en·​tre·​pre·​neur | \ ˌän-trə-p(r)ə-ˈnər How to pronounce entrepreneur (audio) , -ˈn(y)u̇r, ˌäⁿn- \

Definition of entrepreneur

: one who organizes, manages, and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise

Other Words from entrepreneur

entrepreneurship \ ˌän-​trə-​p(r)ə-​ˈnər-​ˌship , -​ˈn(y)u̇r-​ How to pronounce entrepreneur (audio) , ˌäⁿn-​ \ noun

The Characteristics of an Entrepreneur

You might well wonder whether entrepreneur simply means “a person who starts a business and is willing to risk loss in order to make money” or whether it carries an additional connotation of far-sightedness and innovation. The answer, perhaps unsatisfyingly, is that it can go in either direction.

Entrepreneur has been used in English to refer to a kind of businessman since at least the middle of the 18th century, when it appeared in translation of the King of Prussia’s instructions for his generals (“. . . if the country happens not to abound in forage, you must agree with some Entrepreneur for the quantity required.”). During the 19th century, it was also used of a go-between or a person who undertakes any kind of activity (as opposed to just a business).

By the early 20th century entrepreneur appears to have taken on the connotation of go-getter when applied to an independent business owner, a quality that may also be found in the phrase entrepreneurial spirit, which began being used at about the same time.

Examples of entrepreneur in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The rapper, 50, played Freddie Harris, an entrepreneur and founder of Dangertainment, who created a reality show set in Myer's old home. Sophie T. Stern, Peoplemag, 25 Sep. 2022 The model, entrepreneur and cookbook author was surprised with coneys and a three-way from the Skyline on Court and Vine streets following her cooking demonstration at the Kroger Wellness Festival on Friday. Victoria Moorwood, The Enquirer, 23 Sep. 2022 Sandoval identified herself on the ballot as an entrepreneur and community leader. David Zahniser, Los Angeles Times, 23 Sep. 2022 Over the past few months, entrepreneur and author Vivek Ramaswamy has been on a crusade against the world’s largest asset manager. David Meyer, Fortune, 22 Sep. 2022 For nearly 30 years, entrepreneur and aesthetician Angela Caglia has been the mastermind behind the celebrity complexions of stars like Lili Reinhart, Aurora James, and Barbra Streisand, as well as her namesake product line Angela Caglia Skincare. Tiffany Dodson, Harper's BAZAAR, 19 Sep. 2022 Last spring, comedian, lifestyle influencer, entrepreneur and proudly short person Kevin Hart launched his new tequila brand, Gran Coramino, with a cristalino expression. Jonah Flicker, Robb Report, 19 Sep. 2022 The group behind the Gotham Awards has added actors Jonathan Majors and Stephanie March, entertainment marketing and PR executive Lisa Taback and entrepreneur and women’s advocate Dee Poku to its board. Hilary Lewis, The Hollywood Reporter, 16 Sep. 2022 The legendary hip-hop producer, entrepreneur and N.W.A founding member suffered a cerebral aneurysm in January 2021, a potentially life-threatening condition that required immediate hospitalization. Lars Brandle, Billboard, 15 Sep. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'entrepreneur.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of entrepreneur

1762, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for entrepreneur

French, from Old French, from entreprendre to undertake — more at enterprise

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The first known use of entrepreneur was in 1762

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Last Updated

30 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Entrepreneur.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/entrepreneur. Accessed 3 Oct. 2022.

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