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

Essential Meaning of entrepreneur

: a person who starts a business and is willing to risk loss in order to make money

Full Definition of entrepreneur

: one who organizes, manages, and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise

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 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 But testimony and court exhibits in Ms. Holmes’s nearly four-month trial, which was capped on Monday when a jury found the entrepreneur guilty of four of 11 counts of fraud, starkly underlined her participation in Silicon Valley’s culture. New York Times, 4 Jan. 2022 The 42-year-old entrepreneur left the company in late 2019 after plans for an initial public offering of stock fell through amid concerns over his management style and heavy losses. Konrad Putzier And Eliot Brown, WSJ, 4 Jan. 2022 As a result, investing in a personal brand to support differentiation in a competitive market gives the entrepreneur an intangible asset with multiplier effects, says Swift. Benjamin Laker, Forbes, 3 Jan. 2022 Khalil Sarda is just getting his life back together when the multimillionaire tech entrepreneur Vanessa Noble walks into his life. Mary Cadden, USA TODAY, 2 Jan. 2022 The young entrepreneur soon got his pilot’s license and began leading airborne photographic safaris for tourists. Andrea Stone, Science, 2 Jan. 2022 There are boobytraps everywhere for the would-be entrepreneur, from choosing the wrong cofounder to raising too much money to raising too little. Arielle Pardes, Wired, 31 Dec. 2021 The entrepreneur has been offloading stock since November, likely to bring down a looming tax bill. Courtney Vinopal, Quartz, 30 Dec. 2021 The young fashion entrepreneur played football for Southern Oregon University before launching the clothing line Winners Island. oregonlive, 28 Dec. 2021

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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The first known use of entrepreneur was in 1762

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Last Updated

9 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Entrepreneur.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/entrepreneur. Accessed 16 Jan. 2022.

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