en·​tre·​pre·​neur | \ ˌäⁿn-trə-p(r)ə-ˈnər How to pronounce entrepreneur (audio) , -ˈn(y)u̇r\

Definition of entrepreneur

: one who organizes, manages, and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise

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Other Words from entrepreneur

entrepreneurship \ ˌäⁿn-​trə-​p(r)ə-​ˈnər-​ˌship How to pronounce entrepreneurship (audio) , -​ˈn(y)u̇r-​ \ noun

The Characteristics of an Entrepreneur

You might well wonder whether entrepreneur simply means “a person who starts a business and is willing to risk loss in order to make money” or whether it carries an additional connotation of far-sightedness and innovation. The answer, perhaps unsatisfyingly, is that it can go in either direction.

Entrepreneur has been in used in English to refer to a kind of businessman since at least the middle of the 18th century, when it appeared in translation of the King of Prussia’s instructions for his generals (“. . . if the country happens not to abound in forage, you must agree with some Entrepreneur for the quantity required.”). During the 19th century, it was also used of a go-between or a person who undertakes any kind of activity (as opposed to just a business).

By the early 20th century entrepreneur appears to have taken on the connotation of go-getter when applied to an independent business owner, a quality that may also be found in the phrase entrepreneurial spirit, which began being used at about the same time.

Examples of entrepreneur in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

On the mezzanine floor of the market, one booth has been donated to two nonprofits that work with immigrant and refugee entrepreneurs in Louisville. Bailey Loosemore, The Courier-Journal, "Your complete guide to Louisville's Logan Street Market with 25+ vendors and restaurants," 5 June 2019 Axovant, founded by biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, is pivoting to gene therapy. Damian Garde, STAT, "Sign up for our BIO in 30 Seconds newsletter," 6 June 2018 There’s no better time in the history of the world to be an entrepreneur than right now. Kevin Dupzyk, Popular Mechanics, "A Former Green Beret Rethinks the Standard-Issue Tourniquet," 16 Apr. 2019 Cavallari is now an entrepreneur behind jewelry and home goods brand Uncommon James, a mother of three, and wife to former NFL quarterback Jay Cutler. Nicole Saunders, Harper's BAZAAR, "Watch Kristin Cavallari's Nightly Beauty Routine," 2 Apr. 2019 Hayek was born in Mexico, to an opera singer mother and a father of Lebanese descent who was an entrepreneur in the oil industry. Elizabeth Day, Town & Country, "Salma Hayek Isn't Going to Let Anyone Define Her," 6 Mar. 2019 She’s set up internships (not the getting-coffee kind, but the sit-in-on-big-meetings-and-see-how-a-company-works kind) at creative companies like design firm Ideo and is advising entrepreneurs and young companies on strategy. Stephanie Clifford, Marie Claire, "Beth Comstock on How to Survive Losing Your Job," 15 Jan. 2019 Clio Harralson Another great part about being an entrepreneur in college is that there’s a lot of resources available to you because people are just excited to help you. Rebecca Jennings, Vox, "This startup for college students is trying to make shopping for theme parties easier," 3 Oct. 2018 That feeling of change is familiar to the companies and entrepreneurs seeking to build new gyms to take advantage of the sport’s expanding popularity. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "The ascent of climbing gyms, and battle for post-industrial real estate," 25 July 2018

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

1762, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for entrepreneur

French, from Old French, from entreprendre to undertake — more at enterprise

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Statistics for entrepreneur

Last Updated

16 Jun 2019

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The first known use of entrepreneur was in 1762

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English Language Learners Definition of entrepreneur

: a person who starts a business and is willing to risk loss in order to make money

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