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    #1

    Engage, toilet and telephone

    From dictionaries, "engaged" as an adjective is generally used to describe telephones and toilets i.e. they are occupied. I wonder if this adjective can be used to describe things other than them, say, tables, rooms, computers of computer rooms, etc.

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    #2

    Re: Engage, toilet and telephone

    I would never use "engaged" to mean "occupied".

    If someone said, "The toilet is engaged," I would think "The toilet is getting married soon".

    In the US, when we use "engaged" we almost always are talking about marriage.

    The other meanings of "engaged" are really only used as technical language and not in typical conversations.

    For example, in a factory, someone might say, "The mechanism is engaged" meaning "The mechanism is functioning".


    In Korea, someone I was with pointed to a business and said, "I was engaged here."
    I asked him in Korean, "Did you say that you were engaged to be married here?". 여기 약혼했다고?
    He was surprised and he said no.
    I told him not to use "engage" and told him to say "I used to work here".

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    #3

    Re: Engage, toilet and telephone

    In the UK, the locks on the doors of public toilets used to say:



    Some can still be found.

  1. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Engage, toilet and telephone

    Quote Originally Posted by kachibi View Post
    From dictionaries, "engaged" as an adjective is generally used to describe telephones and toilets i.e. they are occupied. I wonder if this adjective can be used to describe things other than them, say, tables, rooms, computers of computer rooms, etc.
    We can engage in/be engaged in conversation.

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Engage, toilet and telephone

    Quote Originally Posted by Rover_KE View Post
    In the UK, the locks on the doors of public toilets used to say:



    Some can still be found.
    It's funny, isn't it? Even though that's what the signs on the door say, and even though if I were actually pointing at a door in a public toilet, I would say "That one's engaged", I wouldn't use it to describe the toilet at home or anywhere else. I would just say "There's someone in there" or possibly "That one's taken".

    You can certainly say that all the tables in a room are occupied or that all the seats in a row of chairs are occupied.
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 18-Jul-2013 at 00:12.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  3. BobK's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Engage, toilet and telephone

    And in restaurants and theatres, when the management has decided that nobody else should use a table/seat, it's 'reserved'.

    b
    PS those signs (vacant/engaged) were typical of penny-in-the-slot mechanisms. Hence the euphemism 'Spend a penny'

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