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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web Clear principles across the enterprise helped drive progress in other areas as well, including education products, reentry services and investment in new technology. Dave Abel, Forbes, "How Corporate Companies Can Transform Their Business Practices For Social Good," 5 Apr. 2021 The clinical trials enterprise is just hopelessly complicated. Claudia Wallis, Scientific American, "COVID Showed How Trials for New Drugs Could Be Faster and Better," 2 Apr. 2021 Others seek reimbursement for the expenses that Cowan incurred in traveling to Kenya and funding a documentary about the enterprise. Washington Post, "Opinion: Sinclair anchor demands $20 million from charity over fraud allegations," 2 Apr. 2021 President Joe Biden proposes spending $250 billion on the U.S. research enterprise over the next several years as part of a plan to rebuild the country’s infrastructure, create jobs, and outinnovate the rest of the world. Jeffrey Mervis, Science | AAAS, "Biden proposes $250 billion investment in research," 31 Mar. 2021 Ravenell, himself a high-profile defense attorney, was charged with racketeering in 2019 by federal prosecutors for allegedly aiding the drug trafficking enterprise of client Richard Byrd, a nightclub impresario and marijuana boss. Justin Fenton, baltimoresun.com, "Attorneys cry foul over government’s secret recording of defense attorney’s meeting with drug boss," 31 Mar. 2021 The extraterritorial enterprise began on a Friday afternoon when a C-141 Starlifter cargo plane bearing prisoners from Afghanistan touched down at the remote outpost. New York Times, "They Were Guantánamo’s First Detainees. Here’s Where They Are Now.," 27 Mar. 2021 The enterprise receives support from the government’s Zero Waste Scotland initiative, and the $4 million needed for its rapid expansion will come from a combination of loans and crowdfunding. Lindsey Mcginnis, The Christian Science Monitor, "Cacao without deforestation? Land reform in Brazil bears fruit.," 26 Mar. 2021 Unfortunately, the pandemic made the enterprise virtual and kept cineastes from seeing these pictures in theaters, where they are best appreciated. David Mermelstein, WSJ, "Wong Kar Wai’s World Within," 20 Mar. 2021

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about enterprise

Time Traveler for enterprise

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for enterprise

Last Updated

10 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Enterprise.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/enterprise. Accessed 10 Apr. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for enterprise



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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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