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

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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

The streams are sometimes dangerously polluted, thanks partly to a local entrepreneur who makes his money illegally dumping toxins. Jedediah Purdy, The New Republic, "The Remaking of Class," 27 June 2018 Ahead, Wang shares nine practical pieces of advice for anyone looking to become a fashion entrepreneur. 1. Marina Liao, Marie Claire, "9 Tips You Can Actually Use If You Plan to Start a Clothing Line," 25 June 2018 Young, a successful entrepreneur, built stage coaches in Independence in the 1850s. The Kansas City Star Editorial Board, kansascity, "KC's rich African-American history needs to be celebrated year-round," 15 June 2018 Russian fashion insider, street style star, and entrepreneur Miroslava Duma appears in the Mueller report, which was released today by the Department of Justice. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Fashion Influencer Miroslava Duma Is in the Mueller Report Because of Her Link to Ivanka Trump," 18 Apr. 2019 Billionaire Mark Cuban sat back in his chair and listened as an entrepreneur on Shark Tank pitched her product. Marie Milano, Country Living, "Shark Tank's Mark Cuban and His Wife Tiffany's Marriage Is Worth More Than Money Can Buy," 10 Mar. 2019 After making their public debut as a couple at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's royal wedding, fashion designer Misha Nonoo and millionaire entrepreneur Michael Hess are engaged. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Misha Nonoo, One of Meghan Markle's Closest Friends, Is Engaged," 19 Feb. 2019 The League, instead, enjoys deep support among entrepreneurs in Italy’s wealthy north, who have clamored for years to modernize Italy’s creaking infrastructure. Eric Sylvers, WSJ, "Alpine Tunnel Splits Italy’s Populists," 19 Jan. 2019 With only one week to prepare, Lisa Patterson and her family of party planners are given the biggest job in their company’s history: a New Year’s Eve party for tech entrepreneur Megan Clark. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "10 TV Shows and Movies to Watch This Week Just in Time for Christmas," 23 Dec. 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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Statistics for entrepreneur

Last Updated

19 May 2019

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Time Traveler for entrepreneur

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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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).


something valued as if it were money

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