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pledge (n.)

mid-14c., "surety, bail," from Old French plege (Modern French pleige) "hostage, security, bail," probably from Frankish *plegan "to guarantee," from *pleg-, a West Germanic root meaning "have responsibility for" (source also of Old Saxon plegan "vouch for," Middle Dutch plien "to answer for, guarantee," Old High German pflegan "to care for, be accustomed to," Old English pleon "to risk the loss of, expose to danger"), from PIE root *dlegh- "to engage oneself, be or become fixed."

Meaning "allegiance vow attested by drinking with another" is from 1630s. Sense of "solemn promise" first recorded 1814, though this notion is from 16c. in the verb. Weekley notes the "curious contradiction" in pledge (v.) "to toast with a drink" (1540s) and pledge (n.) "the vow to abstain from drinking" (1833). Meaning "student who has agreed to join a fraternity or sorority" dates from 1901.

pledge (v.)

c. 1400, "to promise" (something to someone), "to give over as security for repayment," also "promise faith to," from pledge (n.) and from Old French plegier, from plege (n.). From mid-15c. as "to stand surety for, be responsible for;" late 15c. as "to mortgage." Meaning "put (someone) under oath" is from 1570s; sense of "to solemnly promise or guarantee" is from 1590s, as is sense "to drink a toast." Related: Pledged; pledging.

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Definitions of pledge from WordNet
1
pledge (v.)
promise solemnly and formally;
I pledge that I will honor my wife
Synonyms: plight
pledge (v.)
pay (an amount of money) as a contribution to a charity or service, especially at regular intervals;
I pledged $10 a month to my favorite radio station
Synonyms: subscribe
pledge (v.)
propose a toast to;
Synonyms: toast / drink / salute / wassail
pledge (v.)
give as a guarantee;
I pledge my honor
pledge (v.)
bind or secure by a pledge;
I was pledged to silence
2
pledge (n.)
a deposit of personal property as security for a debt;
his saxophone was in pledge
pledge (n.)
someone accepted for membership but not yet fully admitted to the group;
pledge (n.)
a drink in honor of or to the health of a person or event;
Synonyms: toast
pledge (n.)
a binding commitment to do or give or refrain from something;
signed a pledge never to reveal the secret
Synonyms: assurance
From wordnet.princeton.edu