en·​deav·​or | \ in-ˈde-vər \
endeavored; endeavoring\ in-​ˈde-​v(ə-​)riŋ \

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

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 The Crossover’s Front Office endeavored to identify those qualities in this year’s draft class when compiling its 2018 draft superlatives. Chris Johnson, SI.com, "2018 NBA Draft Superlatives: Biggest Sleeper, Safest Pick And More," 14 June 2018 The tour will endeavor not only to bring the conversation from Washington, D.C., to people around the country, but also to include others in that conversation. Lucy Diavolo, Teen Vogue, "Parkland Activists Cameron Kasky and Daniel Duff Explain the March for Our Lives: Road to Change Tours," 5 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

For any school, implementing this change is a big endeavor. Angela Chen, The Verge, "Why we might want the school day to start later," 12 Dec. 2018 But if the Knights are any indication, those season tickets will still be a pricey endeavor. Geoff Baker, The Seattle Times, "How much money can Seattle NHL fans expect to pay for tickets? More than in most other sports," 5 Dec. 2018 Many smaller cosmetic brands and indie lines are reluctant to produce mascara at all because getting the technology behind the liquid, the lash wand, and the brush just right can become a wildly expensive endeavor. Kellie Ell, Glamour, "Social Media Is Killing Mascara," 28 Nov. 2018 Finding the perfect home décor can be a time-consuming endeavor, even for an imaginary dream house. Jaime Osnato, SELF, "Amazon’s New Home Collection Is My Vision Board Come to Life—Here Are 13 Things I Want," 21 Nov. 2018 Choosing the perfect holiday gift for the man in your life can be a tricky endeavor—most fathers, brothers, and husbands favor a rare combination of thoughtful and reliably practical. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "12 Grooming Gift Ideas for the Man in Your Life," 11 Nov. 2018 Is this a permanent endeavor, or just for the holidays? Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "OMG Kylie Cosmetics is Coming to Ulta Stores This Holiday Season," 30 Aug. 2018 Changing a tire on the highway isn’t a safe endeavor, and a split-second warning of a vehicle coming your way can be a lifesaver. Zachary Palmer, Popular Mechanics, "How To Change a Flat Tire: A Step-By-Step Guide," 16 Aug. 2018 An 18-hour rave at an undisclosed warehouse in Bushwick, Brooklyn (ticket holders will receive the address via email), is not an endeavor for the faint of heart. New York Times, "13 Pop, Rock and Jazz Concerts to Check Out in N.Y.C. This Weekend," 5 July 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

8 Jan 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)

: to seriously or continually try to do (something)



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

: a serious effort or attempt


en·​deav·​or | \ in-ˈde-vər \
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

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marked by shyness and lack of polish

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