en·tre·pre·neur | \ ˌäⁿn-trə-p(r)ə-ˈnər , -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

entrepreneurial \ˌäⁿn-trə-p(r)ə-ˈn(y)u̇r-ē-əl, -ˈnər- \ adjective
entrepreneurialism \ˌäⁿn-trə-p(r)ə-ˈn(y)u̇r-ē-ə-li-zəm, -ˈnər- \ noun
entrepreneurially \ˌäⁿn-trə-p(r)ə-ˈn(y)u̇r-ē-ə-lē, -ˈnər- \ adverb
entrepreneurship \ˌäⁿn-trə-p(r)ə-ˈnər-ˌship, -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

Please welcome and give kudos to Ad Astra, the newest incubator that supports only women entrepreneurs. Neil Senturia, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Ad Astra accelerator gives female-led San Diego startups a boost," 2 July 2018 The event was a joint collaboration between local event producer 2332 Collective and Winston House, a living-room-style weekly concert series hosted in the home of entrepreneur Corey McGuire, who is driving the growth of LA's westside music scene. Nicole Pajer, Billboard, "Winston House & 2332 Collective Make Sure West LA Music Scene Doesn't Fade Away," 2 July 2018 The company has been seeking to encourage entrepreneurs to develop as-yet-unknown applications as well. Rick Romell, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Foxconn will buy Green Bay building, create innovation center with 200 jobs," 29 June 2018 The rapper has teamed with tech entrepreneur Summer Watson, who has worked at TuneIn and Playdom, to launch hip hop app heir. Thr Staff, The Hollywood Reporter, "Pusha T Launches Hip Hop App," 12 July 2018 Attendees can connect with local entrepreneurs and business owners. Allison Hagan, BostonGlobe.com, "Business agenda," 12 July 2018 The stylist, accidental beauty entrepreneur, and, now, icon of agelessness, radiated something beyond great genes and a lit-from-within sunniness. refinery29.com, "Linda Rodin’s Rise To Accidental Style Icon," 12 July 2018 In 2015, dozens of academics, entrepreneurs, and CEOs—including the cofounders and CEOs of Lyft, Handy, and Instacart—signed a manifesto calling for such a system. Miranda Katz, WIRED, "How an App Could Give Some Gig Workers a Safety Net," 9 July 2018 His tech obsession also led to a friendship with Silicon Valley entrepreneur Kevin Rose, which in turn led to a successful investment in Blue Bottle Coffee. Si.com Staff, SI.com, "How Joey Chestnut Dominates July 4, Tony Hawk's Other Major Talent and More," 6 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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Last Updated

22 Sep 2018

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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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