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[en-list] /ɛnˈlɪst/
verb (used without object)
to enroll, usually voluntarily, for military service:
He decided to enlist in the Marines.
to enter into some cause, enterprise, etc.
verb (used with object)
to engage for military service:
to enlist men for the army.
to secure (a person, services, etc.) for some cause, enterprise, etc.:
They enlisted us to serve as ushers at the meeting.
Origin of enlist
First recorded in 1690-1700; en-1 + list1
Related forms
enlister, noun
preenlist, verb
unenlisted, adjective
2. volunteer, join. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for enlist
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Let us run away, for fear he should make us enlist in his company!

    Little Daffydowndilly Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • One of them, a carter in a smockfrock, seemed wavering and disposed to enlist.

    Barnaby Rudge Charles Dickens
  • I'm going to enlist to-morrow, and perhaps I won't get so good a chance as this!

    Changing Winds

    St. John G. Ervine
  • Florent was never able to enlist Claude amongst his supporters.

  • He had then tried to enlist as a private, but had been rejected for the same reason.

British Dictionary definitions for enlist


to enter or persuade to enter into an engagement to serve in the armed forces
(transitive) to engage or secure (a person, his services, or his support) for a venture, cause, etc
(intransitive) foll by in. to enter into or join an enterprise, cause, etc
Derived Forms
enlister, noun
enlistment, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for enlist

1590s, from en- (1) "make, put in" + list (n.). Possibly suggested by Dutch inlijsten "to write on a list." Related: Enlisted; enlisting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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