There are 2 main definitions of engage in English:

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engage 1

Pronunciation: /ɪnˈɡeɪdʒ/


1 [with object] Occupy or attract (someone’s interest or attention): he ploughed on, trying to outline his plans and engage Sutton’s attention I told him I was otherwise engaged
More example sentences
  • It will involve engaging their enthusiasm and interest.
  • Spectators had a diverse range of exhibits to engage their attention and sheep dog trials generated considerable interest.
  • It consists in not taking an interest in whatever may be engaging the attention of the general public at any particular time.
capture, catch, arrest, grab, seize, draw, attract, gain, win, captivate, hold, grip, engross, absorb, occupy
1.1 (engage someone in) Involve someone in (a conversation or discussion): they attempted to engage Anthony in conversation
More example sentences
  • We must engage them in discussions that involve their experiences, their questions, and their standards.
  • ‘I'd be happy to engage her in a discussion about the value of advertising.’
  • So we have to engage Beijing in a thorough discussion on this matter.
2 [no object] (engage in or be engaged in) Participate or become involved in: organizations engage in a variety of activities some are actively engaged in crime
More example sentences
  • Eventually she becomes involved in drugs and engages in various sexual escapades.
  • Each of the named individuals is a scientist who engages in research involving animals.
  • He has been actively engaged in an open exchange on what Indonesia is and should be.
participate in, take part in, join in, become involved in, go in for, partake in/of, occupy oneself with, throw oneself into;
share in, play a part in, play a role in, be a participant in, be associated with, have a hand in, be a party to, enter into, undertake, embark on, set about, launch into
2.1 (engage with) Establish a meaningful contact or connection with: the teams needed to engage with local communities
More example sentences
  • They come to be a part of a network of people that they connect with, engage with.
  • He provides a sweeping overview of the period and engages with many of the ideas Europe is struggling with about its future.
  • In essence her method of engaging with people and thus creating action can be defined as a type of leadership that gains momentum from common cause.
3 [with object] Arrange to employ or hire (someone): he was engaged as a trainee copywriter
More example sentences
  • Although we were totally different, we seemed to hit it off and I made arrangements to engage him full-time on my return to England.
  • They were not like the modern fairs but were where employers went to engage workers and people went to seek jobs and also to buy things.
  • His current part-time mechanic employee engages him 15 to 25 hours per week.
employ, hire, recruit, take on, take into employment, secure the services of, put on the payroll, enrol, appoint, commission, enlist;
retain, have in employment, have on the payroll
informal take on board
3.1 [with infinitive] Pledge or enter into a contract to do something: he engaged to pay them £10,000 against a bond
More example sentences
  • It is not reasonable that a solicitor should engage to act on for an indefinite number of years, winding up estates, without receiving any payment on which he can maintain himself.
  • [A solicitor] may be engaged to perform tasks which are connected with the running of the affairs of his principal.
  • I mean you can engage to large corporations and you can advertise to bankers and you can advertise to all sorts of wealthy people, but to ordinary folks you cannot, and that sounds discriminatory to me.
contract, promise, agree, pledge, vow, covenant, commit oneself, bind oneself, undertake, enter into an agreement, reach an agreement, negotiate a deal
3.2 dated Reserve (accommodation, a place, etc.) in advance: she had offered to engage a room in the house of the woman
More example sentences
  • One day Ramonti, the violinist, engaged the front room above.
  • P. T. Barnum had engaged the larger exhibition room to stage a new kind of mass entertainment, against which painting simply could not compete.
4(With reference to a part of a machine or engine) move into position so as to come into operation: [no object]: the clutch will not engage [with object]: the driver engaged the gears and pulled out into the road
More example sentences
  • When a data cartridge is inserted into the data storage system, the cartridge directly or indirectly engages and moves the shield from the first position to the second position.
  • The Patrol has a part-time, four-wheel drive system, which can be engaged on the move at speeds up to 40 kph.
  • I found a big sweet spot where the clutch lets the gears engage after raising the pedal a few inches.
interlock, interconnect, mesh, intermesh, fit together, join together, join, unite, connect, yoke, mate, couple
5 [with object] (Of fencers or swordsmen) bring (weapons) together preparatory to fighting.
Example sentences
  • Engage your brain before you engage your weapon.
  • The sword darted out as he'd expected, engaging his dagger, and the knife drove forward for his belly, but his left hand struck like a serpent.
  • Suddenly he lunged and engaged his opponent's sword.
5.1Enter into combat with (an enemy): tank and infantry units engaged the enemy
More example sentences
  • When a unit is engaged by an enemy force, it is likely that the commander will react by maneuvering forces to counter the enemy and, if possible, to pursue any evading forces.
  • Our soldiers engaged hostile enemies in combat, preserved peace on strange frontiers and symbolized American values both at home and abroad.
  • Mongol commanders would also send portions of their force well past and around the enemy lines while the main body engaged the enemy army.
do battle with, fight with, enter into combat with, wage war on, wage war against, take up arms against, attack, mount an attack on, take on, set upon, clash with, skirmish with, grapple with, wrest with;
encounter, meet
informal scrap with


Late Middle English (formerly also as ingage): from French engager, ultimately from the base of gage1. The word originally meant 'to pawn or pledge something', later 'pledge oneself (to do something'), hence 'enter into a contract' (mid 16th century), 'involve oneself in an activity', 'enter into combat' (mid 17th century), giving rise to the notion 'involve someone or something else'.

  • Gage is an old word that means ‘a valued object deposited as a guarantee of good faith’ and, as a verb, ‘to give as a pledge’. An Old French word related to wage (Middle English) and wedding ( see marry), it is the root of engage. Engage originally meant ‘give as a pledge’ and ‘pawn or mortgage’, later coming to express the ideas ‘to pledge or guarantee’ and ‘to enter into a contract’. People have been getting engaged to be married since the beginning of the 18th century: the first recorded example is by Henry Fielding (1707–54), author of Joseph Andrews and Tom Jones.

Words that rhyme with engage

age, assuage, backstage, cage, downstage, enrage, gage, gauge, mage, multistage, offstage, onstage, Osage, page, Paige, rage, rampage, sage, stage, swage, under-age, upstage, wage
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There are 2 main definitions of engage in English:

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engagé 2

Pronunciation: /ˌɒ̃ɡaˈʒeɪ/


(Of a writer or artist) committed to a particular aim or cause.
Example sentences
  • Each side had its share of engagé intellectuals: Martin Heidegger on the right; De Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre on the left; and Arendt on neither side.
  • Born in Vermont in 1859, Dewey was a forerunner of the celebrity academic, the engagé intellectual.
  • He makes even grander claims on their behalf, likening them to engagé European intellectuals such as Albert Camus.


French, past participle of engager (see engage).

Words that rhyme with engagé

affray, agley, aka, allay, Angers, A-OK, appellation contrôlée, array, assay, astray, au fait, auto-da-fé, away, aweigh, aye, bay, belay, betray, bey, Bombay, Bordet, boulevardier, bouquet, brae, bray, café au lait, Carné, cassoulet, Cathay, chassé, chevet, chez, chiné, clay, convey, Cray, crème brûlée, crudités, cuvée, cy-pres, day, decay, deejay, dégagé, distinguée, downplay, dray, Dufay, Dushanbe, eh, embay, essay, everyday, faraway, fay, fey, flay, fray, Frey, fromage frais, gainsay, Gaye, Genet, giclee, gilet, glissé, gray, grey, halfway, hay, heigh, hey, hooray, Hubei, Hué, hurray, inveigh, jay, jeunesse dorée, José, Kay, Kaye, Klee, Kray, Lae, lay, lei, Littré, Lough Neagh, lwei, Mae, maguey, Malay, Mallarmé, Mandalay, Marseilles, may, midday, midway, mislay, misplay, Monterrey, Na-Dene, nay, né, née, neigh, Ney, noway, obey, O'Dea, okay, olé, outlay, outplay, outstay, outweigh, oyez, part-way, pay, Pei, per se, pince-nez, play, portray, pray, prey, purvey, qua, Quai d'Orsay, Rae, rangé, ray, re, reflet, relevé, roman-à-clef, Santa Fé, say, sei, Shar Pei, shay, slay, sleigh, sley, spae, spay, Spey, splay, spray, stay, straightaway, straightway, strathspey, stray, Sui, survey, sway, Taipei, Tay, they, today, tokay, Torbay, Tournai, trait, tray, trey, two-way, ukiyo-e, underlay, way, waylay, Wei, weigh, wey, Whangarei, whey, yea
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