Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Community Comment

Words of the day — engage

Good evening, Netizens...

January 24, 2013

Words of the Day

  • engagé
  • audio pronunciation
  • \ahn-gah-ZHAY\


: committed to or supportive of a cause

Our next-door neighbor Michael, an engagé environmental activist, uses solar power to heat his home and drives a hybrid automobile.

"George MacDonald was a Scottish Congregationalist who pastored an English Congregationalist chapel for a while, drifted away into freelance preaching, but stayed true to his desire to bring an engagé Christianity to workers stuck in the industrial heartland." — From Valentine Cunningham's 2011 book Victorian Poetry Now


"Engagé" is the past participle of the French verb "engager," meaning "to engage." The French have used "engagé" since the 19th century to describe socially or politically active people. The term became particularly fashionable in the wake of World War II, when French writers, artists, and intellectuals felt it was increasingly important for them to take a stand on political or social issues and represent their attitudes in their art. By 1946, English speakers had adopted the word for their own politically relevant writing or art, and within a short time "engagé" was being used generally for any passionate commitment to a cause.

From Merriam-Webster Online at



Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.