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Middle English, from Anglo-French engager, from en- + gage pledge, gage


transitive verb
  • 1 : to offer (as one's word) as security for a debt or cause
  • 2 a obsolete : to entangle or entrap in or as if in a snare or bog
b : to attract and hold by influence or power
c : to interlock with : mesh; also : to cause (mechanical parts) to mesh <engage the clutch>
  • 3 : to bind (as oneself) to do something; especially : to bind by a pledge to marry
  • 4 a : to provide occupation for : involve <engage him in a new project>
b : to arrange to obtain the use or services of : hire <engage a lawyer>
  • 5 a : to hold the attention of : engross <her work engages her completely>
b : to induce to participate <engaged the shy boy in conversation>
  • 6 a : to enter into contest or battle with <engage the enemy>
b : to bring together or interlock (weapons)
  • 7 : to deal with especially at length