Word of the day

The word for today is…

pledge (noun) – 1. A solemn binding promise to do, give, or refrain from doing something.
2. (a) Something given or held as security to guarantee payment of a debt or fulfillment of an obligation.
(b) The condition of something thus given or held: put an article in pledge.
3. (Law) (a) Delivery of goods or personal property as security for a debt or obligation.
(b) The contract or transaction stipulating or involving such delivery.
4. A token or sign.
5. A person who has been accepted for membership in a fraternity or similar organisation and has promised to join but has not yet been initiated.
6. A vow to abstain from alcoholic liquor.
7. (Archaic) The act of drinking in honor of someone; a toast.

(verb) – 1. To offer or guarantee by a solemn binding promise.
2. To bind or secure by a pledge or promise.
3. To deposit as security; pawn.
4. (a) To promise to join (a fraternity or similar organisation).
(b) To accept as a prospective member of such an organisation.
5. (Archaic) To drink a toast to.

Source : The Free Dictionary

Etymology : Mid-14th century, “surety, bail,” from Old French plege (Modern French pleige) “hostage, security, bail,” probably from Frankish *plegan “to guarantee,” from *pleg-, a West Germanic root meaning “have responsibility for” (source also of Old Saxon plegan “vouch for,” Middle Dutch plien “to answer for, guarantee,” Old High German pflegan “to care for, be accustomed to,” Old English pleon “to risk the loss of, expose to danger;”.

Meaning “allegiance vow attested by drinking with another” is from 1630s. Sense of “solemn promise” first recorded 1814, though this notion is from 16th century in the verb. Weekley notes the “curious contradiction” in pledge “to toast with a drink” (1540s) and pledge “the vow to abstain from drinking” (1833). Meaning “student who has agreed to join a fraternity or sorority” dates from 1901.


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Peter is a fourth-generation New Zealander, with his mother’s and father’s folks having arrived in New Zealand in the 1870s. He lives in Lower Hutt with his wife, three cats and assorted computers.

His work history has been in the timber, banking and real estate industries, and he’s now enjoying retirement. He has been interested in computers for over thirty years and is a strong advocate for free open source software. He is chairman of the SeniorNet Hutt City committee.

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