Friday, April 6

22 Meanings of the Word “Engage” (Hung Ho’s Question)





My Hongkongese friend Hung Ho asked me about the word “Engage.” Here’s my explanation ;-)



Engage” is a simple enough word; innocent-looking. But many learners have a lot of trouble using it for one reason: There are far too many similar uses of this word, and each of them has a different meaning.



All of these uses usually get thrown together inside our brains in one tangled mess. As a result, we don’t know how to use any one of them.



So, let’s try to untangle each and every use …




First of all, let’s concentrate on its original form. The word “Engage” is primarily a Verb.



As a Verb, “Engage” has 2 kinds: IV and TV.



(These mean Intransitive Verb and Transitive Verb).



Both as a TV and as an IV, “Engage” has several meanings. 



Here they are...




As an Intransitive Verb (IV)


1.       Engage



Meaning: To embark in a business, to get involved in, to be employed, to spend effort or time etc. on



Example: My father engages in auto repair/ local politics. The son finally engaged in his father’s business.



2.       Engage



Meaning: To participate in



Example: They engaged in a discussion.



3.       Engage



Meaning: To meet in a conflict, battle etc.



Example: The two armies engaged in the desert. / The dogs immediately engaged.



4.       Engage



Meaning: To interlock (Mechanics)



Example: The gears engage.



* Please take a look at the illustration:



image courtesy of stock.xchng




*Opposite: Disengage




Next, as a Transitive Verb



5.       Engage



Meaning: To interlock with (Mechanics)



Example: The gears engage each other./ The teeth of the two gears engage one another.



6.       Engage



Meaning: To bring in for service, employment, association, help etc.



Example: The entrepreneur engaged 15 workers./ The government engages young men for military service./ She usually engages her friends in her charity projects.



7.       Engage



Meaning: To reserve (a space)



Example: The team engaged a meeting room.



8.       Engage



Meaning: To meet in a contest, conflict, battle etc.



Example: The army finally engaged the enemy at dawn./ The sumo wrestlers engaged each other.



9.       Engage



Meaning: To occupy the attention and efforts of etc.



Example: The study of birds engages him. / He engaged her in conversation.



10.   Engage



Meaning: To catch and hold the attention or interest of, to attract etc.



Example: A good speaker engages his audience.



11.   Engage



Meaning: To please



Example: Her cheerful personality engages everyone she meets.



12.   Engage



Meaning: To make liable



Example: The court engaged him to pay for his daughter’s schooling.





NOTE: There are other meanings of the Verb “engage,” but I chose not to include some of them here (the rarer ones) to avoid confusion





There’s another form of the word “Engage.” This is “Engaged” – with the letter “D” at the end.



This time, it’s an Adjective.





As an Adjective (Engaged)


13.   Engaged



Meaning: Eager, interested etc.



Example: The audience was engaged./ He looks utterly engaged.  



14.   Engaged



Meaning: Busy/ Unavailable  



Example: I’m sorry but Mr. Smith is engaged at the moment. Would you like to wait for him or leave a message? / The rest room is engaged.



15.   Engaged



Meaning: Involved, especially in a conflict, battle etc.



Example: The ships are engaged on the high seas.



16.   Engaged



Meaning: Have pledged or promised, especially for marriage



Example:


Q: Are you engaged?

A: Yes, I am.



17.   Engaged



Meaning: Caught/ interlocked etc. (Mechanics)



Example: You have to keep the gear engaged.




As an Adjective (Engaging)



18.   Engaging



Meaning: Interesting



Example: What an engaging lecture!



19.   Engaging



Meaning: Pleasing



Example: She has such an engaging personality!




Finally, 

As a Noun (Engagement)



20.   Engagement



Meaning: A pledge, especially for marriage



Example: Did you make it to their engagement party?



21.   Engagement



Meaning: An appointment



Example: 


Q: Would you like to go to the movies with me tonight? 

A: Sorry but I have a previous engagement.



22.   Engagement



Meaning: Booking (of performers)



Example: His band was hired for a limited engagement.





Hope you learned something!


;-)




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