AskDefine | Define engagement

Dictionary Definition



1 a hostile meeting of opposing military forces in the course of a war; "Grant won a decisive victory in the battle of Chickamauga"; "he lost his romantic ideas about war when he got into a real engagement" [syn: battle, conflict, fight]
2 a meeting arranged in advance; "she asked how to avoid kissing at the end of a date" [syn: date, appointment]
3 a mutual promise to marry [syn: betrothal, troth]
4 the act of giving someone a job [syn: employment]
5 employment for performers or performing groups that lasts for a limited period of time; "the play had bookings throughout the summer" [syn: booking]
6 contact by fitting together; "the engagement of the clutch"; "the meshing of gears" [syn: mesh, meshing, interlocking]
7 the act of sharing in the activities of a group; "the teacher tried to increase his students' engagement in class activities" [syn: participation, involvement, involution] [ant: non-engagement, non-engagement, non-engagement]

User Contributed Dictionary

see Engagement






  1. an appointment, especially to speak or perform
    The lecturer has three speaking engagements this week.
  2. connection or attachment
    Check the gears for full engagement before turning the handle.
  3. (countable or uncountable) the period of time when marriage is planned or promised
    We are enjoying a long engagement, but haven't yet set a date.
  4. the point at which the fencers are close enough to join blades, or to make an effective attack during an encounter
  5. In air defense, an attack with guns or air-to-air missiles by an interceptor aircraft, or the launch of an air defense missile by air defense artillery and the missile’s subsequent travel to intercept. (JP 1-02 Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms).
  6. A tactical conflict, usually between opposing lower echelons maneuver forces. (JP 1-02 Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms).
  7. In naval parlance, the use of a munition, weapon or decoy to carry out an offensive or defensive action.
  8. In any situation of conflict, an actual instance of active hostilities.
    The engagement resulted in may causualties.
    After enagement it quickly became clear which of the fencers was going to prevail.
rfc numerous duplicate senses


period of time when marriage is planned or promised
  • Czech: zasnoubení
  • Finnish: kihlausaika
  • Hungarian: eljegyzés
  • Serbian: veridba

See also




fr-noun m

Extensive Definition

An engagement is a promise to marry, and also refers to the time between proposal and marriage. During this period, a couple is said to be affianced, engaged to be married, or simply engaged.

The engagement period

The concept of an engagement period may have begun in 1215 at the Fourth Lateran Council, headed by Pope Innocent III, which decreed that "marriages are to be ... announced publicly in the churches by the priests during a suitable and fixed time, so that if legitimate impediments exist, they may be made known." Such a formal church announcement of the intent to marry is known as banns. In some jurisdictions, reading the banns may be part of one type of legal marriage.
The modern Western form of the practice of giving or exchanging engagement rings is traditionally thought to have begun in 1477 when Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor, gave Mary of Burgundy a diamond ring as an engagement present.

Engagement rings

In the United States, United Kingdom & Ireland, Canada, Australia, and many other countries, an engagement ring is worn on the fourth finger of the left hand. This tradition is thought to be from the Romans, who believed this finger to be the beginning of the vena amoris ("vein of love"), the vein that leads to the heart. The custom in Continental Europe and other countries is to wear it on the right hand. Romantic rings from the time of the Roman Empire and from as far back as 4 AD often resemble the Celtic Claddagh symbol (two hands clasping a heart) and so it is thought that this was used as some symbol of love and commitment between two people. In some other countries from South America, like in Argentina, man and woman use each one a ring, and these are generally very similar to the wedding rings, with the difference that they are made of silver instead of gold. In Brazil they are always made of gold, and there is no tradition for the engagement ring. Both men and women wear the wedding band on their right hand while engaged and after they get married they shift to the left hand. It is typical for the woman's wedding band to contain two parts. One, which is given to her on the date of engagement, is customarily gold and contains small diamonds. The second is presented on the wedding day and has either more diamonds or one(s) of larger size. The two bands may be crafted into one. However, it has become common to have a mere one wedding band.

Engagement parties

Some, but not all, engagements are honored with an engagement party, often hosted by the bride's parents. It may be formal or informal, and is typically held between six months and a year before the wedding. Traditionally, engagement parties allowed the bride's parents to announce the impending marriage to friends and families. Today, such an event can either be an announcement or simply a celebration.

Related terms


A man who is engaged to be married is called his partner's fiancé; a woman similarly engaged is called her partner's fiancée. These words are pronounced identically in English; the separate feminine form exists because of the inflectional morphology of grammatical gender in French, where the term originated.


The classic proposal position is 'down on one knee' shown in the picture to the right. Engagement is most often initiated by a proposal of marriage, or simply a proposal. The proposal often has a ritual quality, involving the presentation of the engagement ring and a formalized asking of a question such as "Will you marry me?" In a heterosexual relationship, the man traditionally proposes to the woman, but this is no longer universal. February 29th is said to be the one day (coming round only once every four years) when a woman can propose to her partner.


Engagement is similar to betrothal, and the two terms are sometimes used interchangeably. However, betrothal often refers to agreements involving not only the couple but their families; the concept sometimes has a connotation of arranged marriage. Furthermore, betrothals can be broken, but often have binding legal implications lacking in engagements.

Breach of Promise

In some jurisdictions, until the 20th century, it was possible for a woman (but almost never a man), to sue if an engagement was broken, based on denial of the chance to "establish herself" and possible damage to her reputation.


engagement in Arabic: خطوبة
engagement in Danish: Forlovelse
engagement in German: Verlöbnis
engagement in Spanish: Esponsales
engagement in Esperanto: Fianĉiĝo
engagement in French: Fiançailles
engagement in Korean: 약혼
engagement in Hindi: वाग्दान
engagement in Italian: Promessa di matrimonio
engagement in Hebrew: אירוסים
engagement in Georgian: ნიშნობა
engagement in Dutch: Verloving
engagement in Japanese: 婚約
engagement in Norwegian: Forlovelse
engagement in Polish: Zaręczyny
engagement in Portuguese: Noivado
engagement in Russian: Обручение
engagement in Albanian: Fejesa
engagement in Simple English: Engagement
engagement in Finnish: Kihlaus
engagement in Swedish: Förlovning
engagement in Chinese: 訂婚

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Olympic games, Olympics, absorbed attention, absorption, action, affair, affiance, agreement, allurement, alternation, application, appointment, arrangement, assignation, association, attempt, banns, banns of matrimony, bargain, battle, berth, bespeaking, betrothal, betrothing, betrothment, billet, blandishment, blind date, booking, borscht circuit, bout, briefing, business, cajolement, cajolery, circuit, coaction, coaxing, cochairmanship, combat, commission, commitment, complementary distribution, complicity, concentration, concours, concurrence, condominium, conflict, conning, contemplation, contest, contract, contribution, cooperation, copartnership, copartnery, cotenancy, covenant, date, deal, deep study, deep thought, derby, double date, effort, embarrassment, employment, encounter, engagement book, engaging, engrossment, enlistment, enmeshment, entanglement, enterprise, espousal, exhortation, fight, game, games, get-together, gig, go, gymkhana, handfasting, having a part, hiring, hortation, immersion, implication, inclusion, incumbency, inducement, intentness, interaction, interchange, intercommunication, intercourse, interlacing, intermeshing, interplay, intertwining, interview, interweaving, interworking, invitation, involution, involvement, jawboning, job, joint chairmanship, joint control, joint ownership, joint tenancy, joust, lobbying, marriage contract, marriage proposal, match, matching, meditation, meet, meeting, mesh, meshing, monomania, moonlighting, obligation, obsession, offer of marriage, office, opening, operation, partaking, participation, partnership, persuasion, place, plan, playing engagement, pledge, plight, plighted faith, plighted troth, position, post, preaching, preachment, preengagement, preoccupation, profound thought, program, project, promise, proposal, proposition, quid pro quo, rally, rapt attention, recognizance, relation, rencontre, rendezvous, reservation, retainment, run, sales talk, salesmanship, second job, seesaw, selling, service, sharing, single-mindedness, situation, snow job, soft soap, solicitation, spot, stand, station, studiousness, study, suasion, submersion, suffrage, sweet talk, taking on, task, tenure, test, tilt, tit for tat, tour, tournament, tourney, trial, troth, tryst, understanding, undertaking, vacancy, vaudeville circuit, venture, verbal agreement, visit, voting, wheedling, word, work, working on
Privacy Policy, About Us, Terms and Conditions, Contact Us
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
Material from Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Dict
Valid HTML 4.01 Strict, Valid CSS Level 2.1