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

Definition of endeavor

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

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

intransitive verb

: to work with set purpose



Definition of endeavor (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : serious determined effort
2 : activity directed toward a goal : enterprise fields of endeavor

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Synonyms for endeavor

Synonyms: Verb

bang away, beaver (away), dig (away), drudge, fag, grub, hump, hustle, labor, moil, peg (away), plod, plow, plug, slave, slog, strain, strive, struggle, sweat, toil, travail, tug, work

Synonyms: Noun

assay [archaic], attempt, bash [chiefly British], bid, crack, essay, fling, go, offer, pass, shot, stab, trial, try, whack, whirl

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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


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.


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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

And always endeavoring to be unreasonable, Conway was not satisfied with his easiest of algorithms. Quanta Magazine, "A Life in Games," 28 Aug. 2015 But with the latest Wrangler—the JL model—Jeep endeavored to make the door-removal process as easy as possible. Ezra Dyer, Popular Mechanics, "How Long Does It Take to Remove the Doors on a Wrangler?," 31 Dec. 2018 Analysts suggest Butina and Torshin started as freelancers, endeavoring to please the Kremlin by establishing a line of communication with the Republican party to ease crippling economic sanctions. Matthew Bodner, The Seattle Times, "Misfire: Maria Butina’s strange route from Russia to U.S. jail," 10 Sep. 2018 Daniels has endeavored to tell her side of the story twice before this: once in 2011 and once again during Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. Ashley Hoffman, Time, "Stormy Daniels Did Everything But Confirm an Affair With Donald Trump. Here's What She Told Jimmy Kimmel," 31 Jan. 2018 One artist endeavored to recreate fatbergs representing different neighborhoods in London with the nuanced fatberg aromas. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "London museum is livestreaming a key 21st-century artifact—festering sewage," 18 Aug. 2018 Fortunately, endeavoring engineers are busy exploring this area of development and one, who goes by Human Controller, has found the pinnacle of autonomous engineering: a Rubik's cube that solves itself. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "The Peak of Human Ingenuity Is a Rubik's Cube That Solves Itself," 25 Sep. 2018 Most adorably: Pet-wear—a first-ever endeavor in these link-ups—and another capsule-within-a-collection, with Disney. Nick Remsen, Vogue, "Moschino and H&M Have A Few More Surprises In Store For Their November Drop. For One? Pet-Wear!," 9 Sep. 2018 The Trump administration is hardly the first to have vigorous policy disagreements, but in past administrations, those debates largely played out in private, with the staff endeavoring to support the official White House policy in public. chicagotribune.com, "Confusion, squabbling undermine Trump's steps forward on the world stage," 20 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Unlike your quest for love, though, SETI may be a many-generational endeavor, demanding that scientists keep projects going, and keep track of them, for an undetermined but possible large number of years. Sarah Scoles, WIRED, "The WIRED Guide to Aliens," 5 June 2019 Getting to and from one destination is hardly ever a glamorous endeavor—let alone an enjoyable one—on a subway or shuttle bus. Elizabeth Gulino, House Beautiful, "3,000 Flowers Turn This Train Into a Floral Paradise," 21 May 2019 Getting your nails done was an expensive endeavor reserved for special occasions only, like prom. Amber Kallor, Allure, "Olive & June's New Tool Made Painting My Nails at Home So Much Easier," 14 Mar. 2019 Both of those endeavors are safer than Volvo wading into the aspirational market for young Chinese consumers (Lynk & Co) or the super premium segment of luxury performance cars (Polestar). Vlad Savov, The Verge, "The future of electric car design has yet to be written," 5 Oct. 2018 Instead of enlisting a member of staff with these duties, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge endeavor to put their children first. Harper's Bazaar Staff, Harper's BAZAAR, "How Kate Middleton and Prince William Keep Their Kids' Lives Normal," 16 Sep. 2018 The provisions stipulate that Cubans may own only one private enterprise and imposes higher taxes and restrictions to a wide spectrum of self-employment endeavors, including the arts. Nora Gámez Torres, miamiherald, "Cuba imposes more taxes and controls on private sector and increases censorship on the arts," 10 July 2018 For this latest endeavor, Andrei, along with Handel Architects and Bonetti Kozerski Studio, created interior aesthetics that embrace modern, pared-down living drenched in ocean views, natural light, and sea breezes. Wendy Goodman, The Cut, "Asbury Park’s Glam Squad," 12 July 2018 The State Department, normally the clearinghouse for diplomatic endeavors, was silent. Tracy Wilkinson, latimes.com, "White House team visits Mideast to advance its still-secret Israeli-Palestinian peace plan," 23 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'endeavor.' 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 endeavor


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


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for endeavor

Verb and Noun

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

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Statistics for endeavor

Last Updated

25 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for endeavor

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

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More Definitions for endeavor



English Language Learners Definition of endeavor

 (Entry 1 of 2)

formal : to seriously or continually try to do (something)



English Language Learners Definition of endeavor (Entry 2 of 2)

formal : a serious effort or attempt


en·​deav·​or | \ in-ˈde-vər How to pronounce endeavor (audio) \
endeavored; endeavoring

Kids Definition of endeavor

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to make an effort : try hard



Kids Definition of endeavor (Entry 2 of 2)

: a serious effort or attempt He is involved in several business endeavors.

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More from Merriam-Webster on endeavor

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with endeavor

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for endeavor

Spanish Central: Translation of endeavor

Nglish: Translation of endeavor for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of endeavor for Arabic Speakers

Comments on endeavor

What made you want to look up endeavor? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


showing courage and determination

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