels into Divers Parts of Africa, and Asia the Great. [], 4th edition, London: [] R. Everingham, for R. Scot, T. Basset, J[ohn] Wright, and R. Chiswell, →OCLC, page 333:
        [H]ere vve had the VVood called Calambuco, a Tree much valued and uſed at Funerals: the richer ſort have gums and odours of Arabia put in flames, vvherein the dead body being laid is conſumed; but firſt involved in Linen vvhich is pure, vvhite, ſvveet and fine; or in Taffataes of tranſparent fineneſs.
      • 1697, Virgil, “The Twelfth Book of the Æneis”, in John Dryden, transl., The Works of Virgil: Containing His Pastorals, Georgics, and Æneis. [], London: [] Jacob Tonson, [], →OCLC, page 604, line 866:
        Black Vapours, iſſuing from the Vent, involve the Sky.
      • a. 1701 (date written), John Dryden, “The First Book of Homer’s Ilias”, in The Miscellaneous Works of John Dryden, [], volume IV, London: [] J[acob] and R[ichard] Tonson, [], published 1760, →OCLC, page 432:
        Black bulls, and bearded goats on altars lie; / And clouds of ſav'ry ſtench involve the ſky.
      • 1727, James Thomson, “Summer”, in The Seasons, London: [] A[ndrew] Millar, and sold by Thomas Cadell, [], published 1768, →OCLC, page 85, lines 1022–1023:
        The ſtormy fates deſcend: one death involves / Tyrants and ſlaves; []
      • 1742, [Alexander Pope], “Book the Fourth”, in The New Dunciad: As is[sic] It was Found in the Year 1741. [], Dublin: [] George Faulkner, →OCLC, page 16, lines 78–82:
        [O]rb in orb conglob'd are ſeen / The buzzing Bees about their duſky Queen. / The gath'ring number, as it moves along, / Involves a vaſt involuntary throng, / VVho gently dravvn, and ſtrugling leſs and leſs, / Roll in her Vortex, and her povv'r confeſs.
      • 1785, “Lecture XI. Display of the Divine Nature in the Form of the Universe.”, in Charles Wilkins, transl., The Bhăgvăt-Gēētā, Or, Dialogues of Krĕĕshnă and Ărjŏŏn; [], London: [] C. Nourse, [], →OCLC, page 93:
        As troops of inſects, vvith increaſing ſpeed, ſeek their ovvn deſtruction in the flaming fire; even ſo theſe people, vvith ſvvelling fury, ſeek their ovvn deſtruction. Thou involveſt and ſvvallovveſt them altogether, even unto the laſt, vvith thy flaming mouths; vvhilſt the vvhole vvorld is filled vvith thy glory, as thy avvful beams, O Vĕĕſhnŏŏ, ſhine forth on all ſides!
      • 1791, Oliver Goldsmith, “Of the Generation of Animals”, in An History of the Earth, and Animated Nature. [], new edition, volume II, London: [] F[rancis] Wingrave, successor to Mr. [John] Nourse, [], →OCLC, page 41:
        [T]he larger the vvomb grovvs the more it appears to thicken. VVithin this the embryo is ſtill farther involved, in tvvo membranes, called the chorion, and amnios; and floats in a thin tranſparent fluid, upon vvhich it ſeems, in ſome meaſure, to ſubſiſt.
      • 1850, [Alfred, Lord Tennyson], In Memoriam, London: Edward Moxon, [], →OCLC, canto CXXVIII, page 200:
        My love involves the love before; / My love is vaster passion now; / Tho' mix'd with God and Nature thou / I seem to love thee more and more.
      • 1856, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, “Third Book”, in Aurora Leigh, London: Chapman and Hall, [], published 1857, →OCLC, page 95:
        Or I saw / Fog only, the great tawny weltering fog, / Involve the passive city, strangle it / Alive, and draw it off into the void, []
      • 1862 July, “Art. VII.—The Publications of the Surtees Society. London, Durham, and Edinburgh. [book review]”, in The Christian Remembrancer. A Quarterly Review, volume XLIV, number CXVII (New Series), London: John and Charles Mozley, []; New York, N.Y.: Willmer & Rogers, page 193:
        O God, who involvedst in the consuming fire the people of Sodom and Gomorrah, and gavest salvation to Lot Thy servant and his household: [] show us in this test of our littleness the virtue of the same Holy Spirit, and by the heat of this Fire separate the believing and unbelieving, []
    2. To form (something) into a coil or spiral, or into folds; to entwine, to fold up, to roll, to wind round.
  5. (archaic or obsolete)
    1. To make (something) intricate; to complicate.
      • 1533 (date written), Thomas More, “The Debellacyon of Salem and Bizance []. Chapter XVIJ.”, in Wyllyam Rastell [i.e., William Rastell], editor, The Workes of Sir Thomas More Knyght, [], London: [] Iohn Cawod, Iohn Waly, and Richarde Tottell, published April 1557, →OCLC, page 1004, column 2:
        And as wililye as thoſe ſhrewes that beguyle hym haue holpe hym to inuolue and intryke the matter: I ſhall vſe ſo playn and open a way therin, that euery man ſhall well ſee the trouth.
      • 1635, George Hakewill, “Wherein the Objections Brought in Behalfe of the Romanes Touching Their Pretended Iustice, Prudence, and Fortitude, are Examined and Fully Answered”, in An Apologie or Declaration of the Power and Providence of God in the Government of the World. [], 3rd edition, Oxford, Oxfordshire: [] William Turner [], →OCLC, book IV, section 12 (Of Some Excellent Princes of This Latter Age, Not to bee Matched with Any in Ancient Times), page 541:
        [H]e ſeemed rather vvilling to diſpatch the buſines vvith judgement, then to involue it vvith nice diſtinctions.
      • 1848, Thomas Milner, “Tides and Oceanic Highways”, in The Gallery of Nature: A Pictorial and Descriptive Tour Through Creation, [], new edition, London: W[illia]m S. Orr & Co., [], →OCLC, page 355:
        The distribution and configuration of the land, together with the influence of the winds, greatly involve the problem of the tides, and render it one of the most difficult in the whole range of physics.
      • 1859, T. G. Logan, “To the Director-General of the Army Medical Department”, in Army Medical Department. Statistical, Sanitary and Medical Reports for the year 1859. [], London: [] Harrison and Sons, for Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, published 1861, →OCLC, page 169:
        The sewerage and drainage of the town of Gibraltar, being upon a very defective system, greatly involve the sanitary welfare of the troops, many of the barrack buildings being immediately within the influences of such evil.
      • 1878 October 25, “Engineers in the Mercantile Marine. No. III.”, in The Engineer, volume XLVI, London: Office for publication and advertisements, [], →ISSN, →OCLC, page 294, column 1:
        Before leaving this branch of our subject, it may be well to point out that a young man who possesses the power of explaining himself clearly, without stammering and stumbling, and involving his sentences, always has a great advantage on his side.
    2. (mathematics) To multiply (a number) by itself a given number of times; to raise to any assigned power.
      a quantity involved to the third or fourth power
      • 1814, Jermiah Day, “Evolution of Compound Quantities”, in An Introduction to Algebra, Being the First Part of a Course of Mathematics, [], New Haven, Conn.: Howe & Deforest; Oliver Steele, printer, →OCLC, article 484, page 242:
        Subtract the power from the given quantity, and divide the first term of the remainder, by the first term of the root involved to the next inferiour power, and multiplied by the index of the given power; the quotient will be the next term of the root.

Conjugation edit

Alternative forms edit

Derived terms edit

Related terms edit

Translations edit

References edit

  1. ^ involven, v.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
  2. ^ Compare “involve, v.”, in OED Online  , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, March 2023; “involve, v.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.

Further reading edit

Latin edit

Verb edit


  1. second-person singular present active imperative of involvō