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From Old French via Middle English and Middle French entreprise, feminine past participle of entreprendre (to undertake), from entre (in between) + prendre (to take), from Latin inter + prehendō, see prehensile.


  • IPA(key): /ˈɛntɚˌpɹaɪz/
  • Hyphenation: en‧ter‧prise
  • (file)


enterprise (plural enterprises)

  1. A company, business, organization, or other purposeful endeavor.
    The government sponsored enterprises (GSEs) are a group of financial services corporations which have been created by the United States Congress.
    A micro-enterprise is defined as a business having 5 or fewer employees and a low seed capital.
  2. An undertaking, venture, or project, especially a daring and courageous one.
    Biosphere 2 was a scientific enterprise aimed at the exploration of the complex web of interactions within life systems.
  3. A willingness to undertake new or risky projects; energy and initiative.
    He has shown great enterprise throughout his early career.
  4. An active participation in projects.


Derived termsEdit



enterprise (third-person singular simple present enterprises, present participle enterprising, simple past and past participle enterprised)

  1. (intransitive) To undertake an enterprise, or something hazardous or difficult.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Alexander Pope to this entry?)
  2. (transitive) To undertake; to begin and attempt to perform; to venture upon.
    • Dryden
      The business must be enterprised this night.
    • T. Otway
      What would I not renounce or enterprise for you!
  3. (transitive) To treat with hospitality; to entertain.
    • Spenser
      Him at the threshold met, and well did enterprise.

Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for enterprise in
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.)