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en·​deav·​or in-ˈde-vər How to pronounce endeavor (audio)
endeavored; endeavoring in-ˈde-v(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce endeavor (audio)

transitive verb

: to attempt (something, such as the fulfillment of an obligation) by exertion of effort
endeavors to finish the race
archaic : to strive to achieve or reach

intransitive verb

: to work with set purpose


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: serious determined effort
: activity directed toward a goal : enterprise
fields of endeavor
Choose the Right Synonym for endeavor

attempt, try, endeavor, essay, strive mean to make an effort to accomplish an end.

attempt stresses the initiation or beginning of an effort.

will attempt to photograph the rare bird

try is often close to attempt but may stress effort or experiment made in the hope of testing or proving something.

tried to determine which was the better procedure

endeavor heightens the implications of exertion and difficulty.

endeavored to find crash survivors in the mountains

essay implies difficulty but also suggests tentative trying or experimenting.

will essay a dramatic role for the first time

strive implies great exertion against great difficulty and specifically suggests persistent effort.

continues to strive for peace

Examples of endeavor in a Sentence

Verb As urbanization advanced, it swept away the distinctive physical and social characteristics of the culture of the past, substituting undifferentiated built environments and standardized patterns of dress and behavior. Hand-camera users endeavored to reaffirm individuality and arrest time in the face of the encroaching depersonalization of existence. Naomi Rosenblum, A World History of Photography, 1989
At some time in their careers, most good historians itch to write a history of the world, endeavor to discover what makes humanity the most destructive and creative of species. Paul Johnson, New York Times Book Review, 7 Apr. 1985
The school endeavors to teach students to be good citizens. They endeavored to create a government that truly serves its people. Noun Sgt. Pepper was our grandest endeavor. Ringo Starr, in The Beatles Anthology, 2000
Science has traditionally accepted the smartest students, the most committed and self-sacrificing researchers, and the cleanest money—that is, money with the fewest political strings attached. In both theory and practice, science in this century has been perceived as a noble endeavor. Science, 13 Feb. 1998
The miraculous thing I have to report, a secret so precious I hesitate to share it, is how docilely and utterly the critic in one goes to sleep when a creative endeavor is afoot. John Updike, New York Times Book Review, 21 June 1987
His endeavors have gone unrewarded. She is involved in several artistic endeavors. Technology is the fastest-changing area of human endeavor. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
For these reasons, both physicists and computer scientists have endeavored to map out the exact topography of this three-part quantum kingdom. Charlie Wood, Quanta Magazine, 19 Oct. 2023 At a Senate hearing on the administration’s proposal, Biden’s top foreign policy lieutenants warned that Washington’s rivals will endeavor to exploit American dysfunction — and that Ukraine’s ability to press its offensive against Russia could peter out within weeks if funding is not renewed. Jeff Stein, Washington Post, 31 Oct. 2023 As chilling as the previous reporting has been, Spears’s interior account of the conservatorship is a visceral view of the methodical means by which her family endeavored to eclipse her. Lauren Michele Jackson, The New Yorker, 29 Oct. 2023 Over the last 20 years, a loose confederation of mathematically inclined physicists and physically inclined mathematicians has endeavored to more clearly identify the power of the quantum realm. Charlie Wood, Quanta Magazine, 19 Oct. 2023 Market participants have been somewhat relieved by signs that the U.S. is endeavoring to keep the Hamas-Israel conflict from escalating and involving more parties, Maybank analysts say in a forex research and strategy report. WSJ, 17 Oct. 2023 Hamas also allied itself with its own gravediggers by guaranteeing a furious military response, which has already begun, in which Israel will endeavor to remove every trace of the terrorist group from Gaza. Timothy Noah, The New Republic, 12 Oct. 2023 Civic responsibility: Community members who organize events should assume responsibility for public welfare and endeavor to communicate civic responsibilities to participants. Francisco Guzman, USA TODAY, 3 Sep. 2023 Roseberry saw a reflection of his own progress through demons and endeavor on the way to the unknown. Nathan Heller, Vogue, 29 Aug. 2023
Yet Jousse’s endeavor isn’t lacking in a lick of luxe. Angelina Villa-Clarke, Condé Nast Traveler, 17 Nov. 2023 Here’s some helpful advice to show you how to get the most out of your literary endeavor. New York Times, 16 Nov. 2023 Dive into a world of enchanting presents that will add a touch of magic to your gift-giving endeavors this holiday season. Molly Menning, Rolling Stone, 14 Nov. 2023 Governments at all levels have been spending billions on those endeavors. George Skelton, Los Angeles Times, 13 Nov. 2023 Not surprisingly, taking on Rabanne's most iconic signatures presented H&M’s creatives with one of their most complicated endeavors yet. Tina Isaac-Goizé, Vogue, 9 Nov. 2023 Alex's enthusiasm for and commitment to Europe's space endeavor was quickly withering away. Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica, 7 Nov. 2023 The Latino Data Hub is building out big endeavors for the future, such as curating detailed Latino data by congressional district for the forthcoming 2024 election in order to hold candidates accountable. Andrea Flores, Los Angeles Times, 6 Nov. 2023 Cut meal prep time in half with this 8-cup food processor that can chop, cut, and mix food in a flash, and this five-speed hand mixer for baking endeavors. Clara McMahon, Peoplemag, 4 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'endeavor.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Verb and Noun

Middle English endeveren to exert oneself, from en- + dever duty — more at devoir

First Known Use


15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 2


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of endeavor was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near endeavor

Cite this Entry

“Endeavor.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/endeavor. Accessed 29 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


endeavored; endeavoring
: to make an effort : try
: to work for a particular goal or result
endeavor noun

More from Merriam-Webster on endeavor

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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