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 is a major undertaking, involving 78 teams in six sports. Matt Goul, cleveland, "OHSAA reaffirms ‘scrimmages’ between multiple schools is not permitted during ‘Phase 2’," 19 June 2020 But that funding, which was a $6.5 million undertaking, is 20 years old. Amber Hunt, Cincinnati.com, "The trouble with Marge: A city grapples with one woman's loathsome legacy and her largesse," 18 June 2020 Between getting the recipes online and organizing submissions, which include images and videos, the undertaking has become far more time-consuming. Anh-minh Le, SFChronicle.com, "Bay Area community gathers around a mystery recipe box," 12 June 2020 But cooking 200 meals a day is a massive undertaking, especially with three children, including a toddler and a baby, at home. Aya Batrawy, The Christian Science Monitor, "How an unemployed mother is feeding Dubai's jobless migrants," 11 June 2020 City Manager Morad Kabiri said the repairs are a welcome undertaking. Ted Dunnam, Houston Chronicle, "Blackhawk work nears completion in Friendswood," 4 June 2020 The plan is a massive undertaking that will reportedly require 15,000 tests for the coronavirus, rapid processing of those tests and contingencies for players and staff who test positive. Dan Woike, Los Angeles Times, "NBA plans for a July 31 return, with 22 teams resuming season in Orlando," 3 June 2020 Testing all Oregon senior care home staff and residents for the coronavirus even once would be a massive undertaking, given the state’s limited capacity to collect samples and process tests. oregonlive, "Oregon mum on senior care coronavirus testing despite federal call, private assurance by DHS director," 2 June 2020 Preserving what’s left is going to be a major undertaking. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Archaeologists in Norway are about to dig up a Viking ship," 28 May 2020

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

24 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Undertaking.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/undertaking. Accessed 2 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for undertaking


How to pronounce undertaking (audio)

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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