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engage (v.)

early 15c., "to pledge" (something, as security for payment), from Old French engagier "bind (by promise or oath), pledge; pawn" (12c.), from phrase en gage "under pledge," from en "in" (see en- (1)) + gage "pledge," through Frankish from Proto-Germanic *wadiare "pledge" (see wed). It shows the common evolution of Germanic -w- to central French -g- (see gu-).

Meaning "attract and occupy the attention of" is from 1640s; that of "employ, secure for aid, employment or use" is from 1640s, from notion of "binding as by a pledge;" meaning "enter into combat or contest with" is from 1640s. Specific sense of "promise to marry" is 1610s (implied in engaged). Machinery sense is from 1884. Also from the French word are German engagiren, Dutch engageren, Danish engagere.

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Definitions of engage from WordNet

engage (v.)
carry out or participate in an activity; be involved in;
They engaged in a discussion
Synonyms: prosecute / pursue
engage (v.)
consume all of one's attention or time;
Synonyms: absorb / engross / occupy
engage (v.)
engage or hire for work;
Synonyms: hire / employ
engage (v.)
ask to represent; of legal counsel;
engage (v.)
give to in marriage;
Synonyms: betroth / affiance / plight
engage (v.)
get caught;
make sure the gear is engaged
engage (v.)
carry on (wars, battles, or campaigns);
Synonyms: wage
engage (v.)
hire for work or assistance;
engage aid, help, services, or support
Synonyms: enlist
engage (v.)
engage for service under a term of contract;
Synonyms: lease / rent / hire / charter / take
engage (v.)
keep engaged;
engaged the gears
Synonyms: mesh / lock / operate
From wordnet.princeton.edu