[French ahn-ga-zhey]
  1. choosing to involve oneself in or commit oneself to something: Some of the political activists grew less engagé as the years passed.

Origin of engagé

1950–55; < French: literally, engaged
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for engagé


  1. (of a writer or artist, esp a man) morally or politically committed to some ideology


verb (mainly tr)
  1. to secure the services of; employ
  2. to secure for use; reserveengage a room
  3. to involve (a person or his attention) intensely; engross; occupy
  4. to attract (the affection) of (a person)her innocence engaged him
  5. to draw (somebody) into conversation
  6. (intr) to take part; participatehe engages in many sports
  7. to promise (to do something)
  8. (also intr) military to begin an action with (an enemy)
  9. to bring (a mechanism) into operationhe engaged the clutch
  10. (also intr) to undergo or cause to undergo interlocking, as of the components of a driving mechanism, such as a gear train
  11. machinery to locate (a locking device) in its operative position or to advance (a tool) into a workpiece to commence cutting
Derived Formsengager, noun

Word Origin for engage

C15: from Old French engagier, from en- 1 + gage a pledge, see gage 1
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

Word Origin and History for engagé



early 15c., "to pledge," from Middle French engagier, from Old French en gage "under pledge," from en "make" + gage "pledge," through Frankish from Proto-Germanic *wadiare "pledge" (see wed).

It shows the common evolution of Germanic -w- to French -g-; cf. Guillaume from Wilhelm). Meaning "attract the attention of" is from 1640s; that of "employ" is from 1640s, from notion of "binding as by a pledge." Specific sense of "promise to marry" is 1610s (implied in engaged).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper