en·​ter·​prise | \ ˈen-tər-ˌprīz How to pronounce enterprise (audio) , 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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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 Spenard even lied to his family about the legality of his Anchorage enterprises and supposed lakeside homestead. David Reamer, Anchorage Daily News, "History of Spenard: How a squatter, bootlegger and showman gave Anchorage’s most renowned road its name," 18 May 2020 The governor of Surat had the company managers thrown in irons, and cut off their communication with the outside world: Not only their lives but the future of their commercial enterprise in India was threatened with extinction. Adam Higginbotham, New York Times, "The Pirates’ Booty That Changed the Course of History," 12 May 2020 Microsoft has wrestled with the tension between enterprises and some consumers, some of which have argued for fewer, less frequent changes and thus potential bugs. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Microsoft officially delays Surface Neo, dual-screen Windows PCs," 4 May 2020 Second, each member state should be prohibited from distributing bailouts to its enterprises in a way that unfairly bolsters their competitiveness and distorts the internal EU market. Fortune, "Coronavirus is making clear there is no solidarity in the EU," 2 May 2020 Micah, his brother Joshua, and his sister Rachel knew nothing about their parents’ enterprise. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "Reagan, Gay Porn, and Family Secrets Star in Circus of Books," 28 Apr. 2020 In America, health care is a for-profit enterprise. Keith Corl, STAT, "When the Covid-19 pandemic is over, health care must not return to business as usual," 23 Apr. 2020 Key to this enterprise is the Event Horizon Telescope — 11 telescopes spread across Earth that act as a single instrument. Quanta Magazine, "Why Are Black Holes So Bright?," 22 Apr. 2020 LiftFund operates by providing low-interest loans to entrepreneurs and small-business owners to get their enterprises off the ground. Diego Mendoza-moyers, ExpressNews.com, "Local, federal governments rush to help small-business owners in COVID-19 crisis," 29 Mar. 2020

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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Time Traveler for enterprise

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for enterprise

Last Updated

21 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Enterprise.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/enterprise. Accessed 27 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for enterprise


How to pronounce enterprise (audio)

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 How to pronounce enterprise (audio) \

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 How to pronounce enterprise (audio) \

Legal Definition of enterprise

: an economic organization or activity especially : a business organization

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