undertake

play
verb un·der·take \ ˌən-dər-ˈtāk \

Definition of undertake

undertook play \ˌən-dər-ˈtu̇k\; undertaken play \ˌən-dər-ˈtā-kən\; undertaking
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

Examples of undertake in a Sentence

  1. He's undertaking a thorough search.

  2. The researchers undertook a series of studies.

Recent Examples of undertake from the Web

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.

First Known Use of undertake

14th century



UNDERTAKE Defined for English Language Learners

undertake

play
verb

Definition of undertake for English Language Learners

  • : to begin or attempt (something)

  • : to agree or promise to do (something)


UNDERTAKE Defined for Kids

undertake

play
verb un·der·take \ ˌən-dər-ˈtāk \

Definition of undertake for Students

undertook \-ˈtu̇k\; undertaken \-ˈtā-kən\; undertaking
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.


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up undertake? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

all at once

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Merriam-Webster's New Words Quiz—Fall 2017 Edition!

  • young-plant-shoots
  • Which of the following is a new sense of the word bunny?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!