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

transitive verb

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

intransitive verb

archaic : to give surety or assume responsibility

Examples of undertake in a Sentence

He's undertaking a thorough search. The researchers undertook a series of studies.
Recent Examples on the Web Sawai understood why her character undertook the brutal act. Jake Kring-Schreifels, Washington Post, 17 Apr. 2024 This is all usually undertaken to protect sheep and cattle and grow mule-deer herds for hunters. Wendy Keefover, The Denver Post, 17 Apr. 2024 More broadly, the Costume Institute has undertaken a careful study of postures, perfumes, habits, and mores in the milieus where the garments first lived. Nathan Heller, Vogue, 17 Apr. 2024 In addition to being a political advocacy group, the N.R.A. undertakes activities related to gun safety training and marksmanship that would be considered a legitimate use of foundation funds. Danny Hakim, New York Times, 17 Apr. 2024 At the time, and in the intervening two years, the willingness either to undertake high-stakes diplomacy or to truly commit to come to Ukraine’s defense in the future has been notably absent in Washington and European capitals. Samuel Charap, Foreign Affairs, 16 Apr. 2024 Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of the document in which they are contained, and Monogram Orthopaedics Inc. does not undertake any duty to update any forward-looking statements except as may be required by law. Miami Herald, 11 Apr. 2024 Audits and reports are not a guarantee of quality and are admittedly imperfect tools, but undertaking them in a meaningful way is still valuable. PCMAG, 11 Apr. 2024 In Munich, companies including OpenAI, Apple, Meta, Microsoft, TikTok, Google, X, and others announced a compact to undertake measures to protect elections as America and other countries go to the polls in 2024. Mekela Panditharatne, TIME, 10 Apr. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'undertake.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near undertake

Cite this Entry

“Undertake.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/undertake. Accessed 24 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


un·​der·​take ˌən-dər-ˈtāk How to pronounce undertake (audio)
undertook -ˈtu̇k How to pronounce undertake (audio) ; undertaken -ˈtā-kən How to pronounce undertake (audio) ; undertaking
: to take upon oneself as a task : enter upon
undertake a journey
: to take on as a duty : agree, contract
undertake to deliver a package

More from Merriam-Webster on undertake

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