The Instructor was engaging and very knowledgeable. Information was relayed in a way that was easy to understand, and allowed me to be confident in using my new skill sets at work. (https://www.promethit.com/testimonial/loved-it/)

The meaning would be either "attractive" or "make people to participate in activities", but I am not sure which meaning is correct in this context. What does "engaging" mean here?

  • Merriam-Webster has only the first meaning. merriam-webster.com/dictionary/engaging. I am not sure why you think it could mean "make people participate".
    – trisct
    Commented Sep 7, 2019 at 5:18
  • It could be attractive, but I think in this context actively committed or involved, in whatever he/she instructs is more suitable. Commented Sep 7, 2019 at 6:05
  • An engaging activity is one that makes you desire to perform it, or concentrate completely on it. An engaging instructor is someone who makes learning engaging, and so makes learning fun and/or interesting. Commented Sep 7, 2019 at 7:57

2 Answers 2


Dictionary.com shows two definitions of the verb "engage" which apply here:

  1. to occupy the attention or efforts of (a person or persons):
    He engaged her in conversation.
  2. to attract and hold fast:
    The novel engaged her attention and interest.

So, those are good definitions for this context.

The use of the word "attractive" may partly apply.

However there are a variety of different definitions for "attractive".

Consider this from Merriam Webster:

Examples of attractive in a Sentence
An attractive woman greeted us at the door.

Wouldn't that particular sentence be interpreted as meaning something like "pretty" or "beautiful"? Yet, the engaging instructor should not be described that way.


An engaging instructor or speaker is one who engages the students or audience, causing them to be interested in the subject matter, or perhaps in his or her presentation of it.

The late Stephan Jay Gould was an engaging speaker, as i know from personal experience. Accounts say that mark Twain was a highly engaging speaker. Professor Richard Feynman was a very engaging teacher, according to one of his students I have met. So was the late Issac Asimov, according to several accounts (not least his own).

This sense of "engaging" is related to the meaning "to attract and hold fast" and perhaps even more to "to occupy the attention or efforts of" -- an engaging speaker attracts and holds fast the attention of the hearers and occupies their attention and effort with his or her speech.

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