Definition of pledge in English:



  • 1A solemn promise or undertaking.

    [with infinitive] ‘the conference ended with a joint pledge to limit pollution’
    • ‘This must be a solemn pledge secure in the knowledge that in serving the best interests of children, one serves the best interests of all humanity.’
    • ‘Would you sign a pledge to limit the number of flights you take each year?’
    • ‘As part of their membership, each scout has to make a pledge and promise to do duty to God, their country and others.’
    • ‘We had shaken on it, writing it down as a solemn pledge against dating one boy.’
    • ‘The conclusion is a pressing exhortation to Catholics to be discerning, and a pledge to undertake a critical dialogue with those affected by New Age influences.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Concurrently, they were making solemn pledges that they had no intention to do so.’
    • ‘That should be a solemn pledge for anyone who works in the space program, he said.’
    • ‘Unity was the work of leaders, he said, adding: ‘This is my solemn pledge: I will work to build a single nation of justice and opportunity.’’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The court remonstrated that the edict did away with the last vestiges of its authority despite solemn pledges of previous kings.’
    • ‘After the poll is over, the promises and pledges will be shelved and the program of big business will prevail no matter what its impact on working people.’
    • ‘Does it seem to you that Americans are particularly fond of symbols and pledges and oaths?’
    • ‘Underfunding the United Nations seems both unwise, and contrary to solemn pledges.’
    • ‘In amongst this vast morass of loosely worded pledges was an absolute gem, a truly marvellous item, something which we've been waiting for far too long to see on the statute books.’
    • ‘Just bear with me as I stand aside to raise my hand and utter a solemn pledge that the following paragraph will make more sense than the first.’
    • ‘The boys took a solemn pledge at a nondescript hockey stadium in Poland.’
    • ‘They have given me their solemn pledge, and I hope that they will be able to resist the many temptations around them.’
    • ‘There have been persistent reports by the Director General of violations of Iran's nuclear pledges, its promises and commitments and its treaty obligations.’
    promise, undertaking, vow, word, word of honour, commitment, assurance, oath, covenant, bond, agreement, guarantee, warrant
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A promise of a donation to charity.
      ‘the company's pledge of 10% of profits to environmental concerns’
      • ‘I have set up a PayPal account specifically for donations and pledges.’
      • ‘In addition to that money, the Trust has now received more than £200,000 of donations and pledges towards the target.’
      • ‘He had charitable pledges and estates fees totaling some $9 million, according to J.P. Morgan sources.’
      • ‘But with most big pledges made, further donations were expected to slow to a trickle.’
      • ‘A further £30,000 will be added to the total if pledges made then are realised now.’
      • ‘With pledges and donations throughout the day he has raised £140 but hopes the amount will increase.’
      • ‘On that night, the velodrome will be welcoming donations and pledges for Dave's rehab, prosthetics and education.’
      • ‘During the show many people of prominence and film and singing stars will be on hand to receive phone calls and accept pledges of donations.’
      • ‘Eighty firms responded, and although half expressed a serious intent to meet pledges, they acknowledged they could not give a guarantee about the future.’
      • ‘An hour later Abe turns to his wife and asks, ‘Esther, did we pay our charity pledge cheque to Beth Shalom Synagogue yet?’’
      • ‘The Trust has received more than £225,000 in donations and pledges towards its fund-raising target of £500,000.’
      • ‘According to Associated Press, the US and other nations were expected to announce pledges totalling $4.5 billion at the London meeting.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Others had made pledges but not actual donations.’
      • ‘The money is a welcome boost to the donations and pledges of cash already made since the appeal's launch in September.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Donations and pledges from fans neared £13,000.’
      • ‘Despite the pledges and promises of money, none had actually materialised.’
      • ‘Additional pledges and donations are actively sought and encouraged.’
      • ‘Bath rugby players joined them at their Trowbridge offices to take pledges for the charity.’
    2. 1.2A solemn undertaking to abstain from alcohol.
      ‘she persuaded Arthur to take the pledge’
      • ‘Matt told his doubting mother that he was going to take the pledge.’
      • ‘Anyone who wishes to take the pledge is requested to attend this meeting.’
      • ‘Both boys had taken the pledge and didn't drink.’
      • ‘At the end of the school year in June there will be a special Mass of Commitment during which the children will have an opportunity to take a pledge to abstain from harmful drugs and alcoholic drink.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Like the first taste of scotch to a former alcoholic who breaks the pledge, what followed was a raging thirst for everything and anything western.’
      • ‘Gary Locke, in a valedictory to the judiciary, on Monday urged judges to take the pledge against drinking in public - or at least to hold themselves to a single drink.’
      • ‘Ministers at one time had to take a pledge not to drink, encouraging their congregations to do likewise.’
  • 2Law
    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.

    • ‘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, pawn
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    1. 2.1A thing given as a token of love, favor, or loyalty.
      • ‘Li Xiucheng returned, bringing his entire family with him as a pledge of loyalty.’
      • ‘As a pledge of his loyalty to them Jaffeir places Belvidera in the charge of their leader, Renault, but without explaining the reason.’
      • ‘Their kisses weren't frantic like they had been before, but rather more pledges of love for one another.’
      token, symbol, sign, mark, testimony, proof, evidence, badge
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  • 3US A person who has promised to join a fraternity or sorority.

    • ‘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?’
    • ‘But Barry himself looks instinctively like a new fraternity pledge who barely made it into the house.’
    • ‘One of them would be in charge of pledge recruitment, and the other would be set loose on sorority row to set up weekend parties.’
  • 4archaic The drinking to a person's health; a toast.

    • ‘Stand, and let us hear your pledge for the health of our land and people!’
    tribute, salute, salutation
    View synonyms


  • 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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘But we commit and pledge our best efforts to finding a way to make it work.’
    • ‘The Bishop of Salisbury, the Right Reverend David Stancliffe, has pledged his wholehearted support to an appeal launched by Oxfam.’
    • ‘We are at war, but against no nation; we have an enemy, but it wears no uniform; we are pledged to victory, but may not recognise it when it is achieved.’
    • ‘The king watches over the whole kingdom and the people cry to him and pledge him allegiance meaning that they have light in their hearts until the end of days.’
    • ‘Then they pledge those three people to making nice-nice to three others, and so on around the world and into outer space.’
    • ‘Italy has pledged troops, ships and fighter jets, although no Italian military contingent has left for the front.’
    • ‘In contrast, an average of $250 per person was pledged to the citizens of Bosnia, East Timor, Kosovo and Rwanda.’
    • ‘They pledged doctors, medical supplies, financial aid, and rescuers with sniffer dogs and equipment to locate survivors.’
    • ‘Those who had already pledged him their votes spent last week looking at their shoes.’
    • ‘They also selflessly pledged themselves to undertake great sacrifices for the cause of their country.’
    • ‘United Nations members are pledged to collective security, i.e. to protecting any member nation from aggression at the hands of another.’
    • ‘The ‘reforms’ to which he says he is steadfastly pledged are not reforms at all.’
    • ‘Various countries pledged soldiers, bases and funds to the war in Afghanistan.’
    • ‘In a centuries-old tradition some village parents pledge a young daughter to the goddess Yalluma.’
    • ‘Virginia and Tennessee had 151 pledged delegates at stake.’
    • ‘Ministers are also consulting on plans to copy citizenship ceremonies in Australia and Canada, where citizens are encouraged to take part in ceremonies pledging their allegiance to their country.’
    • ‘He also pledged four fighter aircraft, three frigates and two refueling aircraft.’
    • ‘Half a million immigrants pledge their allegiance to the United States each year.’
    • ‘The others co-defendants stood up, pledging allegiance to him.’
    • ‘Both France and Germany have pledged elite troops, but the US has not yet taken up their offer.’
    1. 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’
      • ‘News reports also cited Russian officials as pledging that elections for a new Chechen president would take place within four months, as called for in the republic's constitution.’
      • ‘Some politicians, declaring themselves to be servants of the people, have pledged that they would be like faithful dogs.’
      • ‘McConnell has pledged that pre-school children will not receive sex education and that the morning-after pill will not be handed out in schools.’
      • ‘Dr Nelson announced the $6million pilot program in May, pledging that families with children who struggle to read and write in Year 3 would secure assistance.’
      • ‘In November Roosevelt conveniently won re-election to an unprecedented third presidential term, while pledging that the USA would not go to war.’
      • ‘In-coming President Sean Kelly has pledged that the tournament stays as long as the players want it.’
      • ‘He's pledged to continue to improve services so that customers get a better deal in the future.’
      • ‘Pembrokeshire County Council will be redoubling its efforts to market the second call centre building, pledged its leader, Councillor Maurice Hughes.’
      • ‘He must now seriously consider if September 13, the date he pledged to unilaterally declare independence, really is worth heralding as the momentous deadline.’
      • ‘Contractors pledge that disruption will be kept to a minimum, following widespread complaints during the last excavation.’
      • ‘World football chiefs have given the go-ahead for a single UK football team to be picked to compete in the Olympic games, pledging that it will not endanger the future of the Scotland squad.’
      • ‘Levett pledged nurses would be on the resistance's frontline.’
      • ‘He also called on rich countries to pledge that more than half of the new aid promised at the Monterrey Conference in March will go to Africa.’
      • ‘At midnight tomorrow a deadline set by the US for countries to sign an agreement pledging that they will never hand over any of its citizens to the court will expire.’
      • ‘She had one week to ensure the wages were paid or to pledge that the contractor would not be given any more business.’
      • ‘During the election campaign in 1964, Ayub Khan had pledged that if elected to the post of president he would remove corruption from all spheres of life.’
      • ‘Mayor Martin Winter has pledged no member of staff at the current schools will be without a job as a result of the changes.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Moreover, Iceland has pledged the consumer will not have to pay more for organic products, which are usually more expensive.’
      promise, give one's word, vow, swear, give an assurance, give an undertaking, undertake, take an oath, swear an oath, engage, contract, commit oneself, bind oneself, declare, affirm, avow, state
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2[no object]Solemnly undertake to do something.
      ‘they pledged to continue the campaign for funding’
      • ‘But he will need more than semantics to see him through this one the more so as he is pledged to cut the public spending increase to single digits by 2004 and onwards.’
      • ‘This organization is pledged to work for justice in the church and for the implementation of due process procedures.’
      • ‘The world will be just as dangerous the day after we have solemnly pledged to ignore its dangers.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘On one hand, I am pledged to be an advocate for the patient's best interests.’
      • ‘He was also pledged to be married soon, after all.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He is also pledged to get rid of the secrecy that seems to bedevil things going on at the Town Hall.’
      • ‘But let's not throw sticks at her - she's pledged to become part of the order, rather than the chaos of society.’
      • ‘Well, I'm pledged to build this Green Party effort and to get more candidates at the local, state and national level, yes.’
      • ‘Whereby all men were pledged to defend the rights of each man, and each man to defend the rights of all men.’
      • ‘City centre officers are also pledged to have more of an impact on cycle thefts and on cyclists riding in restricted areas.’
      • ‘These are the international legal structures in place and we are pledged to abide by them.’
      • ‘We are pledged to creating one million new homeowners by 2009.’
      • ‘He was pledged to withdraw 1300 Spanish troops from Iraq.’
      • ‘As a bishop, she is pledged to uphold church law and file charges against pastors who openly defy it.’
      • ‘He's pledged to execute every family that will not bend a knee to him.’
      • ‘Yet still, Americans are stationed in Europe and Americans are still pledged to risk their blood and treasure in Europe's defense.’
      • ‘But how best we secure the reform and additional investment that are vital if we are to deliver to the people we are pledged to serve.’
      • ‘He seems obsessed with the quick hit, his strategies geared more to press conferences than to long-term, practical solutions to the stuff he's pledged to protect us from.’
    3. 1.3Undertake formally to give.
      ‘Japan pledged $100 million in humanitarian aid’
      ‘to pledge allegiance’
      • ‘Japan has pledged to donate $250 million in reconstruction assistance in the first year.’
      • ‘An earlier forecast of aid to be pledged at the conference was also put at $3 billion.’
      • ‘The UN says $1.2bn in aid has been pledged so far, for about five million survivors.’
      • ‘The $3.7 billion pledged by donors will be just enough to sustain current programmes.’
      • ‘Less than half of the $5 billion pledged at an international donors conference for Afghanistan has turned up.’
      • ‘Transport bosses have pledged more cash for police patrols to protect passengers on night bus services in Manchester.’
      • ‘A spokesman for the Department of Transport said the government had already pledged cash to support the three planned extensions.’
      • ‘The IOC has pledged US $25 million to fund the agency's first year.’
      • ‘Donors pledged more than $4.5 billion for rebuilding the shattered country at the gathering on Monday and Tuesday.’
      • ‘Secondly, he pledged more money for flood defences.’
      • ‘Tokyo has pledged US $5 billion in new grants and loans by 2007 for reconstruction.’
      • ‘"You hear of all this money being pledged by the government for education.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘His company has already pledged a donation of " several thousand pounds".’
      • ‘So he was pledged financial income under commercial cover.’
      • ‘Foreign countries have pledged US $4.5 billion in aid to rebuild Sri Lanka.’
      undertake to give, donate, contribute, give, make a gift of, put oneself down for, put up
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  • 2Law
    [with object] Give as security on a loan.

    ‘the creditor to whom the land is pledged’
    • ‘Each called for the periodic restoration of land which had been pledged as security and forfeited for unpaid debt.’
    • ‘In England it is possible to pledge bearer securities by handing over the certificates themselves.’
    • ‘The courts therefore ruled that wives could pledge their husbands' credit for ‘necessaries’ but not for luxuries.’
    • ‘The manager says in his statement that those shares had been pledged as security for another loan.’
    • ‘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
    View synonyms
  • 3US [with object] Promise to join (a fraternity or sorority)

    ‘Francie and I pledged the same sorority’
    • ‘And tomorrow, he's pledging the SBT fraternity.’
    • ‘It's like pledging a fraternity and going through basic training at the same time.’
    • ‘When I was in college, one of the girls in my dorm was pledging a sorority and happened to mention that she was going to a big frat party.’
    • ‘If your school has Greek life, consider rushing… even if you don't end up pledging you'll still meet a bunch of people.’
    • ‘For some, it means pledging a sorority or fraternity.’
    • ‘In 1990, the presidents of the eight largest historically Black fraternities and sororities ended pledging.’
    • ‘It's about a mess of girls living together in one house while they wait to pledge a Sorority.’
    • ‘As the President of the George Washington chapter of Tau Mu, I would like to formally invite both of you to pledge our fraternity.’
    • ‘She already knows which sorority she wants to pledge Freshman year of college, and thinks Creed is ‘a little too hardcore for me.’’
  • 4archaic [with object] Drink to the health of.


  • pledge one's troth


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 plight.