I read the newspaper articles about investments, often see something like:

The VC [venture capitalist] has officially engaged.

What does engage mean in this context?

2 Answers 2


In this context, when engage is used informally, sense 8 applies: “To enter into (an activity), to participate”. For example, a VC (venture capitalist) may engage in studying a company.

When it is used more formally, senses 9 and 10 apply: “To guarantee or promise (to do something)” and “To bind through legal or moral obligation (to do something, especially to marry)”. For example, a VC may engage to provide a few million dollars of capital, in return for a financial holding in the company, or may take a seat on the company's board and engage to provide financial, operating, or strategic advice.


In my experience, the word "engage" is business slang which usually means to contract with a third party, either formally (in writing) or informally (verbal).

  • That's how the finite verb is mostly used; but it's exactly the same engage as in engaged to marry. Mar 8, 2013 at 2:53
  • slag or slang ? Mar 8, 2013 at 3:30
  • By "slang" you would mean colloquialism. I think the business use of "engage" is not a colloquialism. It is the use in prenuptial event of "getting engaged" that is colloquial. Uses of "engage" and "hitch" for the context of marriage plans are colloquial usage. Whereas being "engaged" in business is true to its technical meaning. Mar 8, 2013 at 3:34
  • 1
    At least in the United States, the term "audience [or customer] engagement" is current business jargon for "level of sustained audience [or customer] interest in a product or service."
    – Sven Yargs
    Mar 8, 2013 at 3:41
  • American business practice has a lot of jargon i.e. "do the deal" versus "transact". In a business meeting therefore, you will likely hear the question "Do you want to do the deal or not?" Almost no one would say "Do you want to transact or not?" The word "contract" is a legal term, hence intimidating. So unconsciously the word "contract" tends to be avoided. The word "engage" has a subtle romantic association, and is therefore preferred. Consequently, it is not uncommon for news articles to incorporate business jargon instead of a more formal English.
    – SpacedOut
    Mar 8, 2013 at 13:28

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