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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In these roles, Bendfeldt will develop and maintain strong relationships with luxury brands at the center while Remillard will endeavor to sell The Galleria to retailers, advertising agencies and local businesses. Staff Report, Houston Chronicle, "Simon appoints new manager of luxury retail and director of business development at The Galleria," 2 Aug. 2019 De la Torre also announced that the university will endeavor to award at least 90 percent of its scholarship money each year. San Diego Union-Tribune, "SDSU failed to award $20 million in available scholarships over past decade," 10 June 2019 Some conservative observers have cited these past parades to rebut concerns about Trump’s endeavor this week. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "Tanks, But No Tanks," 4 July 2019 Although a full itinerary has yet to be confirmed, in the past, both Harry and his brother Prince William have endeavored to support environmentalist efforts in Africa. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Prince Harry May Meet Beyoncé at The Lion King's European Premiere," 1 July 2019 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Lincoln Yards and the renovation of the Michael Reese Hospital endeavor to harness the desire for urban living to create new neighborhoods from scratch. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "How the megadevelopment era shapes cities today," 30 July 2019 Those who persevere in a field of endeavor from which their peers have been dissuaded seem likely to be bolder or more interesting than their counterparts who face fewer obstacles. Colin Barrett, Harper's magazine, "Letters," 22 July 2019 But perhaps the biggest message of this endeavor is how complicated a modest connectome can be. Karen Weintraub, Scientific American, "Worm Wiring Diagram May Help Us Understand Our Own Nervous System," 3 July 2019 It is produced for anyone who cares about the progress of the human endeavor around the world and seeks news reported with compassion, intelligence, and an essentially constructive lens. The Christian Science Monitor, "What is The Christian Science Monitor?," 7 June 2019 Mini Trapezoid Belt Bag Matter Matters mattermattersgallery.com $448.00 SHOP IT Pack a belt bag to make holding onto your wallet, phone, and miscellaneous trinkets while biking through Amsterdam a straight-out-of-the-movies endeavor. Jaimie Potters, Marie Claire, "Where to Stay, Eat, and Explore in Amsterdam," 29 May 2019 In retrospect, that would be the high point of the endeavor. Ian Macdougall, Propublica, ProPublica, "The Country That Exiled McKinsey," 14 May 2019 In the Hindu religion, Ganesh is the remover of obstacles, especially at the start of an endeavor. National Geographic, "6 surprisingly lucky animals around the world," 13 Mar. 2019 More of his writing and other artistic endeavors can be found at https://stevetrumpeter.com. chicagotribune.com, "2019 Algren Awards: Steve Trumpeter’s bio," 20 July 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about endeavor

Statistics for endeavor

Last Updated

20 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for endeavor

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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.

Keep scrolling for more

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).


to make or get by devious means

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Summer 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-bowl-of-peach-sorbet-with-cut-peaches-next-to-it
  • Which is a synonym of desideratum?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!