engage vs occupy what difference

what is difference between engage and occupy


Alternative forms

  • ingage (obsolete)


From Middle English engagen, from Old French engagier (to pledge, engage), from Frankish *anwadjōn (to pledge), from Proto-Germanic *an-, *andi- + Proto-Germanic *wadjōną (to pledge, secure), from Proto-Germanic *wadją (pledge, guarantee), from Proto-Indo-European *wedʰ- (to pledge, redeem a pledge; guarantee, bail), equivalent to en- +‎ gage. Cognate with Old English anwedd (pledge, security), Old English weddian (to engage, covenant, undertake), German wetten (to bet, wager), Icelandic veðja (to wager). More at wed.


  • IPA(key): /ɪnˈɡeɪdʒ/, /ɛnˈɡeɪdʒ/
  • Rhymes: -eɪdʒ


engage (third-person singular simple present engages, present participle engaging, simple past and past participle engaged)

  1. (heading, transitive) To interact socially.
    1. To engross or hold the attention of; to keep busy or occupied.
    2. To draw into conversation.
      • the difficult task of engaging him in conversation
    3. To attract, to please; (archaic) to fascinate or win over (someone).
      • Good nature engages everybody to him.
  2. (heading) To interact antagonistically.
    1. (transitive) To enter into conflict with (an enemy).
      • 1698-1699, Edmund Ludlow, Memoirs
        a favourable opportunity of engaging the enemy
    2. (intransitive) To enter into battle.
  3. (heading) To interact contractually.
    1. (transitive) To arrange to employ or use (a worker, a space, etc.).
    2. (intransitive) To guarantee or promise (to do something).
    3. (transitive) To bind through legal or moral obligation (to do something, especially to marry) (usually in passive).
    4. (obsolete, transitive) To pledge, pawn (one’s property); to put (something) at risk or on the line; to mortgage (houses, land).
      • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, II.vii:
        Thou that doest liue in later times, must wage / Thy workes for wealth, and life for gold engage.
  4. (heading) To interact mechanically.
    1. To mesh or interlock (of machinery, especially a clutch).
    2. (engineering, transitive) To come into gear with.
      The teeth of one cogwheel engage those of another.
  5. (intransitive) To enter into (an activity), to participate (construed with in).
  6. (transitive, obsolete) To entangle.


  • (to cause to mesh or interlock): disengage

Derived terms

  • engagement
  • disengage
  • disengagement




  • IPA(key): /ɑ̃.ɡaʒ/



  1. first-person singular present indicative of engager
  2. third-person singular present indicative of engager
  3. first-person singular present subjunctive of engager
  4. third-person singular present subjunctive of engager
  5. second-person singular imperative of engager


  • gagnée



From Middle English occupien, occupyen, borrowed from Old French occuper, from Latin occupāre (to take possession of, seize, occupy, take up, employ), from ob (to, on) + capiō (to take). Doublet of occupate, now obsolete.


  • (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈɒkjʊpaɪ/
  • (General American) IPA(key): /ˈɑkjəpaɪ/
  • Hyphenation: oc‧cu‧py


occupy (third-person singular simple present occupies, present participle occupying, simple past and past participle occupied)

  1. (transitive, of time) To take or use.
    1. To fill.
    2. To possess or use the time or capacity of; to engage the service of.
    3. To fill or hold (an official position or role).
    4. To hold the attention of.
  2. (transitive) To take or use space.
    1. To fill space.
    2. To live or reside in.
      • The better apartments were already occupied.
    3. (military) To have, or to have taken, possession or control of (a territory).
      • 1940, in The China monthly review, volumes 94-95, page 370 [1]:
        The Japanese can occupy but cannot hold, and what they can hold they cannot hold long, was the opinion of General Pai Chung-hsi, Chief of the General Staff of the Chinese Army, []
      • 1975, Esmé Cecil Wingfield-Stratford, King Charles and King Pym, 1637-1643, page 330 [2]:
        Rupert, with his usual untamable energy, was scouring the country — but at first in the wrong direction, that of Aylesbury, another keypoint in the outer ring of Oxford defences, which he occupied but could not hold.
      • 1983, Arthur Keppel-Jones, Rhodes and Rhodesia: The White Conquest of Zimbabwe, 1884-1902, page 462:
        One of the rebel marksmen, who had taken up position on a boulder, was knocked off it by the recoil of his weapon every time he fired. Again the attack achieved nothing. Positions were occupied, but could not be held.
      • 1991, Werner Spies, John William Gabriel, Max Ernst collages: the invention of the surrealist universe, page 333:
        Germany occupied France for three years while France struggled to make payments that were a condition of surrender.
      • 2006, John Michael Francis, Iberia and the Americas: Culture, Politics, and History, page 496:
        Spain occupied, but could not populate, and its failure to expand Florida led Britain to consider the peninsula a logical extension of its colonial holdings.
    4. (surveying) To place the theodolite or total station at (a point).
  3. (transitive, obsolete) To have sexual intercourse with.
    • 1590s, William Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part 2, II.iv
      God’s light, these villains will make the word as odious as the word ‘occupy;’ which was an excellent good word before it was ill sorted
    • 1867, Robert Nares A Glossary
      OCCUPY, [sensu obsc.] To possess, or enjoy.

      These villains will make the word captain, as odious as the word occupy. 2 Hen. IV, ii, 4.
      Groyne, come of age, his state sold out of hand
      For ‘s whore; Groyne still doth occupy his land. B. Jons. Epigr., 117.
      Many, out of their own obscene apprehensions, refuse proper and fit words, as occupy, nature, and the like. Ibid., Discoveries, vol. vii, p. 119.
      It is so used also in Rowley’s New Wonder, Anc. Dr., v, 278.
  4. (obsolete) To do business in; to busy oneself with.
    • All the ships of the sea, with their mariners, were in thee to occupy the merchandise.
    • 1551, Ralph Robinson (tr.), Sir Thomas More’s Utopia (in Latin), 1516
      not able to occupy their old crafts
  5. (obsolete) To use; to expend; to make use of.
    • all the gold that was occupied for the work
    • 1551, Ralph Robinson (tr.), Sir Thomas More’s Utopia (in Latin), 1516
      They occupy not money themselves.


  • (to possess or use the time or capacity of): employ, busy
  • (to have sexual intercourse with): coitize, go to bed with, sleep with; see also Thesaurus:copulate with

Derived terms

  • occupier

Related terms

  • occupant
  • occupation


See also

  • Appendix:American Dialect Society words of the year


  • occupy at OneLook Dictionary Search
  • occupy in Keywords for Today: A 21st Century Vocabulary, edited by The Keywords Project, Colin MacCabe, Holly Yanacek, 2018.
  • Oxford English Dictionary, 1884–1928, and First Supplement, 1933.
  • occupy in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.
  • occupy in The Century Dictionary, New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911.

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