un·​der·​take ˌən-dər-ˈtāk How to pronounce undertake (audio)
undertook ˌən-dər-ˈtu̇k How to pronounce undertake (audio) ; undertaken ˌən-dər-ˈtā-kən How to pronounce undertake (audio) ; undertaking

transitive verb

: to take upon oneself : set about : attempt
undertake a task
undertake to learn to swim
: to put oneself under obligation to perform
also : to accept as a charge or responsibility
the lawyer who undertook the case
: guarantee, promise
readily undertook that the letter should be securely conveyedSir Walter Scott

intransitive verb

archaic : to give surety or assume responsibility

Examples of undertake in a Sentence

He's undertaking a thorough search. The researchers undertook a series of studies.
Recent Examples on the Web Menendez also tried to disrupt a criminal investigation into a second businessman in the trucking industry that had been undertaken by the New Jersey attorney general, the indictment said. Aaron Katersky, ABC News, 22 Sep. 2023 The movement stretches across developing countries and echoes the labor actions undertaken by female garment workers in many of those nations 40 years ago. Stephanie Nolen Tiksa Negeri, New York Times, 21 Sep. 2023 That desire for justice led the Goncalves family to undertake their own investigation, in addition to speaking with authorities, before a gag order was put in place. Ruth Chenetz, CBS News, 14 Sep. 2023 At Thursday’s hearing, multiple community members and housing advocates urged the BPDA board to delay until a broader housing assessment could be undertaken. Catherine Carlock, BostonGlobe.com, 14 Sep. 2023 Rebuilding a brand from the bottom up was a big — and overwhelming — undertaking. Michelle Lee, Peoplemag, 14 Sep. 2023 One such effort to search for evidence was undertaken at the Shubenacadie Residential School in Nova Scotia in August 2021. Michael Lee, Fox News, 10 Sep. 2023 The lawsuit also advances claims that Fox’s board failed to undertake efforts to establish a framework for minimizing legal exposure. Winston Cho, The Hollywood Reporter, 13 Sep. 2023 Read full article The enlargement is part of a titanic expansion in military spending that every country in Europe has undertaken since Russia invaded Ukraine 18 months ago. Patricia Cohen, BostonGlobe.com, 12 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'undertake.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

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

Time Traveler
The first known use of undertake was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near undertake

Cite this Entry

“Undertake.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/undertake. Accessed 4 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


un·​der·​take ˌən-dər-ˈtāk How to pronounce undertake (audio)
undertook -ˈtu̇k How to pronounce undertake (audio) ; undertaken -ˈtā-kən How to pronounce undertake (audio) ; undertaking
: to take upon oneself as a task : enter upon
undertake a journey
: to take on as a duty : agree, contract
undertake to deliver a package

More from Merriam-Webster on undertake

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