en·ter·prise | \ˈen-tər-ˌprīz, ˈen-tə-ˌprīz\

Definition of enterprise 

1 : a project or undertaking that is especially difficult, complicated, or risky

2a : a unit of economic organization or activity especially : a business organization

b : a systematic purposeful activity agriculture is the main economic enterprise among these people

3 : readiness to engage in daring or difficult action : initiative showed great enterprise in dealing with the crisis

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Synonyms & Antonyms for enterprise


adventure, chance, flier (also flyer), gamble, speculation, throw, venture


sure thing

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Examples of enterprise in a Sentence

Moving the drilling rig offshore was a costly enterprise. Agriculture is the main economic enterprise among these people. When he purchased the company it was a thriving commercial enterprise. He was criticized for his lack of enterprise in dealing with the crisis.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Tearing your hair out over one game in baseball – or throwing a party – is a useless enterprise. Paul Daugherty, Cincinnati.com, "Paul Daugherty's Morning Line: Cincinnati Reds need the off day, and other MLB thoughts," 12 July 2018 To lead California’s second-largest public school district, a mammoth enterprise of 181 schools and about 106,000 students, is to defy fate. Peter Rowe, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Cindy Marten's fortune: leading San Diego Unified forward while suffering personal setbacks," 24 June 2018 Given the whole running on the freeway thing, the enterprise is probably semi-legal, at best. Martin Fritz Huber, Outside Online, "The Speed Project: A Crazy, 340-Mile Desert Relay," 21 June 2018 This particular enterprise is under the company’s Backlot Project. Deborah Martin, San Antonio Express-News, "Fans can ‘Say Anything’ to John Cusack at San Antonio screening," 7 June 2018 But beyond the average consumer, reliable access to electricity is essential if Angolan enterprises are to flourish. Jordan Blum, Houston Chronicle, "Exxon Mobil touts goals to grow oil, gas while reducing emissions," 30 May 2018 This comes at a time when football as an enterprise is in trouble. NBC News, "Meet the Press - May 27, 2018," 27 May 2018 That enterprise is a collaboration of a company called The Void and ILMxLAB, Lucasfilm's Immersive Entertainment division. Brian Lowry, CNN, "'Star Wars' AR, VR experiences let fans live out their fantasies," 4 May 2018 By 1975, the enterprise was grossing $250,000 annually, according to the Inquirer. Bonnie L. Cook, Philly.com, "Adele A. Barakat, 95, businesswoman and philanthropist," 3 May 2018

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for enterprise

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from entreprendre to undertake, from entre- inter- + prendre to take — more at prize

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Statistics for enterprise

Last Updated

9 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for enterprise

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

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English Language Learners Definition of enterprise

: a project or activity that involves many people and that is often difficult

: a business organization

: the ability or desire to do dangerous or difficult things or to solve problems in new ways


en·ter·prise | \ˈen-tər-ˌprīz \

Kids Definition of enterprise

1 : a project or undertaking that is difficult, complicated, or risky

2 : willingness to engage in daring or difficult action Look at the opportunities here for a man of knowledge, brains, pluck, and enterprise— Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee

3 : a business organization or activity


en·ter·prise | \ˈen-tər-ˌprīz \

Legal Definition of enterprise 

: an economic organization or activity especially : a business organization

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Comments on enterprise

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


not any or not one

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