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American Dictionary of the English Language

Webster's Dictionary 1828

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Pledge


PLEDGE, noun [Latin plico.]

1. Something put in pawn; that which is deposited with another as security for the repayment of money borrowed, or for the performance of some agreement or obligation; a pawn. A borrows ten pounds of B, and deposits his watch as a pledge that the money shall be repaid; and by repayment of the money, A redeems the pledge

2. Any thing given or considered as a security for the performance of an act. Thus a man gives a word or makes a promise to another, which is received as a pledge for fulfillment. The mutual affection of husband and wife is a pledge for the faithful performance of the marriage covenant. Mutual interest is the best pledge for the performance of treaties.

3. A surety; a hostage.

4. In law, a gage or security real or personal, given for the repayment of money. It is of two kinds; vadium vivum, a living pledge as when a man borrows money and grants an estate to be held by the pledgee, till the rents and profits shall refund the money, in which case the land or pledge is said to be living; or it is vadium mortuum, a dead pledge called a mortgage. [See Mortgage.]

5. In law, bail; surety given for the prosecution of a suit, or for the appearance of a defendant, or for restoring goods taken in distress and replevied. The distress itself is also called a pledge and the glove formerly thrown down by a champion in trial by battel, was a pledge by which the champion stipulated to encounter his antagonist in that trial.

6. A warrant to secure a person from injury in drinking.

To put in pledge to pawn.

To hold in pledge to keep as security.

PLEDGE, verb transitive

1. To deposit in pawn; to deposit or leave in possession of a person something which is to secure the repayment of money borrowed, or the performance of some act. [This word is applied chiefly to the depositing of goods or personal property. When real estate is given as security we usually apply the word mortgage.]

2. To give as a warrant or security; as, to pledge one's word or honor; to pledge one's veracity.

3. To secure by a pledge

I accept her,

And here to pledge my vow I give my hand. [Unusual.]

4. To invite to drink by accepting the cup or health after another. Or to warrant or be surety for a person that he shall receive no harm while drinking, or from the draught; a practice which originated among our ancestors in their rude state, and which was intended to secure the person from being stabbed while drinking, or from being poisoned by the liquor. In the first case, a by-stander pledges the person drinking; in the latter, the person drinking pledges his guest by drinking first, and then handing the cup to his guest. The latter practice is frequent among the common people in America to this day; the owner of the liquor taking the cup says to his friend, I pledge you, and drinks, then hands the cup to his guest; a remarkable instance of the power of habit, as the reason of the custom has long since ceased.