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

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Other Words from entrepreneur

entrepreneurship \ ˌän-​trə-​p(r)ə-​ˈnər-​ˌship , -​ˈn(y)u̇r-​ How to pronounce entrepreneurship (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 in 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 entrepreneur dropped out of the race after finishing with less than 3% of the vote in New Hampshire. cleveland, "CNN hires Andrew Yang as political commentator," 19 Feb. 2020 Charles Tandy, the entrepreneur behind Radio Shack, started Pier 1 in California as a single store, according to his book. Katherine Doherty And Catherine Larkin / Bloomberg, Time, "Pier 1 Imports Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection," 17 Feb. 2020 The award will be given to the local entrepreneur who receives the most votes on AL.com through Feb. 21. William Thornton | Wthornton@al.com, al, "Voting open on Catalyst Center 2020 Entrepreneur Award," 12 Feb. 2020 The deal also represents a victory for Masayoshi Son, the billionaire entrepreneur and outspoken leader of SoftBank, which has recently come under pressure from the activist investor Elliott Management. Edmund Lee, New York Times, "Judge Is Said to Rule for T-Mobile Merger With Sprint," 10 Feb. 2020 The entrepreneur reiterated his call to remove the federal threat of jail time for those in possession of opioids. Nicole Sganga, CBS News, "Four years later, New Hampshire's opioid epidemic still rages on," 7 Feb. 2020 Besides helping the environment, the entrepreneur says a carbon tax would help finance his basic income guarantee. Steven Pressman, The Conversation, "Democratic plans for raising taxes on the rich: A guide for the middle class," 7 Feb. 2020 The 30-something entrepreneur is at ease among crypto's tribal subcultures, but equally so at mainstream institutions like her alma mater, Harvard Law School. Jeff John Roberts, Fortune, "Bitcoin is too slow. Is Lightning Labs poised to fix that?," 5 Feb. 2020 In an interview with Quartz, the entrepreneur talked about surviving competition from big American brands, growth opportunities offered by smaller cities in India, and the company’s continuous struggle to retain talent. Sangeeta Tanwar, Quartz India, "This homegrown brand is proving that Singh is king in India’s fast food scene," 5 Feb. 2020

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.

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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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Time Traveler for entrepreneur

Time Traveler

The first known use of entrepreneur was in 1762

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Statistics for entrepreneur

Last Updated

24 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Entrepreneur.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/entrepreneur. Accessed 26 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for entrepreneur


How to pronounce entrepreneur (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of entrepreneur

: a person who starts a business and is willing to risk loss in order to make money

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