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 entrepreneur (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 The myth of the business reformer rests on two foundations: the business statesman and the disruptive entrepreneur. Kyle Edward Williams, The New Republic, "The End of the Businessman President," 9 Dec. 2020 Perhaps that's why the family has generally remained quiet about the rumours surrounding the KKW entrepreneur; the divorce drama might actually be the main storyline for the new season. Ineye Komonibo, refinery29.com, "Looks Like We’ll Be Getting A Front Row Seat To The Kim Kardashian & Kanye West Drama," 12 Jan. 2021 The entrepreneur founded the pioneering training-data company Samasource and the skin-care company LXMI. oregonlive, "The departed: Heroes, celebrities and rogues, from Oregon and beyond, who died in 2020," 28 Dec. 2020 Here, the entrepreneur shares her thoughts on old Hollywood muses, Zoom etiquette, and countryside style. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "Fashion’s Chicest Florist on Jackie O, Tom Ford, and Dressing for Zoom," 24 Dec. 2020 Andrew Yang, the tech entrepreneur who rose to national prominence as a 2020 Democratic candidate for president, has filed paperwork to run for mayor of New York City. Jason Silverstein, Nikole Killion, CBS News, "Andrew Yang files paperwork to run for mayor of New York City," 24 Dec. 2020 The tech entrepreneur championed a universal basic income during his White House bid, pitching $1,000 a month for every adult in the United States, and stressed the importance of a changing economy brought on by technological automation. Mike Brest, Washington Examiner, "Andrew Yang enters race for New York City mayor," 23 Dec. 2020 The rapper/entrepreneur is partnering with Messenger for Clairvoyant Cardi—a one-of-a-kind experience that will allow users to message a special Cardi B Instagram account and get a 2021 reading from her. Essence, "Here's How You Can Connect With Cardi B To Let Her Read Your 2021 Fortune," 17 Dec. 2020 Pine Crest graduates include the late entrepreneur H. Wayne Huizenga, who became the only U.S. businessman to found three Fortune 500 companies. Anthony Man, sun-sentinel.com, "Barron Trump may enroll at Fort Lauderdale’s most elite high school after his father’s presidency ends," 14 Dec. 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.

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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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Time Traveler for entrepreneur

Time Traveler

The first known use of entrepreneur was in 1762

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Statistics for entrepreneur

Last Updated

21 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Entrepreneur.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/entrepreneur. Accessed 24 Jan. 2021.

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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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