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 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 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 Rajat Bhargava is an entrepreneur, investor, author and currently CEO and Co-Founder of JumpCloud. Rajat Bhargava, Forbes, 8 June 2021 The country singer, 34, who is one half of the duo Southerland, and the biotech entrepreneur, 29, tied the knot at Front Porch Farms in Charlotte, Tennessee, on Saturday — and PEOPLE has all the exclusive details. Sarah Michaud, PEOPLE.com, 1 June 2021 Compiling author Sherilyn Bennett, who collected the mothers’ letters, is an entrepreneur, consultant in graphic design, branding and corporate diversity, ordained minister and mother of two adult sons, both football coaches. Dallas News, 1 June 2021 Anquanette Gaspard is a food and travel entrepreneur, freelance writer, and social media influencer who uses her platforms to share the beauty of the Caribbean. Anquanette Gaspard, Travel + Leisure, 27 May 2021 John Shoffner, an entrepreneur, race car driver, and pilot with over 8,500 flight hours in various aircraft, will join Whitson on the mission as a tourist. Jackie Wattles, CNN, 25 May 2021 This was not the easiest of decisions for the father of five, serial entrepreneur, social activist, broadcaster, to, at 40, move into coaching. Ira Winderman, sun-sentinel.com, 24 May 2021 After a period of high stress in her work and life, Rebekah Louisa Smith, Ph.D. entrepreneur, consultant and author of Born to Do It: Becoming the Leader of a Business Niche Using Powerful Spiritual Techniques, had a similar epiphany. Lizz Schumer, Good Housekeeping, 24 May 2021 Gibbons, an entrepreneur, real estate developer and investment banker, declared his candidacy for the Senate a month ago. Paul Steinhauser, Fox News, 12 May 2021

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

14 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Entrepreneur.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/entrepreneur. Accessed 15 Jun. 2021.

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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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