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 SpaceX announced plans to send everyday civilians to space as part of its Inspiration4 mission commanded by tech entrepreneur and pilot Jared Isaacman. Sonia Ramirez, Chron, "SpaceX offering chance of a lifetime to join first all-civilian crew to space," 2 Feb. 2021 The serial entrepreneur and reality television star said GameStop holders should take a lesson from Bitcoin investors who held on to the cryptocurrency when its price plummeted in 2017. Bloomberg Wire, Dallas News, "Mark Cuban tells Reddit users: ‘Thanks for changing the game. Thanks for taking on Wall Street’," 2 Feb. 2021 As GameStop’s shares plunged Tuesday, its followers on Reddit got some encouragement from Mark Cuban, the entrepreneur and owner of the Dallas Mavericks. Alex Veiga, ajc, "GameStop shares drop 60% as frenzied rally loses steam," 2 Feb. 2021 In August 2017, Wall boarded a homemade submarine created by Peter Madsen, a Danish entrepreneur and inventor. Ashley Chervinski, refinery29.com, "A Guide To All The Major Players In HBO’s The Investigation," 1 Feb. 2021 The four-person mission will be commanded by Jared Isaacman, a tech entrepreneur and pilot on the side. Catherine Thorbecke, ABC News, "SpaceX to launch all-civilian crew to space, and 1 seat is up for grabs," 1 Feb. 2021 These exchanges led to a collaborative collection of objects and clothing inspired by Ancient Egypt called Udjat (another name for the eye of Horus) and created by Barthélemy and Laila Neamatalla, an Egyptian entrepreneur and designer. New York Times, "The T List: Five Things We Recommend This Week," 28 Jan. 2021 Their significance lies back in the Philadelphia of my childhood, when my 11-year-old fantasies of identity and style intersected with the sweeping vision of an extraordinary fashion entrepreneur and fellow Philadelphian. Andrea Lee, Vogue, "In Meadowy Prints, Memories of the Main Line," 27 Jan. 2021 Last week, Yang, the entrepreneur and former Presidential candidate, announced his run for mayor with a video directed by Darren Aronofsky (Brooklyn boy). Michael Schulman, The New Yorker, "Andrew Yang, Fran Lebowitz, and Who Gets to Be a “Real” New Yorker," 21 Jan. 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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Time Traveler for entrepreneur

Time Traveler

The first known use of entrepreneur was in 1762

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Statistics for entrepreneur

Last Updated

14 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Entrepreneur.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/entrepreneur. Accessed 26 Feb. 2021.

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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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