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[em-bahrk] /ɛmˈbɑrk/
verb (used without object)
to board a ship, aircraft, or other vehicle, as for a journey.
to start an enterprise, business, etc.
verb (used with object)
to put or receive on board a ship, aircraft, or other vehicle.
to involve (someone) in an enterprise.
to venture or invest (something) in an enterprise.
Origin of embark
1540-50; < Middle French embarquer < Spanish embarcar, equivalent to em- em-1 + -barcar, verbal derivative of barca bark3
Related forms
reembark, verb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for embark
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Light was not gleaming over the tops of the forest next morning before I was on the beach ready to embark for Gallinas.

    Captain Canot Brantz Mayer
  • Somewhere about the 20th the soldiers began to embark, to the number of 1700 men.

    Ned Myers James Fenimore Cooper
  • The officers promised they would do this three or four days before it was time for him to embark, but they broke their word.

  • embark, and the romance quits our vessel and hangs on every other sail in the horizon.

    Essays, Second Series Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Such was the state of things, when the route came, and my troop was ordered to embark for Portugal.

British Dictionary definitions for embark


to board (a ship or aircraft)
(intransitive; usually foll by on or upon) to commence or engage (in) a new project, venture, etc
Derived Forms
embarkation, noun
embarkment, noun
Word Origin
C16: via French from Old Provençal embarcar, from em- + barca boat, barque
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 embark

1540s, from Middle French embarquer, from em- (see en- (1)) + barque "small ship" (see bark (n.)). Related: Embarked; embarking.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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