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

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 \ ˌäⁿn-​trə-​p(r)ə-​ˈnər-​ˌship How to pronounce entrepreneurship (audio) , -​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

Many a venture capitalist or entrepreneur in the Valley would sympathise with David Ulevitch of Andreessen Horowitz, a big venture-capital firm, who recently likened his overflowing inbox to the final level of Tetris, a classic video game. The Economist, "Superhuman tries to reinvent email," 13 July 2019 Former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke and entrepreneur Andrew Yang are at 2 percent. Tyler Pager, BostonGlobe.com, "Biden keeps his lead as Warren gains ground in new NBC/WSJ poll," 11 July 2019 Does the entrepreneur in him need to start another company? Jay Nordlinger, National Review, "Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Human-Rights Leader," 11 July 2019 Artists, developers and entrepreneurs have spent more than a decade curating the East Market Street District. Maggie Menderski, The Courier-Journal, "A Day in the Neighborhood: Headed to NuLu? I hope you're hungry (and thirsty)," 10 July 2019 The District, or at least some of its commercial landlords, proved less than receptive to the entrepreneur’s plan, however. Tom Sietsema, Washington Post, "After more than 30 years, Bombay Club is still as comfortable as an old (satin) shoe," 10 July 2019 Colorado’s former and current governor were serial entrepreneurs turned politicians, and local officials have provided resources to help new businesses succeed, things like Denver Startup Week, which had more than 350 free programs last September. Aldo Svaldi, The Denver Post, "Metro Denver businesses mostly seeing green, not red," 10 July 2019 The entrepreneur suspended talks on a $1-billion injection from Saudi Arabia in October following the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Bloomberg, latimes.com, "Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic space-tourism venture is going public," 9 July 2019 The entertainer, actor and entrepreneur continued the activism that has become a hallmark in his career by giving back to those in need. Anika Reed, USA TODAY, "Jaden Smith celebrates his birthday with free vegan food truck for the homeless," 9 July 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.

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

Statistics for entrepreneur

Last Updated

14 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for entrepreneur

The first known use of entrepreneur was in 1762

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for entrepreneur



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).


to form ideas or theories about something

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Bee Cubed

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!