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

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 Remix was seeded at the Cambridge life science venture capital firm Atlas Venture — where Smith was an entrepreneur in residence — in late 2019. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, 17 May 2022 The San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium says San Diego’s handling of street vendors violates the spirit of a 2018 state law that aims to encourage vending as a new form of being an entrepreneur. David Garrick, San Diego Union-Tribune, 17 May 2022 What surprised you most about becoming an entrepreneur? Amy Guttman, Forbes, 6 May 2022 Since the early 2000s, Getler has been an entrepreneur and worked in communications for tech companies, including an underground detection technology firm. Washington Post, 2 May 2022 Not everyone is meant to be an entrepreneur, and not everyone is meant to work at a desk. Meghan Rose, Glamour, 1 May 2022 Everyone, from writers to personal trainers, is an entrepreneur of the self, competing for the attention of the corporate cool-hunters employed to hurry us along to the next and newest. Hari Kunzru, Harper’s Magazine , 27 Apr. 2022 For example, my employer is an entrepreneur and he is gone. Taylor Wilson, USA TODAY, 20 Apr. 2022 In Le Havre, another staunch Macron supporter, Bilel Benaouda, a 22-year student and would-be entrepreneur, was also worried. New York Times, 20 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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

21 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Entrepreneur.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/entrepreneur. Accessed 29 May. 2022.

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