pledge on Wikipedia


From Middle English plege, from Anglo-Norman plege, from Old French plege (Modern French pleige) from Medieval Latin plevium, plebium, from plebiō (I pledge), from Frankish *plehan (to pledge; to support; to guarantee). Akin to Old High German pflegan (to take care of, be accustomed to), Old Saxon plegan (to vouch for), Old English plēon (to risk, endanger). More at plight.


  • IPA(key): /plɛdʒ/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɛdʒ


pledge (third-person singular simple present pledges, present participle pledging, simple past and past participle pledged)

  1. To make a solemn promise (to do something).
    pledge allegiance to the flag
  2. To deposit something as a security; to pawn.
  3. (transitive) To give assurance of friendship by the act of drinking; to drink to one's health.
    • 1773, Oliver Goldsmith, She Stoops to Conquer
      HARDCASTLE [Taking the cup.] I hope you'll find it to your mind. I have prepared it with my own hands, and I believe you'll own the ingredients are tolerable. Will you be so good as to pledge me, sir? Here, Mr. Marlow, here is to our better acquaintance. [Drinks.]
    • 1852, Matthew Arnold, Tristram and Iseult
      Reach me my golden cup that stands by thee,
      And pledge me in it first for courtesy.



pledge (plural pledges)

  1. A solemn promise to do something.
    Synonym: commitment
    • 2021 April 22, Brad Plumer; Nadja Popovich, “The U.S. Has a New Climate Goal. How Does It Stack Up Globally?”, in The New York Times[1], ISSN 0362-4331:
      Mr. Biden unveiled the pledge at a White House climate summit for world leaders, declaring that the United States is ready to reclaim a leadership role on climate change.
    1. (with the) A promise to abstain from drinking alcohol.
  2. (law) A bailment of personal property to secure payment of a debt without transfer of title.
    1. The personal property so pledged, to be kept until the debt is payed.
      Synonym: collateral
  3. A person who has taken a pledge of allegiance to a college fraternity, but is not yet formally approved.
  4. A drinking toast.

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