WordReference English-Spanish Dictionary © 2014:

Principal Translations
empeñar vtrverbo transitivo: Verbo que requiere de un objeto directo ("di la verdad", "encontré una moneda"). (dar como garantía de pago)  (give as security)pawn vtrtransitive verb: Verb taking a direct object--for example, "Say something." "She found the cat."
   (slang)hock vtrtransitive verb: Verb taking a direct object--for example, "Say something." "She found the cat."
 Empeñamos las joyas de la familia para pagar las deudas.
 We pawned the family jewels to pay off the debts.
empeñarse v prnlverbo pronominal: Verbo que se conjuga con un pronombre átono ("me", "te", "se") que concuerda con el sujeto ("lavarse", "irse", "enojarse"). (empecinarse)insist on vi + prep
 Se empeñó en demostrar sus teorías.
 He insisted on demonstrating his theories.
 
Additional Translations
empeñarse v prnlverbo pronominal: Verbo que se conjuga con un pronombre átono ("me", "te", "se") que concuerda con el sujeto ("lavarse", "irse", "enojarse"). coloquial (contraer muchas deudas)get into debt, go into debt v exprverbal expression: Phrase with special meaning functioning as verb--for example, "put their heads together," "come to an end."
 El obrero se empeñó con el dueño de la empresa para comprar un coche.
 The worker got into debt (or: went into debt) with the owner of the business in order to buy a car.
empeñar vtrverbo transitivo: Verbo que requiere de un objeto directo ("di la verdad", "encontré una moneda"). (comprometer)  (word (promise))give vtrtransitive verb: Verb taking a direct object--for example, "Say something." "She found the cat."
 Empeñaste tu palabra, ahora cumple.
 You gave your word. Now fulfill it.
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