un·der·tak·ing | \ˈən-dər-ˌtā-kiŋ, ˌən-dər-ˈtā-; sense 1b is ˈən-dər-ˌtā-only\

Definition of undertaking 

1a : the act of one who undertakes or engages in a project or business

b : the business of an undertaker

2 : something undertaken : enterprise

Examples of undertaking in a Sentence

The restoration of the old theater is a huge undertaking. He advised us against such a risky undertaking.

Recent Examples on the Web

The undertaking went horribly awry, almost from its inception, with early reports of children being held in chains or hogties. Carol Marbin Miller, miamiherald, "A victim of vile abuse at Florida reform school, he spent his life fighting for justice," 10 July 2018 The combination of single-market membership for goods with a customs union will preserve frictionless trade with the EU and satisfy Mrs May’s undertaking to avert a hard border in Ireland. The Economist, "Britain’s new Brexit plan is savaged—by its own Brexit secretary," 9 July 2018 The two significant undertakings come after years of financial crises and leadership changes at the ballet, which has had six executive directors since 2011. Matthew J. Palm, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Shane Jewell is Orlando Ballet's new executive director," 28 June 2018 The city last used the COP funding mechanism in 2010 for the Civic Center and Park, a $140-million undertaking that was completed in 2013 with about $17 million in cash and $123 million in COPs. Hillary Davis, latimes.com, "Newport Beach voters will decide whether additional large debts will require their approval," 28 June 2018 Minutes later, the president zeroed in on Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and tasked him with the undertaking of creating another branch of the military. Katie Rogers, New York Times, "Trump Orders Establishment of Space Force as Sixth Military Branch," 18 June 2018 Some estimate the undertaking will cost Starbucks more than $12 million in lost profit alone. Sarah Hauer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "This Milwaukee Starbucks was the site of a fatal police shooting. Tuesday, it closed for racial bias training.," 29 May 2018 In addition to the scientific undertakings, Lecomte hopes his journey will draw attention to the state of the oceans. Author: Rick Maese, Anchorage Daily News, "Six months, 5,500 miles, one ocean: Ben Lecomte wants to be first to swim across the Pacific," 24 May 2018 In addition to the scientific undertakings, Lecomte hopes his journey will draw attention to the state of the oceans. Rick Maese, BostonGlobe.com, "Six months. 5,500 miles. One ocean. Ben Lecomte wants to be first to swim across Pacific," 24 May 2018

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

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

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Phrases Related to undertaking

give an undertaking

Statistics for undertaking

Last Updated

13 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for undertaking

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

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English Language Learners Definition of undertaking

: an important or difficult task or project

: the business of an undertaker

: a promise or agreement to do or not do something


un·der·tak·ing | \ˈən-dər-ˌtā-kiŋ \

Kids Definition of undertaking

: an important or difficult task or project Creating a mural is a big undertaking.



Legal Definition of undertaking 

1 : a promise or pledge especially required by law

2 : something (as cash or a written promise) deposited or given as security especially in a court

Note: Undertakings are often required of one party during property actions (as for attachment) in order to compensate the other party should the court's action (as in attaching the property) be found unjustified later.

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Comments on undertaking

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


evasion of direct action or statement

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