entrepreneur

noun
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

entrepreneurial \ ˌäⁿn-​trə-​p(r)ə-​ˈn(y)u̇r-​ē-​əl How to pronounce entrepreneurial (audio) , -​ˈnər-​ \ adjective
entrepreneurialism \ ˌäⁿn-​trə-​p(r)ə-​ˈn(y)u̇r-​ē-​ə-​li-​zəm How to pronounce entrepreneurialism (audio) , -​ˈnər-​ \ noun
entrepreneurially \ ˌäⁿn-​trə-​p(r)ə-​ˈn(y)u̇r-​ē-​ə-​lē How to pronounce entrepreneurially (audio) , -​ˈnər-​ \ adverb
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

Quite a few of us, from writers like me to Instagram influencers to successful entrepreneurs. Jen Doll, Harper's BAZAAR, "Why Does It Feel Like Everyone Has More Money Than You?," 12 Feb. 2019 Andrew Yang Yang, an entrepreneur running on the platform centered around instituting a Universal Basic Income in the US, announced his candidacy early last year. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Presidential Candidates 2020: Here's Who's Running So Far," 25 Jan. 2019 All of those just cater to these college entrepreneurs, which has been amazingly helpful. Rebecca Jennings, Vox, "This startup for college students is trying to make shopping for theme parties easier," 3 Oct. 2018 In China, meanwhile, Li Zhiming, an entrepreneur, has developed a robot that can cook any of 40 recipes from Hunan province. The Economist, "The rise of the robochef," 12 July 2018 As soon as the show was announced, comparisons sprang up between it and Bravo’s Vanderpump Rules, which also follows the personal and professional lives of waitstaff employed by a famous female celebrity/entrepreneur. Bridget Read, Vogue, "Rebooting Lindsay Lohan," 8 Jan. 2019 That starts with Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, the state’s incredibly disliked former venture capitalist governor, who will be facing Democrat J.B. Pritzker, a billionaire entrepreneur who has his own financial baggage. Tara Golshan, Vox.com, "Illinois results for every midterm race," 8 Nov. 2018 Your host in the audio segments is me, Rob Reid—a long-time entrepreneur who now podcasts and writes science fiction. Rob Reid, Ars Technica, "Ars on your lunch break: Have you ever questioned the nature of your reality?," 2 Oct. 2018 An Outer Party member could reach the Inner Party by chancing into an early job at a lottery-ticket company (such as a Facebook or Google) or by becoming a successful entrepreneur. Antonio García Martínez, WIRED, "How Silicon Valley Fuels an Informal Caste System," 9 July 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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Last Updated

10 Mar 2019

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The first known use of entrepreneur was in 1762

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More Definitions for entrepreneur

entrepreneur

noun

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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