A Dictionary of the English Language
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Wage (verb)

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To Wage. v.a. [The origination of this word, which is now only used in the phrase to wage war, is not easily discovered: waegen, in German, is to attempt any thing dangerous.]

  1. To attempt; to venture.

    We must not think the Turk is so unskilful,
    Neglecting an attempt of ease and gain,
    To wake and wage a danger profitless.
    Shakespeare.

  2. To make; to carry on. Applied to war.

    Return to her, and fifty men dismiss'd!
    No; rather I abjure all roofs, and chuse
    To wage against the enmity o' th' air,
    To be a comrade with the wolf.
    Shakesp. K. Lear.

    Your reputation wages war with the enemies of your royal family, even within their trenches. Dryden.

    He ponder'd, which of all his sons was fit
    To reign, and wage immortal war with wit.
    Dryden.

  3. [From wage, wages.] To set to hire.

                Thou must wage
    Thy works for wealth, and life for gold engage.
    F. Queen.

  4. To take to hire; to hire for pay; to hold in pay; to employ for wages.

    I seem'd his follower, not partner; and
    He wag'd me with his countenance, as if
    I had been mercenary.
    Shakespeare's Coriolanus.

    The officers of the admiralty having places of so good benefit, it is their parts, being well waged and rewarded, exactly to look into the sound building of ships. Raleigh.

    The king had erected his courts of ordinary resort, and was at the charge not only to wage justice and their ministers, but also to appoint the safe custody of records. Bacon.

    This great lord came not over with any great number of waged soldiers. Davies's Ireland.

  5. [In law.]

    When an action of debt is brought against one, as for money or chattles, left or lent the defendant, the defendant may wage his law; that is, swear, and certain persons with him, that he owes nothing to the plaintiff in manner as he hath declared. The offer to make the oath is called wager of law: and when it is accomplished, it is called the making or doing of law. Blount.

Sources: Bacon, Francis (396) · Blount, Thomas (2) · Shakespeare's Coriolanus (80) · Davies, John (45) · Dryden, John (788) · Shakespeare's King Lear (144) · Shakespeare's Othello (60) · Raleigh, Walter (68) · Spenser, Edmund (254)

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Cite this page: Johnson, Samuel. "Wage (verb)." A Dictionary of the English Language: A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson. Edited by Brandi Besalke. Last modified: June 27, 2012. http://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/?p=5084.


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