engage vs plight what difference

what is difference between engage and plight


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



  • enPR: plīt, IPA(key): /plaɪt/
  • Rhymes: -aɪt

Etymology 1

From Middle English plit (fold, wrinkle, bad situation), conflation of Middle English pliht, plight (risky promise, peril) (from Old English pliht “danger, risk”) and Anglo-Norman plit, plyte (fold, condition), from Old French pleit (condition, manner of folding) (from Vulgar Latin *plictum, from Latin plicitum (fold)).


plight (plural plights)

  1. A dire or unfortunate situation. [from 14th c.]
    • 2005, Lesley Brown, translating Plato, Sophist, 243c:
      Though we say we are quite clear about it and understand when someone uses the expression, unlike that other expression, maybe we’re in the same plight with regard to them both.
  2. (now rare) A (neutral) condition or state. [from 14th c.]
  3. (obsolete) Good health. [14th–19th c.]
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, III.7:
      All wayes shee sought him to restore to plight, / With herbs, with charms, with counsel, and with teares [].

Etymology 2

From Middle English plight (risk, danger), from Old English pliht (peril, risk, danger, damage, plight), from Proto-West Germanic *plihti (care, responsibility, duty). A suffixed form of the root represented by Old English pleoh (risk, danger, hurt, peril”; also “responsibility) and plēon (to endanger, risk). Akin to Old English plihtan (to endanger, compromise). Cognate with Scots plicht (responsibility, plight), Dutch plicht, Low German plicht (duty), German Pflicht (duty), Danish pligt (duty), Yiddish פֿליכט(flikht). More at pledge.


plight (plural plights)

  1. (now chiefly dialectal) Responsibility for ensuing consequences; risk; danger; peril.
  2. (now chiefly dialectal) An instance of danger or peril; a dangerous moment or situation.
  3. (now chiefly dialectal) Blame; culpability; fault; wrong-doing; sin; crime.
  4. (now chiefly dialectal) One’s office; duty; charge.
  5. (archaic) That which is exposed to risk; that which is plighted or pledged; security; a gage; a pledge.
Derived terms
  • plightful
  • plightly


plight (third-person singular simple present plights, present participle plighting, simple past and past participle plighted)

  1. (transitive, now rare) To expose to risk; to pledge.
  2. (transitive) Specifically, to pledge (one’s troth etc.) as part of a marriage ceremony.
  3. (reflexive) To promise (oneself) to someone, or to do something.
    • 1992, Hilary Mantel, A Place of Greater Safety, Harper Perennial 2007, p. 226:
      I ask what I have done to deserve it, one daughter hobnobbing with radicals and the other planning to plight herself to a criminal.
Derived terms
  • plighter

Etymology 3

From Middle English plyghten, plyȝten, pleyȝten, pleiten, pliten, from the noun (see below).


plight (third-person singular simple present plights, present participle plighting, simple past and past participle plighted)

  1. (obsolete) To weave; to braid; to fold; to plait.

Etymology 4

From Middle English pliȝt, plight, plyt, pleit, from Anglo-Norman pleit (pleat, fold). More at plait.


plight (plural plights)

  1. (obsolete) A network; a plait; a fold; rarely a garment.

Further reading

  • Plight in the Encyclopædia Britannica (11th edition, 1911)

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