un·​der·​take | \ ˌən-dər-ˈtāk How to pronounce undertake (audio) \
undertook\ ˌən-​dər-​ˈtu̇k How to pronounce undertake (audio) \; undertaken\ ˌən-​dər-​ˈtā-​kən How to pronounce undertake (audio) \; undertaking

Definition of undertake

transitive verb

1 : to take upon oneself : set about : attempt undertake a task undertake to learn to swim
2 : to put oneself under obligation to perform also : to accept as a charge or responsibility the lawyer who undertook the case
3 : guarantee, promise readily undertook that the letter should be securely conveyed— Sir Walter Scott

intransitive verb

archaic : to give surety or assume responsibility

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Synonyms & Antonyms for undertake



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Examples of undertake in a Sentence

He's undertaking a thorough search. The researchers undertook a series of studies.
Recent Examples on the Web Full-size pickup buyers are often in need of substantial utility for work, while midsize buyers may undertake major home projects, and compact buyers are less likely to need to haul sizable items. Nathan Bomey, USA TODAY, "Compact pickups poised for a comeback as Hyundai Santa Cruz, Ford Maverick generate buzz," 23 Apr. 2021 Upon doing so, the AI driving system figures out the driving action to undertake and emits commands to the vehicle accordingly. Lance Eliot, Forbes, "Using Bountiful Blurring To Keep Self-Driving Cars From Telling All," 15 Apr. 2021 As Orlando City enters the final weeks of the preseason, coach Oscar Pareja is focused on preparing homegrown talents to undertake higher responsibilities in 2021. Julia Poe, orlandosentinel.com, "Orlando City plans to elevate homegrowns in 2021," 26 Mar. 2021 Dumas said large farms have the resources to undertake training and implement regulatory and market-driven food safety requirements related to water testing, but small and medium-sized farms have limited technical and financial resources. NOLA.com, "New Orleans, Baton Rouge area Business Briefs for Jan. 19, 2021," 10 Jan. 2021 Biden on Friday urged the Trump administration to undertake an immediate federal response as Covid-19 surges across the country and called on Americans to step up their vigilance in guarding against the virus. Bloomberg.com, "Covid Surge Sets States on Path to New Clampdowns: Virus Update," 12 Nov. 2020 As institutions across the country undertake challenging but important conversations about diversity, equity and inclusion in 2020, people are looking for resources and guidance in these areas. Abby Hamblin, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Get to know DJ Gaines, a San Diego physician and podcaster on diversity, equity and inclusion in medicine," 6 Oct. 2020 All arrivals, including New Zealand citizens, must undertake 14 days of mandatory quarantine and test negative for Covid-19 at the end of this period before entering the community. CNN, "Travel to New Zealand during Covid-19: What you need to know before you go," 16 Apr. 2021 No, Russian trolls operating somewhere in St. Petersburg didn’t undertake this highly successful information operation against the Georgia election law — Stacey Abrams and her allies in media and politics did. Rich Lowry, National Review, "Woke Disinformation Is More Pervasive and Powerful Than Russian Disinformation," 6 Apr. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'undertake.' 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 undertake

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

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Time Traveler for undertake

Time Traveler

The first known use of undertake was in the 14th century

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Statistics for undertake

Last Updated

6 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Undertake.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/undertake. Accessed 8 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for undertake



English Language Learners Definition of undertake

: to begin or attempt (something)
: to agree or promise to do (something)


un·​der·​take | \ ˌən-dər-ˈtāk How to pronounce undertake (audio) \
undertook\ -​ˈtu̇k \; undertaken\ -​ˈtā-​kən \; undertaking

Kids Definition of undertake

1 : to plan or try to accomplish They undertook a trip around the world.
2 : to take on as a responsibility : agree I undertake to deliver your package.

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