entrepreneur

noun
en·​tre·​pre·​neur | \ ˌäⁿn-trə-p(r)ə-ˈnər , -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 , -​ˈnər-​ \ adjective
entrepreneurialism \ ˌäⁿn-​trə-​p(r)ə-​ˈn(y)u̇r-​ē-​ə-​li-​zəm , -​ˈnər-​ \ noun
entrepreneurially \ ˌäⁿn-​trə-​p(r)ə-​ˈn(y)u̇r-​ē-​ə-​lē , -​ˈnər-​ \ adverb
entrepreneurship \ ˌäⁿn-​trə-​p(r)ə-​ˈnər-​ˌship , -​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

Among other things, she's partnered with Nike to reimagine the brand's signature Cortez sneakers, and works with the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) to mentor female entrepreneurs. Katherine Lagrave, Condé Nast Traveler, "Maria Sharapova Answers 37 Questions About Travel," 27 Aug. 2018 In early 2018, though, the company won another $20,000, this time from local start-up accelerator Parallel18, as part of an initiative created to attract local entrepreneurs after the hurricane. Frances Solá-santiago, Glamour, "This Female-Founded Start-up Wants to Rebuild Puerto Rico's Fashion Industry," 16 Aug. 2018 On Wednesday, the French president was inaugurating an Alliance Francaise cultural center in Lagos and meeting young Nigerian entrepreneurs. Washington Post, "Macron parties at Fela Kuti’s New Afrika Shrine in Nigeria," 4 July 2018 Desh Deshpande, who founded Cascade Communications and Sycamore Networks, started the Boston chapter of TiE two decades ago to help connect entrepreneurs who emigrated from Southeast Asia. BostonGlobe.com, "TiE Boston gets its first woman president," 2 July 2018 Now, the story goes, Airbnb allows anyone with a home or extra room to be their own entrepreneur, and create their own wealth. Erin Griffith, WIRED, "The Airbnb Challenger You've Never Heard of (by Name)," 2 July 2018 Kai-Fu Lee of Sinovation Ventures, a venture-capital firm based in Beijing, compares Chinese entrepreneurs to gladiators. The Economist, "The ultimate walled gardenChina has the world’s most centralised internet system," 28 June 2018 In October in Chicago, the foundation held its first summit, bringing local civic entrepreneurs together with celebrities including Chance the Rapper, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Prince Harry. Gabriel Debenedetti, Daily Intelligencer, "Where Is Barack Obama?," 24 June 2018 This riveting documentary examines how entrepreneurs Ian Schrager and Steve Rubell created the legendary nightclub Studio 54 — before their dreams shattered like a broken disco ball. David Lewis, San Francisco Chronicle, "Frameline offers movie feast during Pride Week," 14 June 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 Feb 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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