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

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 \ ˌän-​trə-​p(r)ə-​ˈnər-​ˌship , -​ˈn(y)u̇r-​ How to pronounce entrepreneurship (audio) , ˌäⁿn-​ \ 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 There, public historians also considered the role of the housewife across time and the confluence of our nation’s immigration policies on entrepreneurs in the food, wine and craft beer industries. Beth Py-lieberman, Smithsonian, "Smithsonian Scholars Pick Their Favorite Books of 2019," 28 Nov. 2019 Scammers have impersonated internet celebrities like entrepreneur Elon Musk or software magnate John McAfee. Christopher Torres-lugo, The Conversation, "You can join the effort to expose Twitter bots," 27 Nov. 2019 As the United States heads into a 2020 White House election predicted to draw record voter turnout, one New York entrepreneur is hoping his digital platform will cut election confusion and compel more people to cast ballots. Melanie Eversley, Fortune, "Can an App Drive More Voters to the Polls in 2020? This Entrepreneur Has High Hopes It Will," 27 Nov. 2019 Here in Portland, Sondland developed a reputation as savvy and tough entrepreneur who built a sizeable fortune. oregonlive, "Several women allege that Gordon Sondland made unwanted advances," 27 Nov. 2019 For the last six years, DesRochers has run several incubator kitchens, helping other budding food entrepreneurs grow and run their businesses. Polly Campbell, Cincinnati.com, "'What you have is enough': This lady lives every day like it's Thanksgiving," 27 Nov. 2019 As large farms clear land to make room for oil palms, deforestation and forest fires can occur, threatening biodiversity. Liberian entrepreneur Mahmud Johnson has come up with a possible solution. Emma Reynolds, CNN, "Palm oil that doesn't destroy forests? One entrepreneur thinks he has the answer," 26 Nov. 2019 In 2016, tech entrepreneur Kevin Rose decided to cash in on the trend and created Zero, an app intended to help users track their fasting regimens. Hope Corrigan, Quartz, "The damaging double standard behind intermittent fasting," 25 Nov. 2019 Right now, there are so many startups running in Gurgaon, and all these entrepreneurs are my friends and are on my WhatsApp. Itika Sharma Punit, Quartz India, "MobiKwik, one of India’s leading fintech firms, would rather be a cockroach than unicorn," 25 Nov. 2019

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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Time Traveler for entrepreneur

Time Traveler

The first known use of entrepreneur was in 1762

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Statistics for entrepreneur

Last Updated

1 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Entrepreneur.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/entrepreneur. Accessed 11 December 2019.

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More Definitions for entrepreneur


How to pronounce entrepreneur (audio)

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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