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[en-dev-er] /ɛnˈdɛv ər/
verb (used without object)
to exert oneself to do or effect something; make an effort; strive:
We must constantly endeavor if we are to succeed.
verb (used with object)
to attempt; try:
He endeavors to keep things neat in his apartment.
Archaic. to attempt to achieve or gain.
a strenuous effort; attempt.
Also, especially British, endeavour.
Origin of endeavor
1350-1400; Middle English endeveren, from the phrase putten in devoir to make an effort, assume responsibility; compare Anglo-French se mettre en deveir. See en-1, devoir
Related forms
endeavorer; especially British, endeavourer, noun
preendeavor, noun
1, 2. See try. 4. See effort. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for endeavour
  • They endeavour to find objections, both to our abstract reasonings, and to those which regard matter of fact and existence.
  • Science is the endeavour to increase the body of knowledge.
  • Notice, if you will, the complete lack of academic endeavour.
  • Scientists represent a pinnacle of human intelligence and intellectual endeavour.
  • This is a fantastic and noble endeavour.
  • For him, education at every level is a joint endeavour between the citizens of a state.
  • If he tries to climb out into the air as inexperienced people endeavour to do, he drowns.
  • It signals a change in what has, until now, been a key element of scientific endeavour.
  • It is the moment in a campaign when, for the lack of application and clear thinking, the endeavour is in danger of slipping away.
  • Making officials more honest is portrayed as vital to this endeavour.
British Dictionary definitions for endeavour


to try (to do something)
an effort to do or attain something
Derived Forms
endeavourer, (US) endeavorer, noun
Word Origin
C14: endeveren, from en-1 + -deveren from dever duty, from Old French deveir; see devoirs
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for endeavour

chiefly British English spelling of endeavor (q.v.); for spelling, see -or. Related: Endeavoured; endeavoring; endeavours.



early 15c., "pains taken to attain an object," literally "in duty," from phrase put (oneself) in dever "make it one's duty" (a partial translation of Old French mettre en deveir "put in duty"), from Old French dever "duty," from Latin debere "to owe" (see debt). One's endeavors meaning one's "utmost effort" is from late 15c.


c.1400; see endeavor (n.). Related: Endeavored; endeavoring.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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