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

The three-time Grammy winner allegedly had an enterprise that included managers, bodyguards and drivers, all of whom recruited women and girls as far back as 1999. Jericka Duncan, CBS News, "R. Kelly accused of paying off alleged victims to avoid investigators," 12 July 2019 It was still allowed on the App Store in a variety of enterprise-level apps after Apple’s rule change, despite using the exact same technology and seemingly putting their users at the same purported risk. Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge, "Apple restores banned parental control app OurPact to the App Store," 12 July 2019 In Richardson, most of the available jobs are in customer service, claims and enterprise technology. Kara Carlson, Dallas News, "To fill 1,200 jobs in Richardson, State Farm turns to technology for a virtual job fair," 11 July 2019 Profitable social impact Given the human impact of their work, health-tech startups are often categorized as social enterprises and are expected to seek early funding mainly from grant and donor sources. Yomi Kazeem, Quartz Africa, "Startups trying to fix Nigeria’s broken healthcare system are winning global investor interest," 10 July 2019 Participants like the Chinese investors who filed the suit must either invest at least $500,000 in a business in a high-unemployment or rural area, or $1 million for enterprises in other areas. Ethan Baron, The Mercury News, "Chinese investors seeking green cards claim Silicon Valley businesswoman scammed more than $45 million," 1 July 2019 During his reign, 9,000 state enterprises were started. David Segal, New York Times, "A Monster to History, Stalin Is a Tourist Magnet in His Hometown," 30 June 2019 The trade war has also coincided with the US government's implementation of an export ban against telecom equipment giant Huawei and five other Chinese enterprises. Clare Duffy, CNN, "Big Tech has a lot to lose in the Trump-Xi Jinping talks," 27 June 2019 The organization has launched enterprises such as the 60-acre urban innovation district 16 Tech, a mixed-use development of housing, retail and office space currently under construction near Indiana Avenue and West 16th Street. Alexandria Burris, Indianapolis Star, "Ex-Lilly executive tapped to lead BioCrossroads," 26 June 2019

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

17 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for enterprise

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

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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

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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).


something desired as essential

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