[ plahyt ]
/ plaɪt /

verb (used with object)

to pledge (one's troth) in engagement to marry.
to bind (someone) by a pledge, especially of marriage.
to give in pledge, as one's word, or to pledge, as one's honor.


Archaic. pledge.

Origin of plight

before 1000; (noun) Middle English; Old English pliht danger, risk; cognate with Dutch plicht, German Pflicht duty, obligation; (v.) Middle English plighten, Old English plihtan (derivative of the noun) to endanger, risk, pledge; cognate with Old High German phlichten to engage oneself, Middle Dutch plihten to guarantee


plight·er, nounun·plight·ed, adjective

historical usage of plight

The verb plight “to bind (someone) by a pledge, especially of marriage” comes from Old English plihtan “to endanger, compromise, be in peril of, put under risk of forfeiture, pledge.” The connection between promising to marry someone and being in peril isn’t immediately apparent. When this word first appeared in Old English as plihtan, it was with the sense “to endanger or compromise (life, honor, etc.).” It later came to mean “to put something in danger by risking its forfeiture,” which is where “pledge” comes in. If one makes a pledge, one has the solemn duty to fulfill it, at the risk (or peril) of losing one’s honor. This may be an oath you make to a king, or a vow you make to your betrothed.
Germanic cognates of plight include Old Frisian plichta “to hand over possession of,” Middle Dutch plichten “to pledge, commit,” Dutch verplichten “to oblige,” and German verpflichten “to oblige, pledge.” Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for plighted

British Dictionary definitions for plighted (1 of 2)

/ (plaɪt) /


a condition of extreme hardship, danger, etc

Word Origin for plight

C14 plit, from Old French pleit fold, plait; probably influenced by Old English pliht peril, plight ²

British Dictionary definitions for plighted (2 of 2)

/ (plaɪt) /

verb (tr)

to give or pledge (one's word)he plighted his word to attempt it
to promise formally or pledge (allegiance, support, etc)to plight aid
plight one's troth
  1. to make a promise of marriage
  2. to give one's solemn promise


archaic, or dialect a solemn promise, esp of engagement; pledge

Derived forms of plight

plighter, noun

Word Origin for plight

Old English pliht peril; related to Old High German, German Pflicht duty
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