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

As those sources have also shrunk, Unirule has kept going by charging for courses offered to Chinese entrepreneurs who often admire Mr. Mao as an enlightened advocate of their interests. Chris Buckley, New York Times, "In Beijing, Doors Shut on a Bastion of Independent Ideas," 11 July 2018 The short answer, according to the entrepreneurs at Brava, is all of the above. Lauren Goode, WIRED, "Brava Hopes to Heat Up the 'Smart Kitchen' With a $995 Oven," 10 July 2018 Crume and Josh Driver were the latest Indianapolis entrepreneurs to pitch their businesses to about 40 people. Megan Henry, Indianapolis Star, "How 1 Million Cups is helping Indianapolis' start-ups grow," 6 July 2018 Reality star Kristen Doute is known for her antics on Vanderpump Rules, but her role as t-shirt entrepreneur is a much calmer side of the Bravolebrity. Abby Stern, PEOPLE.com, "Vanderpump Rules Star Kristen Doute's James Mae T-Shirt Line Has a '70's Rock and Roll' Vibe," 3 July 2018 The two entrepreneurs, who met at Boise State's business college, talked with the outgoing president about his legacy. Michael Katz, idahostatesman, "This is the day Boise State's top Bronco rides away," 29 June 2018 Share the Growth Breakfast Networking growth group to accelerate innovation and growth in business and education support for entrepreneurs. Mary Lou Cruz, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Deerfield Beach area events July 18-28," 13 July 2018 Blouin first heard about Women on Adventures late last year when founder Zink posted about the company on a Facebook page for entrepreneurs. Lizzie Stokes, San Antonio Express-News, "New San Antonio group leads members on women-only adventures," 9 July 2018 In an appearance at Essence Festival last week, SheaMoisture founder Richelieu Dennis announced New Voices, a $100 million fund for female entrepreneurs of color. Kristen Bellstrom, Fortune, "Helen Rodriguez Trias, Patricia Okoumou, New Voices: Broadsheet July 9th," 9 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

3 Nov 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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