verb (used with object), en·gaged, en·gag·ing.
- to occupy the attention or efforts of (a person or persons): He engaged her in conversation.
- to secure for aid, employment, use, etc.; hire: to engage a worker; to engage a room.
- to attract and hold fast: The novel engaged her attention and interest.
- to attract or please: His good nature engages everyone.
- to bind, as by pledge, promise, contract, or oath; make liable: He engaged himself to repay his debt within a month.
- to betroth (usually used in the passive): They were engaged last week.
- to bring (troops) into conflict; enter into conflict with: Our army engaged the enemy.
- Mechanics. to cause (gears or the like) to become interlocked; interlock with.
- to attach or secure.
- Obsolete. to entangle or involve.
verb (used without object), en·gaged, en·gag·ing.
- to occupy oneself; become involved: to engage in business or politics.
- to take employment: She engaged in her mother’s business.
- to pledge one’s word; assume an obligation: I was unwilling to engage on such terms.
- to cross weapons; enter into conflict: The armies engaged early in the morning.
- Mechanics. (of gears or the like) to interlock.
- 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)
- to secure the services of; employ
- to secure for use; reserveengage a room
- to involve (a person or his attention) intensely; engross; occupy
- to attract (the affection) of (a person)her innocence engaged him
- to draw (somebody) into conversation
- (intr) to take part; participatehe engages in many sports
- to promise (to do something)
- (also intr) military to begin an action with (an enemy)
- to bring (a mechanism) into operationhe engaged the clutch
- (also intr) to undergo or cause to undergo interlocking, as of the components of a driving mechanism, such as a gear train
- machinery to locate (a locking device) in its operative position or to advance (a tool) into a workpiece to commence cutting
- (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).