un·​der·​tak·​ing | \ ˈən-dər-ˌtā-kiŋ How to pronounce undertaking (audio) , 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 This undertaking, usually characterized as carbon utilization, goes well beyond flooring — to plastics, jet fuels, diesel, chemicals, building materials, diamonds, even fish food. New York Times, 23 June 2021 What sounds easy was actually a mammoth undertaking, which Doyle acknowledges may only have temporary benefits. Ramsey Qubein, Forbes, 20 June 2021 Their parents’ new undertaking offered them a giant playground. Shanti Lerner, The Arizona Republic, 19 June 2021 To help with the colossal undertaking, the Swede has enlisted former Tesla executive Evan Horetsky, who led the construction of the EV maker’s Gigafactories in Reno, Nevada and Shanghai. Rachel Cormack, Robb Report, 14 June 2021 Spector’s departure would serve as an odd finale to Harrison’s ambitious undertaking. David Browne, Rolling Stone, 10 June 2021 Fagan offers a more realistic portrait of the grueling daily grind — and emotional toll — that comes with the undertaking. Washington Post, 4 June 2021 One of the most complicated part of the decision-making process has centered on the enormous operational undertaking that sharing vaccines will require. Melissa Mahtani, CNN, 3 June 2021 Perhaps the most ambitious undertaking in Kenosha emerged from last September’s community meetings. Richard Mertens, The Christian Science Monitor, 24 May 2021

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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Time Traveler for undertaking

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

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Statistics for undertaking

Last Updated

25 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Undertaking.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/undertaking. Accessed 25 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for undertaking



English Language Learners Definition of undertaking

: an important or difficult task or project
: the business of an undertaker
British, formal : a promise or agreement to do or not do something


un·​der·​tak·​ing | \ ˈən-dər-ˌtā-kiŋ How to pronounce undertaking (audio) \

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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