Definitions

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

  • n. A solemn binding promise to do, give, or refrain from doing something: signed a pledge never to reveal the secret; a pledge of money to a charity.
  • n. Something given or held as security to guarantee payment of a debt or fulfillment of an obligation.
  • n. The condition of something thus given or held: put an article in pledge.
  • n. Law Delivery of goods or personal property as security for a debt or obligation: a loan requiring a pledge of property.
  • n. Law The contract by which such delivery is made.
  • n. A token or sign: "fair pledges of a fruitful tree” ( Robert Herrick).
  • n. A person who has been accepted for membership in a fraternity or similar organization and has promised to join but has not yet been initiated.
  • n. The act of drinking in honor of someone; a toast.
  • n. A vow to abstain from alcoholic liquor: ex-drinkers who have taken the pledge.
  • transitive v. To offer or guarantee by a solemn binding promise: pledge loyalty to a nation. See Synonyms at devote, promise.
  • transitive v. To bind or secure by or as if by a pledge: pledged themselves to the cause.
  • transitive v. To deposit as security; pawn.
  • transitive v. To promise to join (a fraternity or similar organization).
  • transitive v. To accept as a prospective member of such an organization.
  • transitive v. To drink a toast to.
  • intransitive v. To make a solemn binding promise; swear.
  • intransitive v. To drink a toast.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To make a solemn promise (to do something).
  • v. To deposit something as a security; to pawn.
  • v. To give assurance of friendship by the act of drinking; to drink to one's health.
  • n. A solemn promise to do something.
  • n. A person who has taken a pledge of allegiance to a college fraternity, but not yet formally approved.
  • n. A security to guarantee payment of a debt.
  • n. A drinking toast.
  • n. : A promise to abstain from drinking alcohol.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The transfer of possession of personal property from a debtor to a creditor as security for a debt or engagement; also, the contract created between the debtor and creditor by a thing being so delivered or deposited, forming a species of bailment; also, that which is so delivered or deposited; something put in pawn.
  • n. A person who undertook, or became responsible, for another; a bail; a surety; a hostage.
  • n. A hypothecation without transfer of possession.
  • n. Anything given or considered as a security for the performance of an act; a guarantee.
  • n. A promise or agreement by which one binds one's self to do, or to refrain from doing, something; especially, a solemn promise in writing to refrain from using intoxicating liquors or the like
  • n. A sentiment to which assent is given by drinking one's health; a toast; a health.
  • transitive v. To deposit, as a chattel, in pledge or pawn; to leave in possession of another as security.
  • transitive v. To give or pass as a security; to guarantee; to engage; to plight.
  • transitive v. To secure performance of, as by a pledge.
  • transitive v. To bind or engage by promise or declaration; to engage solemnly.
  • transitive v. To invite another to drink, by drinking of the cup first, and then handing it to him, as a pledge of good will; hence, to drink the health of; to toast.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To give as a pledge or pawn; deposit in pawn; deposit or leave in possession of a person as security. See pledge, n.
  • To give or formally and solemnly offer as a guaranty or security.
  • To bind to something by a pledge, promise, or engagement; engage solemnly: as, to pledge one's self.
  • To guarantee the performance of by or as by a pledge.
  • To give assurance of friendship to, or promise friendship to, by or in the act of drinking; hence, to drink a health to or with.
  • To assure solemnly or in a binding manner; guarantee.
  • = Syn. 1-3. To pawn, hypothecate. See plight, verb
  • n. In law: A person who goes surety or gives bail for another; especially, a surety whom early English law required of a plaintiff on bringing an action. After a time “John Doe” and “Richard Roe” did duty as such pledges.
  • n. A bailment of personal property as a security for some debt or engagement. Story, J.
  • n. Anything given or considered as security for the performance of an act; a guaranty.
  • n. Figuratively, a child; offspring.
  • n. A surety; a hostage.
  • n. A formal obligation whereby one voluntarily binds himself to abstain from the use of intoxicating drink.
  • n. A token or sign of favor, agreement, etc.
  • n. An expression of good will, or a promise of friendship and support, conveyed by drinking together; hence, in a more general sense, the act of drinking together; the drinking of a health.

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

  • n. a deposit of personal property as security for a debt
  • n. a binding commitment to do or give or refrain from something
  • v. bind or secure by a pledge
  • v. give as a guarantee
  • n. someone accepted for membership but not yet fully admitted to the group
  • n. a drink in honor of or to the health of a person or event
  • v. promise solemnly and formally
  • v. propose a toast to
  • v. pay (an amount of money) as a contribution to a charity or service, especially at regular intervals

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French plege, probably from Late Latin plevium, a security, of Germanic origin.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English plege, from Anglo-Norman plege, from Old French plege (Modern French pleige) from Medieval Latin plevium, plebium, from Medieval Latin plebire "to pledge", from Frankish *plegan ("to pledge, support, guarantee"), from Proto-Germanic *plegō (“responsibility, habit”), from Proto-Indo-European *dlegh-. Akin to Old High German pflegan ("to take care of, be accustomed to"), Old Saxon plegan ("to vouch for"), Old English plēon ("to risk, endanger"). More at plight. (Wiktionary)

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