Pledge (?), n. [OF. plege, pleige, pledge, guaranty, LL. plegium, plivium; akin to OF. plevir to bail, guaranty, perhaps fr. L. praebere to proffer, offer (sc. fidem a trust, a promise of security), but cf. also E. play. &root;28. Cf. Prebend, Replevin.]

1. Law

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.

Pledge is ordinarily confined to personal property; the title or ownership does not pass by it; possession is essential to it. In all these points it differs from a mortgage [see Mortgage]; and in the last, from the hypotheca of the Roman law. See Hypotheca.

Story. Kent.

2. Old Eng.Law

A person who undertook, or became responsible, for another; a bail; a surety; a hostage.

"I am Grumio's pledge."



A hypothecation without transfer of possession.


Anything given or considered as a security for the performance of an act; a guarantee; as, mutual interest is the best pledge for the performance of treaties.

"That voice, their liveliest pledge of hope."



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; as, to sign the pledge; the mayor had made no pledges.

<-- esp. in "take the pledge" -->


A sentiment to which assent is given by drinking one's health; a toast; a health.

Dead pledge. [A translation of LL. mortuum vadium.] Law) A mortgage. See Mortgage. -- Living pledge. [A translation of LL. vivum vadium.] (Law The conveyance of an estate to another for money borrowed, to be held by him until the debt is paid out of the rents and profits. -- To hold in pledge, to keep as security. -- To put in pledge, to pawn; to give as security.

Syn. -- See Earnest.


© Webster 1913.

Pledge, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Pledged (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Pledging.] [Cf. OF. pleiger to give security. See Pledge, n.]


To deposit, as a chattel, in pledge or pawn; to leave in possession of another as security; as, to pledge one's watch.


To give or pass as a security; to guarantee; to engage; to plight; as, to pledge one's word and honor.

We mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor. The Declaration of Independence.


To secure performance of, as by a pledge.


To pledge my vow, I give my hand. Shak.


To bind or engage by promise or declaration; to engage solemnly; as, to pledge one's self.


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.

Pledge me, my friend, and drink till thou be'st wise. Cowley.


© Webster 1913.

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