Definition of engagement in US English:



  • 1A formal agreement to get married.

    • ‘Mills was briefly married in 1989 and called off another engagement in 1999.’
    • ‘They could have ten birthdays, an engagement and two weddings all taking place within a seven-day period.’
    • ‘She says that because there was no formal engagement, he has broken no promise.’
    • ‘Here, Chris meets a married York couple who celebrate the second anniversary of their engagement today.’
    • ‘The families then arranged the engagement and marriage.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Their engagement was announced on July 10, 1947 when the princess was 21.’
    • ‘It contained the two rings - one given to her almost 60 years ago on her engagement and the other for her 50th birthday.’
    • ‘It didn't take her long to get over her broken engagement with Malcom.’
    • ‘After the couple's July engagement in Michael's Nice home in the South of France everything seemed rosy.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The family of the glamour model had arranged a private party to celebrate her engagement to him, on board their Caribbean cruise liner.’
    • ‘The airport staff were very kind in sending us a bottle of champagne the following day for our engagement, which we greatly appreciated.’
    • ‘I don't have a ring yet, because we decided it wasn't a formal engagement yet.’
    • ‘Congratulations to Paul and Anita on their engagement on New Year's Eve.’
    • ‘And it won't be a formal engagement, at least not until I can get a ring.’
    • ‘They had finally put the public grudge to rest when the engagement was announced.’
    • ‘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.’
    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’
      • ‘And the engagement promises to be deeper and longer-lasting than anyone ever imagined.’
      • ‘We separated twice in the duration of our engagement.’
      • ‘People usually marry after a period of formal engagement that can last several years.’
      • ‘Apparently their society demanded a year long engagements, and this couple were newlyweds on their honeymoon.’
  • 2An arrangement to do something or go somewhere at a fixed time.

    ‘a dinner engagement’
    • ‘This did not help poor Sam who had a dinner engagement at 8.30 pm at Lancaster, hope she made it.’
    • ‘I have a dinner engagement in ten minutes, and I still need to go home first.’
    • ‘I headed off for our dinner engagement where I waited in vain for my dear husband to arrive.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Douglas has been involved in a busy range of engagements in his first month in the office.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The Princess Royal has also cancelled all official engagements so she can be at Windsor to comfort the Queen.’
    • ‘Then we have about 30 engagements a year, which can involve a lot of travelling.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She was still carrying out 50 engagements a year at the age of 100.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He had just returned from a dinner engagement with his sister and family.’
    • ‘Due to appear in court, she chose instead to fulfil a speaking engagement at the public hall.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He has cancelled all his civic engagements for the remainder of the week.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    appointment, arrangement, commitment, meeting, tweetup, interview, consultation, session
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  • 3The action of engaging or being engaged.

    ‘Britain's continued engagement in open trading’
    ‘the engagement of the gears’
    • ‘We need to develop community responsibility and civic engagement in young people.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Besides my amusement in actually relating a current writing to Plato, I think the column astutely voices a deficiency of student engagement in classes.’
    • ‘The two sides agreed on the need for full engagement in the European project and a close alliance with the US.’
    • ‘The project seeks to increase understanding of contemporary art and to facilitate engagement with the arts in the workplace.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘But it does require far more engagement with the world and reality.’
    • ‘The two objectives of the model are to improve services and promote community engagement.’
    • ‘Their thinking cannot be based on wide reading or a deep and sustained engagement with issues.’
    • ‘Who would blame them for resisting engagement in this project?’
    • ‘It mirrored the lack of engagement in last year's US presidential elections.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Q7 Is there anything further about participation and engagement in democracy you would like to add?’
    • ‘Either way, Sweden should move towards a more constructive engagement in the process of European integration.’
    • ‘The National Party also seems to be shying away from constructive engagement on such important issues.’
    • ‘Intuitively, one would expect to find a significant correlation between employee engagement and what a business produces.’
    • ‘A substantial body of research now proves student satisfaction and engagement in learning increase with participation in the arts.’
    • ‘What we also have is a lack of interest and engagement in formal politics.’
    • ‘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 first engagement of the Civil War was fought on 21 July 1861 at the first Battle of Bull Run.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Rapid simultaneous engagement of the enemy will not always result in the simultaneous cessation of all hostilities.’
    • ‘The postwar operations will also require heavy engagement of Army forces for an unknown period of time.’
    • ‘Extending the conclusion of losing battles, engagements and fire fights can salvage some benefits in the greater campaign.’
    • ‘The goal of precision engagement of ground targets from aircraft has a long history.’
    • ‘In the early morning hours of November 13, 1942, two naval forces fought one of the fiercest engagements of World War II.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘As this country's land-fighting component, the Army has needed and employed interpreters in every engagement throughout its history.’
    • ‘The fight for Little Round Top is certainly one of the most written about tactical engagements in the Civil War.’
    • ‘Cavalry engagements fought in mud proved very costly and from a military point of view, hopeless.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, preparations for military engagement in the Persian Gulf continue.’
    • ‘He fought in most major engagements of the Mexican war.’
    • ‘Over the course of his tour of duty, Price participated in 23 battles and engagements.’
    • ‘It is at this level that actual engagements and battles occur.’
    • ‘The division performs major tactical operations for the corps and can conduct sustained battles and engagements.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Armed conflicts have sparked many innovations in the system of effective engagement of the enemy by fire.’
    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).