A Dictionary of the English Language
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Engage (verb active)

View Scan · View Transcription · from pages 700, 701

View Scan · View Transcription · from pages 700, 701

To Engáge. v.a. [engager, French.]

  1. To make liable for a debt to a creditor.

    I have engag'd myself to a dear friend,
    Engag'd my friend to his meer enemy.
    Shakesp. Merchant of Venice.

  2. To impawn; to stake.

    They most perfidiously condemn
    Those that engag'd their lives for them.
    Hudibras, p. ii.

  3. To enlist; to bring into a party.

    All wicked men are of a party against religion: some lust or interest engageth them against it. Tillotson's Sermons.

  4. To embark in an affair; to enter in an undertaking.

    So far had we engaged ourselves, unfortunate souls, that we listed not to complain, since our complaints could not but carry the greatest accusation to ourselves. Sidney, b. ii.

    Before I engage myself in giving any answer to this objection of inconsumptible lights, I would see the effect certainly averred. Digby on Bodies.

  5. To unite; to attach; to make adherent.

    This humanity and good-nature engages every body to him, so that when he is pleasant upon any of them, all his family are in good humour. Addison's Spectator, № 100.

  6. To induce; to win by pleasing means; to gain.

    To ev'ry duty he cou'd minds engage,
    Provoke their courage, and command their rage.
    Waller.

    His beauty these, and those his blooming age,
    The rest his house and his own fame engage.
    Dryden's Æn.

    So shall I court thy dearest truth,
    When beauty ceases to engage;
    So thinking on thy charming youth,
    I'll love it o'er again in age.
    Prior.

  7. To bind by any appointment or contract.

    We have been firm to our allies, without declining any expence to which we had engaged ourselves, and we have even exceeded our engagement. Atterbury's Sermons.

  8. To seize by the attention.

  9. To employ; to hold in business.

    For I shall sing of battles, blood and rage,
    Which princes and their people did engage.
    Dryden.

  10. To encouter; to fight.

    The rebel knave, who dares his prince engage,
    Proves the just victim of his royal rage.
    Pope.

Sources: Addison, Joseph (408) · Atterbury, Francis (75) · Butler, Samuel (98) · Digby, Kenelm (13) · Dryden, John (788) · Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice (83) · Pope, Alexander (393) · Prior, Matthew (162) · Sidney, Philip (140) · Spectator (140) · Tillotson, John (68) · Waller, Edmund (63)

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Cite this page: Johnson, Samuel. "Engage (verb active)." A Dictionary of the English Language: A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson. Edited by Brandi Besalke. Last modified: January 5, 2013. http://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/?p=5178.


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