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

Farming, as any farmer will tell you, is a massively complex and involved undertaking. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "There's Real Money in Virtual Farming," 23 Jan. 2019 The debriefs done after each exercise, where students share in groups how the exercise made them feel, can also be a risky undertaking, experts say. Karen De Sa, BostonGlobe.com, "Teens pushed to the brink at ‘leadership’ camps," 18 June 2018 Wrangling onto the ballot by collecting signatures is a cumbersome and often costly undertaking. Daniela Altimari, courant.com, "In Governor's Race, Petitions Are In And The Counting Begins," 12 June 2018 But getting from that idea to concrete policy platform that diverse constituencies can rally around (and a broad array of Democrats can endorse) will be a delicate and charged undertaking. David Roberts, Vox, "The Green New Deal, explained," 21 Dec. 2018 According to the royal family’s website, Harry served in the army for 10 years, rising to the rank of captain and undertaking two tours of Afghanistan. Stephanie Nolasco, Fox News, "Prince Harry 'knew how to save himself from collapsing in grief' during Princess Diana's funeral, book claims," 30 Aug. 2018 In modern Western democracies, many urban residents are resistant to new development in general, let alone such an enormous undertaking. Shlomo Angel, WSJ, "‘City of Light’ Review: The Man Who Lit Up Paris," 1 Feb. 2019 But a clear-eyed analysis reveals that the risk-tolerant company doesn’t have the money for such an undertaking right now on its own. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "The First: Hulu’s new series about a human mission to Mars feels pretty real," 5 Sep. 2018 By Tuesday, Thailand was jubilantly celebrating the rescue of all 13, an audacious undertaking that swelled national pride — but also gratitude and humility for an operation that was an international effort. George Styllis, latimes.com, "From mission impossible to mission accomplished: Thailand rejoices as last boys rescued from cave," 11 July 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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Last Updated

17 Mar 2019

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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
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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More from Merriam-Webster on undertaking

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with undertaking

Spanish Central: Translation of undertaking

Nglish: Translation of undertaking for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of undertaking for Arabic Speakers

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).


to reflect, repel, echo, or resound

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