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

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 Diego is now the third generation of Parejas to undertake professional soccer, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather. Mike Gramajo, Orlando Sentinel, 29 Apr. 2022 The discovery of Prince’s true plan pushes Chuck to undertake his most dangerous gambit yet — one final all-in gamble. Rodney Ho, ajc, 3 Apr. 2022 The health care community should capture this opportunity and undertake this work without delay. Amol Navathe, STAT, 30 Mar. 2022 Elliott also said the company needs to undertake a strategic review of its operations and consider selling assets, including the more than 1,800 Petro-Canada gas stations the company owns across Canada. Vipal Monga, WSJ, 28 Apr. 2022 Although Queen Elizabeth has continued to undertake light duties and hold virtual audiences from Windsor Castle, her public outings have grown increasingly rare amid a number of health setbacks. Phil Boucher, PEOPLE.com, 18 Apr. 2022 But ahead of Air Force One's arrival in Europe, the administration previewed a number of new efforts the US will undertake or consider to respond to Russia. Maegan Vazquez, CNN, 24 Mar. 2022 Five friends flee their burning village and undertake an epic adventure in Book One of the Wheel of Time series. Washington Post, 10 Mar. 2022 But that does not mean Russia’s military cannot undertake a powerful new assault in eastern Ukraine. New York Times, 6 Apr. 2022 See More

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, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

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Time Traveler for undertake

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

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Last Updated

18 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Undertake.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/undertake. Accessed 27 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for undertake


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.

More from Merriam-Webster on undertake

Nglish: Translation of undertake for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of undertake for Arabic Speakers


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