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..., for many generations, they had lived in so respectable a manner, as to engage the general good opinion of their surrounding acquaintance.

(My question) What does 'engage the general good opinion of their surrounding acquaintance' mean?

Here my ideas. enter image description here

  • It's much simpler than that I suppose. – Kris Apr 7 '14 at 6:12
  • We may understand Engage as "(earn and) sustain". – Kris Apr 7 '14 at 6:14
  • Too much trouble thanking each one. Here on ELU, we just up vote an answer/comment if found useful/worthy (, which is no so often.) – Kris Apr 7 '14 at 11:17
  • .....Oh, I see. – Bie Apr 7 '14 at 12:12
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"...engage the general good opinion of their surrounding acquaintance" means that the person needs to make an effort to keep in favour with their neighbours by pleasing them.

Dictionary.com meaning:

en·gage [en-geyj]

verb (used with object), en·gaged, en·gag·ing.

  1. to occupy the attention or efforts of (a person or persons): He engaged her in conversation.

  2. to attract and hold fast: The novel engaged her attention and interest.

  3. to attract or please: His good nature engages everyone.
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