en·​deav·​or | \ in-ˈde-vər How to pronounce endeavor (audio) \
endeavored; endeavoring\ in-​ˈde-​v(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce endeavor (audio) \

Essential Meaning of endeavor

formal : to seriously or continually try to do (something) The school endeavors to teach students to be good citizens. They endeavored to create a government that truly serves its people.

Full Definition of endeavor

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to attempt (something, such as the fulfillment of an obligation) by exertion of effort endeavors to finish the race
2 archaic : to strive to achieve or reach

intransitive verb

: to work with set purpose



Definition of endeavor (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : serious determined effort
2 : activity directed toward a goal : enterprise fields of endeavor

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for endeavor

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Choose the Right Synonym for endeavor


attempt, try, endeavor, essay, strive mean to make an effort to accomplish an end. attempt stresses the initiation or beginning of an effort. will attempt to photograph the rare bird try is often close to attempt but may stress effort or experiment made in the hope of testing or proving something. tried to determine which was the better procedure endeavor heightens the implications of exertion and difficulty. endeavored to find crash survivors in the mountains essay implies difficulty but also suggests tentative trying or experimenting. will essay a dramatic role for the first time strive implies great exertion against great difficulty and specifically suggests persistent effort. continues to strive for peace

Examples of endeavor in a Sentence

Verb As urbanization advanced, it swept away the distinctive physical and social characteristics of the culture of the past, substituting undifferentiated built environments and standardized patterns of dress and behavior. Hand-camera users endeavored to reaffirm individuality and arrest time in the face of the encroaching depersonalization of existence. — Naomi Rosenblum, A World History of Photography, 1989 At some time in their careers, most good historians itch to write a history of the world, endeavor to discover what makes humanity the most destructive and creative of species. — Paul Johnson, New York Times Book Review, 7 Apr. 1985 The school endeavors to teach students to be good citizens. They endeavored to create a government that truly serves its people. Noun Sgt. Pepper was our grandest endeavor. — Ringo Starr, in The Beatles Anthology, 2000 Science has traditionally accepted the smartest students, the most committed and self-sacrificing researchers, and the cleanest money—that is, money with the fewest political strings attached. In both theory and practice, science in this century has been perceived as a noble endeavor. Science, 13 Feb. 1998 The miraculous thing I have to report, a secret so precious I hesitate to share it, is how docilely and utterly the critic in one goes to sleep when a creative endeavor is afoot. — John Updike, New York Times Book Review, 21 June 1987 His endeavors have gone unrewarded. She is involved in several artistic endeavors. Technology is the fastest-changing area of human endeavor.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb In a Friday interview with WISN-AM’s Dan O’Donnell, Gableman called the Arizona endeavor a waste of money. Patrick Marley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 10 Oct. 2021 Before pledging its $5 million donation to support Howard’s center, the MacArthur Foundation already intended to support the next phase of Hannah-Jones’ 1619 Project—a New York Times Magazine endeavor focusing on America's history of slavery. Glenn Gamboa, Fortune, 7 July 2021 The other bolder venture is with Candy Digital, a digital collectible company that will endeavor to move MLB into the NFT conversation that’s been dominated so far by the NBA. BostonGlobe.com, 3 Sep. 2021 Trent Reznor doesn’t often endeavor to produce whole albums for other artists. Craig Jenkins, Vulture, 28 Aug. 2021 Every creative discipline has its avant-garde segment, the makers who endeavor boundary-pushing, intentionally audacious work. Esther Mobley, San Francisco Chronicle, 11 Aug. 2021 Before pledging its $5 million donation to support Howard's center, the MacArthur Foundation already intended to support the next phase of Hannah-Jones' 1619 Project — a New York Times Magazine endeavor focusing on America's history of slavery. CBS News, 7 July 2021 Just as advertisers work to lure new consumers to their clients’ products, and journalists endeavor to attract new readers to their stories, the primary task of public relations is to get your clients noticed. Dawn Ennis, Forbes, 23 June 2021 The Harvard Law Library would, in turn, endeavor to keep a physical copy of everything—ideally every law and case from everywhere—for just that purpose. Jonathan Zittrain, The Atlantic, 30 June 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Some runners see marathons as a bucket-list, one-and-done endeavor. Phil Wahba, Fortune, 10 Oct. 2021 The software overhaul, known as the enterprise resource planning project, was pitched in 2016 as a two-year $25 million endeavor. Courtney Astolfi, cleveland, 5 Oct. 2021 Nomi Health and other tech companies behind TestUtah at first cast their plan as a philanthropic endeavor but quickly changed course. Bethany Rodgers, The Salt Lake Tribune, 1 Sep. 2021 That would seal the quorum break as a worthwhile endeavor. Dallas News, 6 Aug. 2021 Critics believe untold other drillings have gone unreported in volcanic landscapes across the West since paleomagnetic studies emerged as an important scientific endeavor in the 1950s. Los Angeles Times, 19 July 2021 But Powell Jobs, who has a net worth of around $22 billion, did not buy The Atlantic as a philanthropic endeavor, three sources familiar with her thinking said. NBC News, 13 July 2021 However, unlike Watchmen, Lovecraft Country was never destined to be a one-off, and the Emmys might be the key to unlocking its true destiny as HBO's next sprawling endeavor following Game of Thrones. Ineye Komonibo, refinery29.com, 13 July 2021 And Republicans will try to characterize it as a partisan endeavor. ABC News, 30 May 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'endeavor.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of endeavor


15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 2


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for endeavor

Verb and Noun

Middle English endeveren to exert oneself, from en- + dever duty — more at devoir

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About endeavor

Time Traveler for endeavor

Time Traveler

The first known use of endeavor was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near endeavor

endear to


Endeavor River pear

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for endeavor

Last Updated

13 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Endeavor.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/endeavor. Accessed 20 Oct. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon
Seen & Heard
People are talking about

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for endeavor


en·​deav·​or | \ in-ˈde-vər How to pronounce endeavor (audio) \
endeavored; endeavoring

Kids Definition of endeavor

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to make an effort : try hard



Kids Definition of endeavor (Entry 2 of 2)

: a serious effort or attempt He is involved in several business endeavors.

More from Merriam-Webster on endeavor

Nglish: Translation of endeavor for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of endeavor for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Dog Words Quiz

  • shiba puppy more or less demanding cuddles
  • Which of the following animals has a dog in its etymology?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!