Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To cause to board a vessel or aircraft: stopped to embark passengers.
  • transitive v. To enlist (a person or persons) or invest (capital) in an enterprise.
  • intransitive v. To go aboard a vessel or aircraft, as at the start of a journey.
  • intransitive v. To set out on a venture; commence: embark on a world tour.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To get on a boat or ship or (outside the USA) an aeroplane.
  • v. To start, begin.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • intransitive v. To go on board a vessel or a boat for a voyage.
  • intransitive v. To engage in any affair.
  • transitive v. To cause to go on board a vessel or boat; to put on shipboard.
  • transitive v. To engage, enlist, or invest (as persons, money, etc.) in any affair.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To put on board a ship or other vessel: as, the general embarked his troops and their baggage.
  • Hence To place or venture; put at use or risk, as by investment; put or send forth, as toward a destination: as, he embarked his capital in the scheme.
  • To go on board ship, as when setting out on a voyage: as, the troops embarked for Lisbon.
  • To set out, as in some course or direction; make a start or beginning in regard to something; venture; engage.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. go on board
  • v. set out on (an enterprise or subject of study)
  • v. proceed somewhere despite the risk of possible dangers

Etymologies

French embarquer, from Late Old French, probably from Medieval Latin imbarcāre : Latin in-, in- + barca, boat.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle French embarquer, from em- + barque ("small ship"). Compare with Portuguese embarcar, Spanish abarcar. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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