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, crapshoot, flier (also flyer), flutter [chiefly British], 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

Its founder noted that the agreement only covers workers from Samsung’s chip and LCD segments, and claimed that workers from Samsung’s electro-mechanics, enterprise IT and battery divisions have also been affected by handling hazardous substances. Jon Porter, The Verge, "Samsung agrees to compensate victims of work-related diseases a decade after first complaints," 26 Nov. 2018 Indeed, Microsoft is leaning its efforts heavily into enterprise, recently releasing a platform that lets companies build their own workplace skills with Cortana. Rani Molla, Recode, "Voice tech like Alexa and Siri hasn’t found its true calling yet: Inside the voice assistant ‘revolution’," 12 Nov. 2018 And Musk has ancillary enterprises that lay the groundwork. Kevin Dupzyk, Popular Mechanics, "Kimbal Musk Is Reinventing Food One Shipping Container at a Time," 24 Oct. 2018 But this visit is also an opportunity to learn more about the future of Fiji, your economic growth, sustainable tourism development and social enterprises. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Prince Harry Recalls Queen Elizabeth's Visits to Fiji in His Speech at Tonight's State Dinner," 23 Oct. 2018 Few Armenian enterprises emerged in the decades following the collapse, accounting for the country’s low GDP, which ranks it, still, at 138 out of 195 countries in the world. Niree Noel, Allure, "The Evolution of Armenia’s Beauty Industry, According to Women Who Witnessed It," 27 July 2018 Rather than provide direct royal aid, the king instead permitted the company to hold lotteries to raise funds for its failing enterprise. Jonathan D. Cohen, Vox, "How lottery money helped build the United States," 24 Oct. 2018 One stitch at a time, the Clines sisters plan to grow their social enterprise in order to continue to address the exploitation of women, create employment opportunities and to support individual empowerment. Kirby Adams, The Courier-Journal, "These one-of-a-kind textiles are empowering Louisville women," 13 July 2018 Yet his efforts have not come without a handful of critics, particularly in Portland, the city that gave birth to both him and his enterprise. Mike Seely, latimes.com, "A Washington state town had become listless. Then a bar came to town and everything began to change," 9 July 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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Last Updated

4 Dec 2018

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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).


to enclose within walls

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