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

Keep scrolling for more

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 How would the 65-year-old St. Cloud entrepreneur get her flea market goods to her destination another 150 miles to Sioux Falls in time for display the next morning? Paul Walsh, Star Tribune, "Roadside rescue in small-town Minnesota defies a larger divide," 20 Oct. 2020 Russell isn’t the only young entrepreneur to hit billionaire status through a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, merger this year. Jack Pitcher, Bloomberg.com, "SPAC Deal Will Make 25-Year-Old Luminar Founder a Billionaire," 19 Oct. 2020 Matan Schejter, the Israeli entrepreneur behind the new Hummus Bodega in the Richmond District, says that customers who try zhoug once come back for it again and again. Flora Tsapovsky, SFChronicle.com, "Bright Yemeni hot sauce zhoug is racing its way through Bay Area restaurants," 15 Oct. 2020 Everything was perfect, from the backdrop with crystal clear water and palm tree (standard), to the entrepreneur’s natural glow and beaming smile. Claire Gillespie, Health.com, "Elizabeth Hurley's Age-Defying Swimsuit Photo Has Gone Viral—Here's What She Does to Look So Amazing at 55," 14 Oct. 2020 Today, Memory is a children’s book publisher in his hometown of Portland, as the entrepreneur behind A Kids Book About, which just celebrated its one-year anniversary. oregonlive, "Meet A Kids Book About, a Portland publisher that aims to help families talk about challenging topics," 13 Oct. 2020 The entrepreneur posted this photo of her new mani to her Instagram Stories. Angela Trakoshis, Allure, "Kylie Jenner's Latest Manicure Is So Long She “Can’t Function”," 8 Oct. 2020 To help bolster the finances of the airline and other companies, the entrepreneur sold around $500 million of shares in Virgin Galactic, a space tourism business. Stanley Reed, New York Times, "Britain Is Getting Ready for Its Space Race," 6 Oct. 2020 But that’s exactly what happened when the 31-year-old entrepreneur was approached by her alma mater, Brighter Horizons Academy of Garland. Rifat Malik, Dallas News, "Wearing it well: Alumna redesigns Islamic school’s uniforms with modesty in mind," 1 Oct. 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about entrepreneur

Time Traveler for entrepreneur

Time Traveler

The first known use of entrepreneur was in 1762

See more words from the same year

Statistics for entrepreneur

Last Updated

23 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Entrepreneur.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/entrepreneur. Accessed 29 Oct. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on entrepreneur

What made you want to look up entrepreneur? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Here Be Dragons: A Creature Identification Quiz

  • monster werewolf photo
  • Which is a synonym of werewolf?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!