entrepreneur

noun
en·​tre·​pre·​neur | \ ˌäⁿn-trə-p(r)ə-ˈnər, -ˈn(y)u̇r\

Definition of entrepreneur 

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

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Other Words from entrepreneur

entrepreneurial \ ˌäⁿn-​trə-​p(r)ə-​ˈn(y)u̇r-​ē-​əl , -​ˈnər-​ \ adjective
entrepreneurialism \ ˌäⁿn-​trə-​p(r)ə-​ˈn(y)u̇r-​ē-​ə-​li-​zəm , -​ˈnər-​ \ noun
entrepreneurially \ ˌäⁿn-​trə-​p(r)ə-​ˈn(y)u̇r-​ē-​ə-​lē , -​ˈnər-​ \ adverb
entrepreneurship \ ˌäⁿn-​trə-​p(r)ə-​ˈnər-​ˌship , -​ˈn(y)u̇r-​ \ 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

This entrepreneur's career in fashion is just beginning. Marina Liao, Marie Claire, "10 Fashion Influencers Who Run Their Own Brands Like a Boss," 3 Jan. 2019 Second-Chance Super Sabbatical Dominant breed: Tech entrepreneurs who’ve sold off their companies, Hollywood actors between projects, financiers looking to hit pause after daily sessions of Headspace didn’t do the trick. Marisa Meltzer, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Latest Travel Trend? Super Sabbaticals," 24 Dec. 2018 Every city and municipality wants to be seen as fostering innovation, catalyzing startup culture, and attracting entrepreneurs and job creators. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Big cities courting big tech helped define 2018," 18 Dec. 2018 All of our parents were first-generation immigrants and entrepreneurs. Eric Johnson, Recode, "Why Sweetgreen thinks like a tech company," 17 Dec. 2018 Then on Wednesday morning, a Phoenix-area technologist and entrepreneur named Michael Richardson told me that he'd been released from his NDA. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "We finally talked to an actual Waymo passenger—here’s what he told us," 13 Dec. 2018 The new laws were announced in July, three months after Diaz-Canel took office, and generated bitter complaints from entrepreneurs and artists. Andrea Rodriguez, The Seattle Times, "Cubans welcome softer laws on business and art," 12 Dec. 2018 The story of one successful entrepreneur is especially significant because his decline was well documented. Linda Marsa, Discover Magazine, "A New Treatment for Alzheimer's? It Starts With Lifestyle," 16 Nov. 2018 During their travels, Charles attended a young entrepreneurs event, while Camilla went to the Women of the World Roundtable in Accra. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Camilla Parker Bowles Proves She's THE Queen of the Dance Floor in Hilarious New Clip," 8 Nov. 2018

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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Last Updated

13 Jan 2019

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The first known use of entrepreneur was in 1762

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More Definitions for entrepreneur

entrepreneur

noun

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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