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The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Pledge \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. [1913 Webster] Note: 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. [1913 Webster] 2. (Old Eng. Law) A person who undertook, or became responsible, for another; a bail; a surety; a hostage. "I am Grumio's pledge." --Shak. [1913 Webster] 3. A hypothecation without transfer of possession. [1913 Webster] 4. 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." --Milton. [1913 Webster] 5. 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. [1913 Webster] [1913 Webster] 6. A sentiment to which assent is given by drinking one's health; a toast; a health. [1913 Webster] 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. [1913 Webster] Syn: See Earnest. [1913 Webster]