Definition of pledge in English:

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Pronunciation: /plej/


1A solemn promise or undertaking: [with infinitive]: the conference ended with a joint pledge to limit pollution
More example sentences
  • The solemn pledge taken included an oath swearing to quit the drug habit and to avoid association with former friends and others still involved with drugs.
  • Now, both parties had made a solemn pledge never to do this.
  • Under twinkling lights and shimmering tulle, 150 or so teens in Central Texas made a solemn pledge.
promise, undertaking, vow, word, word of honor, commitment, assurance, oath, guarantee
1.1A promise of a donation to charity: the company’s pledge of 10% of profits to environmental concerns
More example sentences
  • He had charitable pledges and estates fees totaling some $9 million, according to J.P. Morgan sources.
  • So far the charity has received donations and pledges from the public amounting to around £9,200 but needs £50,000 to survive until the next financial year.
  • A total of 402 households have responded through gifts or pledges and the total amount pledged represents more than twice the target figure of 96,170 euro.
1.2 (the pledge) A solemn undertaking to abstain from alcohol: she persuaded Arthur to take the pledge
More example sentences
  • In his homily he urged the young people to remain loyal to the pledge to abstain from alcohol which they were taking, and warned them of the evil effect on society from the use of drugs.
  • Anyone who wishes to take the pledge is requested to attend this meeting.
  • Matt told his doubting mother that he was going to take the pledge.
2 Law A thing that is given as security for the fulfillment of a contract or the payment of a debt and is liable to forfeiture in the event of failure.
Example sentences
  • The sense of the pledge as debt implied by both translations suggests that the vow or promise is predicated on a loss already inscribed in the speech act.
  • The borrower retains ownership of the pledge except on default on the loan, and then the pawnbroker has the opportunity to sell those goods.
  • In the table below, enter the information specific to your Pledge of Security and Loan Agreement.
surety, bond, security, collateral, guarantee, deposit
2.1A thing given as a token of love, favor, or loyalty.
Example sentences
  • As a pledge of his loyalty to them Jaffeir places Belvidera in the charge of their leader, Renault, but without explaining the reason.
  • Li Xiucheng returned, bringing his entire family with him as a pledge of loyalty.
  • Their kisses weren't frantic like they had been before, but rather more pledges of love for one another.
token, symbol, sign, earnest, mark, testimony, proof, evidence
3A person who has promised to join a fraternity or sorority.
Example sentences
  • But Barry himself looks instinctively like a new fraternity pledge who barely made it into the house.
  • For a long time, getting put on the audit committee has been akin to being a pledge in a fraternity who had to scrub toilets and spend hours sitting naked on ice blocks before he become a brother.
  • For example, does this Bridgewater State College pledge, Sigma Pi fraternity, character know that he's googlable?
4 archaic The drinking to a person’s health; a toast.
Example sentences
  • Stand, and let us hear your pledge for the health of our land and people!


1 [with object] Commit (a person or organization) by a solemn promise: [with object and infinitive]: the government pledged itself to deal with environmental problems
More example sentences
  • The ‘reforms’ to which he says he is steadfastly pledged are not reforms at all.
  • For all the speculation about the evil that goes on in these organizations, all of which pledge their members to secrecy, I can assure you nothing nefarious occurs.
  • Then they pledge those three people to making nice-nice to three others, and so on around the world and into outer space.
1.1 [with clause] Formally declare or promise that something is or will be the case: the president pledged that 20,000 government buildings would have solar roofs
More example sentences
  • In-coming President Sean Kelly has pledged that the tournament stays as long as the players want it.
  • She pledged that, as promised on the doorsteps, during the canvass, she would now be going back to talk to people and would be listening to what they had to say.
  • Concerns about the troubled construction and engineering firm have led campus chiefs to pledge that all students promised a room will still be housed in September.
promise, vow, swear, undertake, engage, commit oneself, declare, affirm, avow
1.2 [no object] Solemnly undertake to do something: they pledged to continue the campaign for funding
More example sentences
  • The world will be just as dangerous the day after we have solemnly pledged to ignore its dangers.
  • Not only have reform groups solemnly pledged to bring facts and common sense to the debate, they propose societal acceptance of expanded, legal use of drugs by adults.
  • They originally pledged to continue action for two weeks but ultimately agreed to hold a meeting with Mr. Milloy which took place on Monday, November 15.
1.3Undertake formally to give: Japan pledged $100 million in humanitarian aid to pledge allegiance
More example sentences
  • A total of US $100 million is already pledged to support the participation of poorer countries.
  • To pledge you need the barcode from one of their promotional packs, but no purchase is necessary - you can simply write down the barcode when you're in the supermarket.
  • So he was pledged financial income under commercial cover.
promise (to give), donate, contribute, give, put up
2 [with object] Law Give as security on a loan: the creditor to whom the land is pledged
More example sentences
  • In England it is possible to pledge bearer securities by handing over the certificates themselves.
  • Each called for the periodic restoration of land which had been pledged as security and forfeited for unpaid debt.
  • When the land is pledged for a loan of Rs.500 the oral deal between Shamu's mother and the money lender Lala is that until the loan is paid, one fourth of the harvest will be paid to Lala towards interest.
mortgage, put up as collateral, guarantee, pawn
3 [with object] Promise to join (a fraternity or sorority): Francie and I pledged the same sorority
More example sentences
  • For some, it means pledging a sorority or fraternity.
  • In 1990, the presidents of the eight largest historically Black fraternities and sororities ended pledging.
  • And tomorrow, he's pledging the SBT fraternity.
4 [with object] archaic Drink to the health of.


pledge one's troth

see troth.



Pronunciation: /ˈplejər/
Example sentences
  • If those youths are less likely to use contraceptives at first intercourse, are most of the pledgers putting themselves at greater risk of pregnancy or disease?
  • Even so, the local authority would be aware of the statistics of the American programme, from whence they get their inspiration, and its 88 per cent failure rate amongst pledgers.
  • Virginity pledgers are also less likely to know their STD status - increasing the chances they will infect a partner or suffer long-term health consequences.


Pronunciation: /ˈplejər/
( Law )
Example sentences
  • It will be recalled that a pledge, as it involves the transfer of possession, does not require registration under the Bills of Sale Acts 1878-1891 nor, in the case of a corporate pledgor, the Companies Act 1985, section 396.
  • Under English law, it said, there could be no doubt that a pledgee like the bank might hand back to the pledgor as his agent goods it had pledged for the purposes of sale, without diminishing the power of the security.


Middle English (denoting a person acting as surety for another): from Old French plege, from medieval Latin plevium, perhaps related to the Germanic base of plight1.

  • plight from Old English:

    In the traditional marriage ceremony the bride and groom each say ‘I plight thee my troth’, meaning ‘I pledge my word’. Plight means ‘to promise solemnly’, and pledge (Middle English) is probably a distant relative. Troth is an old variant of truth, meaning ‘giving your word’ and still preserved in betroth (Middle English). The other meaning of plight, ‘a predicament’, is from Old French plit ‘fold’, suggesting the idea of a difficult or complicated situation. Other words from plit include Middle English pliant (Late Middle English) literally ‘foldable’; and pliable (Late Middle English); pliers (mid 16th century) tools for bending things; and ply (Late Middle English) in the sense of ‘thickness’ as in plywood (early 20th century). (The other ply as in ply with drink, is simply a shortening of apply, see appliance). Pleat and plait (Middle English) are further relatives. Compliant (mid 17th century) looks as if it should be a relative, but its immediate source, to comply (early 17th century), originally came from Latin complere ‘to fulfil, accomplish’, although compliant later developed senses influenced by its similarity to pliant.

Words that rhyme with pledge

allege, dredge, edge, fledge, hedge, kedge, ledge, reg, sedge, sledge, veg, wedge

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: pledge

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