Definition of engagement in English:



  • 1A formal agreement to get married.

    ‘she'd broken off her engagement to Paul’
    • ‘It didn't take her long to get over her broken engagement with Malcom.’
    • ‘Having been governess to Princess Elizabeth from an early age until her engagement to Prince Philip, she left the royal household and wrote a book about her experiences.’
    • ‘And it won't be a formal engagement, at least not until I can get a ring.’
    • ‘It contained the two rings - one given to her almost 60 years ago on her engagement and the other for her 50th birthday.’
    • ‘Congratulations to Olive and Edmond, who announced their engagement over the Christmas period.’
    • ‘Engagement Congratulations to Tracy and Colin who announced their engagement on New Year's Day.’
    • ‘They could have ten birthdays, an engagement and two weddings all taking place within a seven-day period.’
    • ‘Here, Chris meets a married York couple who celebrate the second anniversary of their engagement today.’
    • ‘She says that because there was no formal engagement, he has broken no promise.’
    • ‘The family of the glamour model had arranged a private party to celebrate her engagement to him, on board their Caribbean cruise liner.’
    • ‘Congratulations to Paul and Anita on their engagement on New Year's Eve.’
    • ‘After the couple's July engagement in Michael's Nice home in the South of France everything seemed rosy.’
    • ‘The airport staff were very kind in sending us a bottle of champagne the following day for our engagement, which we greatly appreciated.’
    • ‘They had finally put the public grudge to rest when the engagement was announced.’
    • ‘I don't have a ring yet, because we decided it wasn't a formal engagement yet.’
    • ‘The families then arranged the engagement and marriage.’
    • ‘Mills was briefly married in 1989 and called off another engagement in 1999.’
    • ‘Their engagement was announced on July 10, 1947 when the princess was 21.’
    • ‘Today also marks the date of his engagement to Hilary - who is also a lollipop lady - and they will celebrate their ruby wedding anniversary on December 29.’
    betrothal, betrothment, marriage contract
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    1. 1.1 The duration of an agreement to get married.
      ‘a good long engagement to give you time to be sure’
      • ‘Apparently their society demanded a year long engagements, and this couple were newlyweds on their honeymoon.’
      • ‘And the engagement promises to be deeper and longer-lasting than anyone ever imagined.’
      • ‘People usually marry after a period of formal engagement that can last several years.’
      • ‘We separated twice in the duration of our engagement.’
  • 2An arrangement to do something or go somewhere at a fixed time.

    ‘a dinner engagement’
    • ‘Douglas has been involved in a busy range of engagements in his first month in the office.’
    • ‘Due to appear in court, she chose instead to fulfil a speaking engagement at the public hall.’
    • ‘He has cancelled all his civic engagements for the remainder of the week.’
    • ‘While the site offers several corporate suits of a Western nature, it is largely devoted to attire a Hindu gentleman would wear to formal engagements.’
    • ‘The two of us had a dinner engagement later that night, and I was about to suggest our departure when we reached a standstill in both our conversation and our walking path.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, the 80-year-old actress was forced to cancel her engagement the day before due to illness, leaving organisers just hours to find a suitable replacement.’
    • ‘He does speaking engagements to inform people about his experiences in the army.’
    • ‘Later that day he had another engagement, where he was going to plant a tree in the school of another finalist in the competition.’
    • ‘I have a dinner engagement in ten minutes, and I still need to go home first.’
    • ‘Then we have about 30 engagements a year, which can involve a lot of travelling.’
    • ‘She was still carrying out 50 engagements a year at the age of 100.’
    • ‘As well as their sightseeing the girls have also been invited to a host of formal engagements including a reception in the Irish Embassy with the Irish Ambassador and a reception for the delegates by the President of Finland.’
    • ‘This week is full up with appointments and social engagements, I'm sure of it, but I can hardly remember any specifics, my diary unhelpfully empty.’
    • ‘The charity currently has 24 drivers on its rota to carry out the 200 plus requests for transport to hospital and doctors' appointments, social engagements and shopping expeditions.’
    • ‘The Princess Royal has also cancelled all official engagements so she can be at Windsor to comfort the Queen.’
    • ‘He had just returned from a dinner engagement with his sister and family.’
    • ‘I headed off for our dinner engagement where I waited in vain for my dear husband to arrive.’
    • ‘This did not help poor Sam who had a dinner engagement at 8.30 pm at Lancaster, hope she made it.’
    • ‘The annual St George's Day parade was her first weekend of public engagements since the end of the official period of mourning following the death of the Queen Mother and the memorial service for Princess Margaret.’
    appointment, arrangement, commitment, meeting, tweetup, interview, consultation, session
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  • 3mass noun The action of engaging or being engaged.

    ‘Britain's continued engagement in open trading’
    • ‘Besides my amusement in actually relating a current writing to Plato, I think the column astutely voices a deficiency of student engagement in classes.’
    • ‘It mirrored the lack of engagement in last year's US presidential elections.’
    • ‘It's about empowerment, informed decision-making and engagement in democratic processes.’
    • ‘The historical implies not so much an engagement with the artistic past as with the unfolding quality and specificity of events in time.’
    • ‘The two objectives of the model are to improve services and promote community engagement.’
    • ‘What we also have is a lack of interest and engagement in formal politics.’
    • ‘Intuitively, one would expect to find a significant correlation between employee engagement and what a business produces.’
    • ‘Mutual obligation is therefore seen as a social or political value that can be enforced without reference to whether it involves engagement in a reciprocal economy.’
    • ‘Q7 Is there anything further about participation and engagement in democracy you would like to add?’
    • ‘The National Party also seems to be shying away from constructive engagement on such important issues.’
    • ‘We need to develop community responsibility and civic engagement in young people.’
    • ‘A substantial body of research now proves student satisfaction and engagement in learning increase with participation in the arts.’
    • ‘The two sides agreed on the need for full engagement in the European project and a close alliance with the US.’
    • ‘But it does require far more engagement with the world and reality.’
    • ‘China's engagement in space scientific experiments and technical tests is entirely out of peaceful purpose, it also represents a contribution to the science of humanity and to the cause of peace.’
    • ‘Either way, Sweden should move towards a more constructive engagement in the process of European integration.’
    • ‘Their thinking cannot be based on wide reading or a deep and sustained engagement with issues.’
    • ‘The project seeks to increase understanding of contemporary art and to facilitate engagement with the arts in the workplace.’
    • ‘Who would blame them for resisting engagement in this project?’
    • ‘The report looked at declining levels of engagement in the political process as well as press and broadcast news.’
    participation, participating, taking part, sharing, partaking, involvement, association
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  • 4A fight or battle between armed forces.

    ‘the war's most significant engagements were fought to keep these sea lanes open’
    • ‘The postwar operations will also require heavy engagement of Army forces for an unknown period of time.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, preparations for military engagement in the Persian Gulf continue.’
    • ‘The first engagement of the Civil War was fought on 21 July 1861 at the first Battle of Bull Run.’
    • ‘Australia currently has a very modest military capability in terms of supporting foreign engagements of large numbers of troops on the ground for a prolonged period.’
    • ‘It is mostly in use where the case in point is organizing combined effective engagement of the enemy or planning employment of air defense forces and assets.’
    • ‘Over the course of his tour of duty, Price participated in 23 battles and engagements.’
    • ‘Rapid simultaneous engagement of the enemy will not always result in the simultaneous cessation of all hostilities.’
    • ‘Armed conflicts have sparked many innovations in the system of effective engagement of the enemy by fire.’
    • ‘In the early morning hours of November 13, 1942, two naval forces fought one of the fiercest engagements of World War II.’
    • ‘Cavalry engagements fought in mud proved very costly and from a military point of view, hopeless.’
    • ‘The division performs major tactical operations for the corps and can conduct sustained battles and engagements.’
    • ‘This year marks the 200th anniversary of a naval engagement that affected the balance of power from the Atlantic to the Far East - the Battle of Trafalgar.’
    • ‘Extending the conclusion of losing battles, engagements and fire fights can salvage some benefits in the greater campaign.’
    • ‘As this country's land-fighting component, the Army has needed and employed interpreters in every engagement throughout its history.’
    • ‘It is at this level that actual engagements and battles occur.’
    • ‘The enduring peace between Israel and Egypt is a testament to security and stability through effective military engagement.’
    • ‘All have generated more violence and widened the circle of killing far beyond the formal engagement of armed men on both sides.’
    • ‘He fought in most major engagements of the Mexican war.’
    • ‘The goal of precision engagement of ground targets from aircraft has a long history.’
    • ‘The fight for Little Round Top is certainly one of the most written about tactical engagements in the Civil War.’
    battle, fight, clash, confrontation, encounter, conflict, struggle, skirmish, dogfight, affray, attack, assault, offensive
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Early 17th century (in the general sense ‘a legal or moral obligation’): French, from engager ‘to pledge’ (see engage).