[ 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.

Nearby words

  1. enlarger,
  2. enlighten,
  3. enlightened,
  4. enlightenment,
  5. enlil,
  6. enlisted,
  7. enlisted man,
  8. enlisted woman,
  9. enlistee,
  10. enlistment

Origin of enlist

First recorded in 1690–1700; en-1 + list1

Related formsen·list·er, nounpre·en·list, verbun·en·list·ed, adjective

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for enlist

British Dictionary definitions for enlist


/ (ɪnˈlɪst) /


to enter or persuade to enter into an engagement to serve in the armed forces
(tr) to engage or secure (a person, his services, or his support) for a venture, cause, etc
(intr foll by in) to enter into or join an enterprise, cause, etc
Derived Formsenlister, nounenlistment, 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

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