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 Fulcrum will draw a wide range of speakers, from community leaders, educators, researchers, foundations, investors and startup entrepreneurs. John Gallagher, Detroit Free Press, "Where's the best place to talk about the future of work? Turns out it's Detroit," 12 Nov. 2019 The digital media platform began in 2014 and has built a community of 650,000 young women both in Africa and in the diaspora to include students, entrepreneurs and professionals. Brittney Oliver, Essence, "SLAY Festival is Creating Access and Opportunity for Young African Professionals," 11 Nov. 2019 Software developer and entrepreneur David Heinemeier Hansson took to Twitter late last week to complain about his wife Jamie Heinemeier Hansson's experience with AppleCard. Kate Cox, Ars Technica, "NY regulators investigating Apple Card after viral complaint of sexism," 11 Nov. 2019 No one understands that better than Shay Mitchell, the actress and entrepreneur who welcomed her first child, Atlas, with her longtime partner Matte Babel last month. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "Shay Mitchell on New Motherhood, Self-Care, and Social Media Scrutiny," 6 Nov. 2019 Harris was tied at 2% with Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii and entrepreneur Andrew Yang. William Cummings, USA TODAY, "Trump trails Biden, Warren, Sanders, Harris, Buttigieg by double-digit margins in new poll," 5 Nov. 2019 Afrochella, now in its third year, is a one-day festival in Accra, Ghana celebrating Africa’s diverse culture, from cuisine to contemporary art, as well as the vibrant work of African creatives and entrepreneurs. Shauna Beni, Condé Nast Traveler, "How to Plan Your Trip to Afrochella Festival in Accra, Ghana," 4 Nov. 2019 Similar scenes are unfolding throughout the old empire, as a small army of developers and entrepreneurs use cheap electricity and abandoned buildings—the curios of their Soviet past—to get rich quick on cryptocurrencies. Wired, "The Shady Cryptocurrency Boom on the Post-Soviet Frontier," 29 Oct. 2019 Zelensky’s Ukraine was aspirational, a country of programmers and entrepreneurs. Joshua Yaffa, The New Yorker, "How Trump’s Emissaries Put Pressure on Ukraine’s New President," 26 Oct. 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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Statistics for entrepreneur

Last Updated

17 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for entrepreneur

The first known use of entrepreneur was in 1762

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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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