Main definitions of engage in English

: engage1engagé2

engage1

verb

  • 1with object Occupy, attract, or involve (someone's interest or attention)

    ‘he plowed on, trying to outline his plans and engage Sutton's attention’
    • ‘It is making waves in the architect's world, not to mention engaging the attention of those looking for solutions to develop in an eco-friendly way.’
    • ‘I don't know her at all and it's not really my kind of thing, but it's just good to see someone who I don't recognise, who engages my interest.’
    • ‘And this morning I managed to engage the attention of my new class of students.’
    • ‘For the first time in years they engaged the interest, even the sympathy, both of the media and the wider public.’
    • ‘Nothing in the newspaper engaged my attention at all.’
    • ‘If any town, city or district is to thrive it needs to engage the interest and enthusiasm of its younger generation.’
    • ‘It will involve engaging their enthusiasm and interest.’
    • ‘Alas, he's too dull to engage any interest at all.’
    • ‘The play area with its ball pit, stuffed toys, comic racks and computer games can surely engage the attention of children irrespective of their ages.’
    • ‘Only an appeal to the broad mass of the people will work and they will only get excited enough to vote if the agenda is radical enough to engage their interest and support.’
    • ‘The film failed to engage my interest for at least two reasons.’
    • ‘How successful are initiatives such as the Youth Parliament in engaging the interest of young people in politics?’
    • ‘It engages the attention - and the funds - of thousands of the most powerful institutional investors round the world.’
    • ‘Spectators had a diverse range of exhibits to engage their attention and sheep dog trials generated considerable interest.’
    • ‘We never know what will engage the interest of our readers.’
    • ‘To engage the interest of a group of fourth formers, he suggested that they build a hovercraft from scratch to enter a national competition.’
    • ‘That committee work appears to have engaged his interest, unlike any actual legislative issue.’
    • ‘I try to bring a little mystery to what might happen, because that engages people more.’
    • ‘It is the themes as much as the plot that engage the interest.’
    • ‘Your web site needs continuous improvement to capture and engage your visitor's attention.’
    • ‘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
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1engage someone in Cause someone to become involved in (a conversation or discussion).
      • ‘We must engage them in discussions that involve their experiences, their questions, and their standards.’
      • ‘My husband requires your presence; he needs you to settle a discussion he is engaged in with the Duke.’
      • ‘Before she could think of another way to engage Gregor in conversation, Maura called them into the kitchen.’
      • ‘Eaton's mother quickly engaged David in conversation, leaving Clara and Eaton on their own.’
      • ‘So we have to engage Beijing in a thorough discussion on this matter.’
      • ‘Anne, being her usual bubbly self, engaged Lady Allenwood in a lively conversation about theatre in general as we traveled the darkened streets of London.’
      • ‘We both tried to engage Ms. Taylor in an informed discussion about developments at the station with no success.’
      • ‘One would also like to engage him in a discussion around the origin of private property rights.’
      • ‘‘I merely expressed what I thought,’ Bill said, going to the other side of the court and engaging George in a conversation.’
      • ‘He could tell that she enjoyed walking through the hallways, not focusing on anything but the conversation she was engaged in with him.’
      • ‘Back upstairs in the ballroom, Vanessa was still trying to engage John Caperston in friendly conversation.’
      • ‘Over several weeks, the two built up a good rapport, with the General often engaging him in conversation over meals he had enjoyed.’
      • ‘He engages Hackett in a critical discussion of Hamlet as well as other Shakespeare plays.’
      • ‘In return he turned his back on her and tried to engage Ron in conversation.’
      • ‘We were standing behind a bunch of boys who instantly engaged Matt in conversation about some underground band or other.’
      • ‘Try as you might to engage Matthew in a conversation, he ends up back with his face in a book.’
      • ‘The atmosphere in the home was quite welcoming and relaxed and the family was quite successful in engaging the boy in the dinner conversation.’
      • ‘‘I'd be happy to engage her in a discussion about the value of advertising.’’
      • ‘I quietly made small talk to fill up the silence, neatly engaging Victoria in conversation and trying to include Zack whenever I could - he was distant and brooding, and ate little, and he still had not told me anything.’
      • ‘John tried to engage him in some lively conversation during the game, but he didn't go for it.’
  • 2engage withno object Participate or become involved in.

    ‘organizations engage in a variety of activities’
    ‘some are actively engaged in crime’
    • ‘I don't think this problem can be solved by engaging in the arms race.’
    • ‘They are engaged in nothing less than an enormous social experiment involving millions of users.’
    • ‘He has worked as a businessman and began engaging in community affairs in the 1980s.’
    • ‘I'm trying to think of what type of festivities I'll be engaging in for my birthday.’
    • ‘Eventually she becomes involved in drugs and engages in various sexual escapades.’
    • ‘The country is engaged in two wars for the survival of its civilization.’
    • ‘He has been actively engaged in an open exchange on what Indonesia is and should be.’
    • ‘Strategically, the US is certainly capable of engaging in multiple operations on a global level.’
    • ‘She referred to a number of donations received during the year, also the successful activities the clients were engaged in.’
    • ‘Please read that newer post before engaging in flights of fancy based on this one.’
    • ‘Religion and politics are apparently the two topics best avoided when engaging in polite conversation.’
    • ‘It's the case of three priests trying to do the work six were engaged in not all that many years ago.’
    • ‘The simple fact is that women prefer the more human touch when engaging in dialogues.’
    • ‘All three companies are actively engaged in the development of safety syringes.’
    • ‘The institute is engaged in research involving the SARS coronavirus.’
    • ‘Some have already signed a peace treaty with them and some have opened offices whilst others are engaging in trade with them.’
    • ‘The judges and the presenter are engaging in a sham to attract more viewers.’
    • ‘Each of the named individuals is a scientist who engages in research involving animals.’
    • ‘Virtually everyone was engaged in actively discussing key legislative and political issues of interest to nurses and nursing.’
    • ‘Marjorie encourages just the sort of travelling that her daughter was engaged in when she died, recognising that such exploration is important for young people.’
    participate in, take part in, join in, become involved in, go in for, partake in, partake of, occupy oneself with, throw oneself into
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1engage with Establish a meaningful contact or connection with.
      ‘the teams needed to engage with local communities’
      • ‘The funds believe that, by engaging with companies using these suppliers, they may be able to influence their behaviour.’
      • ‘He was widely criticized for not engaging with the president, but that turned out to be the correct decision.’
      • ‘He provides a sweeping overview of the period and engages with many of the ideas Europe is struggling with about its future.’
      • ‘One less amateur thespian means one less person engaging with their community through an activity unrelated to earning a living.’
      • ‘One of the plans will be to consider what needs to be done when such orders run out, by engaging with youths and looking at what sorts of facilities are available.’
      • ‘The difficulty facing the computing industry is that technological innovation is necessarily about engaging with uncertainty.’
      • ‘The question is how effectively these private and public spheres are engaging with each other to Scotland's benefit.’
      • ‘Remember when intelligent adults thought engaging with the films of the day was an essential part of life?’
      • ‘There is only one person in the photograph, but it's almost as if there are two, so obviously is the actor engaging with the person behind the camera.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A number of designers are terrific in constructing form but deficient when it comes to engaging with content.’
      • ‘I came away from this show feeling less like I'd been engaging with works of art and more like I'd had a hilarious drunken evening with some mates.’
      • ‘These men go into the poverty - stricken barrios, engaging with the street gangs who are involved daily in ritual violence.’
      • ‘Presenters have a role in engaging with the psyche of the players, and this role is linked to the national psyche in each country in which the show is aired.’
      • ‘Other Scottish companies should go down this route as engaging with local companies is the best way to operate in eastern Europe.’
      • ‘They have got to start seriously engaging with their own MPs and they will not do that just by shouting at us through a megaphone.’
      • ‘They come to be a part of a network of people that they connect with, engage with.’
      • ‘A true artist discovering and engaging with his material world.’
      • ‘It feels like I'm engaging with that process again, but starting from a different place, from songs and not that much improvisation.’
      • ‘He didn't seem to be actually engaging with anyone and his almost total lack of French must have been a disadvantage, but he was hanging out with teenagers.’
  • 3with object Arrange to employ or hire (someone)

    ‘he was engaged as a trainee copywriter’
    • ‘So what they'll do is to basically engage those individuals as casuals, through a labour hire company.’
    • ‘The plaintiffs engaged the defendants as their solicitors to act for them.’
    • ‘Employers are making every effort to increase production without engaging new workers.’
    • ‘At the time of the development, contractors engaged by the Ministry had the right to go on to the land to carry out the operations, but such a licence did not amount to an interest in land.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Many families do not hesitate to engage boys or girls to help with household chores like cleaning the house, cars, and so on.’
    • ‘Seventeen years ago, in 1986, he was engaged as an assistant professor at USF.’
    • ‘That employer engaged other artists to finish the drawings and undertook to publish them on his return to England.’
    • ‘But I am advised that of today, 15 people are currently engaged as temporary constables.’
    • ‘On his return to Madrid in 1764, he was engaged as an assistant to the court painter, Anton Mengs.’
    • ‘As representatives of the new forms of industrial capital, modern manufacturers were engaging increasing numbers of factory workers to produce their products.’
    • ‘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.’
    employ, hire, recruit, take on, take into employment, secure the services of, put on the payroll, enrol, appoint, commission, enlist
    View synonyms
    1. 3.1with infinitive Pledge or enter into a contract to do something.
      ‘he engaged to pay them $10,000 against a bond’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘And just what consortium of companies and yards that prime contractor will then engage to do the construction remains to be seen.’
      • ‘It is easier to establish the work to be done by the contractors engaged to build the Highland roads and the Glasgow-Carlisle road.’
      • ‘Cowboys Ltd are engaged to transport a racehorse, Diana, belonging to Sam Sloane.’
      • ‘A number of other equitable principles might well be engaged to achieve a result.’
      • ‘It is a case where there was a gift to a person who was engaged to be married and a gift to someone else until that happy event occurred.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In addition, Mrs Gallagher, we discover, is engaged to be married and has another property to go to.’
      • ‘Between eight and 13 identifiable people could have been engaged to perform these duties.’
      • ‘John, who is the son of James, is engaged to be married to Janet.’
      • ‘[A solicitor] may be engaged to perform tasks which are connected with the running of the affairs of his principal.’
      • ‘His duties are defined by the terms of the agreed retainer.… the solicitor has only to expend time and effort in what he has been engaged to do and for which the client has agreed to pay.’
      contract, promise, agree, pledge, vow, covenant, commit oneself, bind oneself, undertake, enter into an agreement, reach an agreement, negotiate a deal
      View synonyms
    2. 3.2dated Reserve (accommodations, a place, etc.) in advance.
      ‘he had engaged a small sailboat’
      • ‘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.’
      hire, lease, rent, pay for the use of, book, reserve
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  • 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 ‘he engaged the gears and pulled out into the road’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I found a big sweet spot where the clutch lets the gears engage after raising the pedal a few inches.’
    • ‘The Patrol has a part-time, four-wheel drive system, which can be engaged on the move at speeds up to 40 kph.’
    interlock, interconnect, mesh, intermesh, fit together, join together, join, unite, connect, yoke, mate, couple
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  • 5with object (of fencers or swordsmen) bring (weapons) together preparatory to fighting.

    • ‘Watch out for their weapons, and engage each respectively.’
    • ‘Engage your brain before you engage your weapon.’
    • ‘Suddenly he lunged and engaged his opponent's sword.’
    • ‘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.’
    1. 5.1 Enter into conflict or combat with (an enemy).
      • ‘The crewmembers of all three maneuvered their combat systems to a position of advantage and engaged the enemy with devastating results.’
      • ‘Retreating subunits will inevitably be engaged by the enemy's enveloping, raiding, air-mobile, or commando forces.’
      • ‘Critics are quick to point to the coalition's adherence to the law of armed combat as a reason for the coalition's inability to engage the enemy as necessary.’
      • ‘Deploying, the riflemen heavily engaged the enemy on both sides of the road.’
      • ‘Mongol commanders would also send portions of their force well past and around the enemy lines while the main body engaged the enemy army.’
      • ‘Ambushes were set either on one side of the road, or both when the road was elevated, allowing the enemy to engage coalition forces without firing into each other.’
      • ‘In the course of a defensive operation, subunits can be used to engage the enemy's tactical air assault force as an anti-airborne assault reserve.’
      • ‘While patrolling narrow streets, it is nearly impossible to safely traverse the entire turret to engage enemy forces.’
      • ‘Armed militiamen engaged the occupation forces and fighting continued for hours.’
      • ‘Then, snapped out of their awe, the terrorists and commandos begin engaging each other.’
      • ‘Early entry forces will likely enter theaters through populated urban centers, engaging enemies using asymmetrical means.’
      • ‘During World War II, only 15 to 20 percent of U.S. infantrymen engaged the enemy with direct fire.’
      • ‘The problem seems to be that when you direct your forces to attack an enemy unit, they believe that they should attack that specific unit rather than engage the enemy force as a whole.’
      • ‘By exercising strict target discipline, soldiers engaged guerrillas from longer distances in relative safety.’
      • ‘They can also combine with the scout platoon to engage enemy targets for hasty attacks and ambushes.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘‘They learned how to use weapons, map reading and battle tactics to engage the enemy during combat,’ said Brig.’
      • ‘Our soldiers engaged hostile enemies in combat, preserved peace on strange frontiers and symbolized American values both at home and abroad.’
      • ‘By the 12th century the nobility began to stage tournaments in which knights engaged each other in battle in order to prove their skill, courage and honor.’
      • ‘U.S. forces also engaged the enemy in a firefight and bombarded a secret drug laboratory on January 6.’
      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
      View synonyms

Origin

Late Middle English (formerly also as ingage): from French engager, ultimately from the base of gage. 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’.

Pronunciation

Main definitions of engage in English

: engage1engagé2

engagé2

adjective

  • (of a writer, artist, or their works) morally committed to a particular aim or cause.

    • ‘This year marks the centenary of the birth of Jean-Paul Sartre, the great philosopher of existentialism and a definitive model of the intellectual engagé.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He makes even grander claims on their behalf, likening them to engagé European intellectuals such as Albert Camus.’
    • ‘Schlesinger, who remains almost the ideal example of the intellectual engagé, greatly admired Richard Hofstadter and Lionel Trilling, who always retained their detachment.’
    • ‘These views were in line with Pirenne's personality as a ‘historian engagé, son of his time, nationalistic, liberal, bourgeois, optimistic…: who saw history as a record of progress driven by urbanisation, trade and capitalism’.’
    • ‘Born in Vermont in 1859, Dewey was a forerunner of the celebrity academic, the engagé intellectual.’
    devout, devoted, loyal, dedicated, faithful, staunch, firm, steadfast, resolute, unwavering, sincere, wholehearted, keen, earnest, enthusiastic, zealous, passionate, ardent, fervent, motivated, driven, active, sworn, pledged
    View synonyms

Origin

French, past participle of engager (see engage).

Pronunciation

engagé

/ˌäNGɡäˈZHā//ˌɑŋɡɑˈʒeɪ/