undertaker

play
noun un·der·tak·er \ˌən-dər-ˈtā-kər, sense 2 is ˈən-dər-ˌtā-\

Definition of undertaker

  1. 1 :  one who undertakes :  one who takes the risk and management of business :  entrepreneur

  2. 2 :  one whose business is to prepare the dead for burial and to arrange and manage funerals

  3. 3 :  an Englishman taking over forfeited lands in Ireland in the 16th and 17th centuries

undertaker was our Word of the Day on 07/14/2014. Hear the podcast!

Examples of undertaker in a sentence

  1. the undertaker wore black clothes and a solemn expression

Did You Know?

You may wonder how the word undertaker made the transition from "one who undertakes" to "one who makes a living in the funeral business." The latter meaning descends from the use of the word to mean "one who takes on business responsibilities." In the 18th century, a funeral-undertaker was someone who undertook, or managed, a funeral business. There were many undertakers in those days, undertaking all sorts of businesses, but as time went on undertaker became specifically identified with the profession of arranging burial. Today, "funeral director" is more commonly used, but undertaker still appears.

15th Century

First Known Use of undertaker

15th century


UNDERTAKER Defined for English Language Learners

undertaker

play
noun un·der·tak·er \ˌən-dər-ˈtā-kər, sense 2 is ˈən-dər-ˌtā-\

Definition of undertaker for English Language Learners

  • : a person whose job is to arrange and manage funerals


UNDERTAKER Defined for Kids

undertaker

play
noun un·der·tak·er \ˈən-dər-ˌtā-kər\

Definition of undertaker for Students

  1. :  a person whose business is to prepare the dead for burial and to take charge of funerals


Medical Dictionary

undertaker

play
noun un·der·tak·er \ˈən-dər-ˌtā-kər\

Medical Definition of undertaker

  1. :  an individual whose business is to prepare the dead for burial and to arrange and manage funerals—called also mortician



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