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[en-ter-prahyz] /ˈɛn tərˌpraɪz/
a project undertaken or to be undertaken, especially one that is important or difficult or that requires boldness or energy:
To keep the peace is a difficult enterprise.
a plan for such a project.
participation or engagement in such projects:
Our country was formed by the enterprise of resolute men and women.
boldness or readiness in undertaking; adventurous spirit; ingenuity.
a company organized for commercial purposes; business firm.
(initial capital letter) Military. the first nuclear-powered U.S. aircraft carrier, commissioned in 1961, with a displacement of 89,000 tons (80,723 metric tons) and eight reactors.
(initial capital letter, italics) U.S. Aerospace. the first space shuttle, used for atmospheric flight and landing tests.
Origin of enterprise
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English < Middle French, noun use of feminine of entrepris (past participle of entreprendre to undertake) < Latin inter- inter- + prēnsus grasped, seized, contraction of prehēnsus, equivalent to pre- pre- + hend- take hold of + -tus past participle suffix
Related forms
enterpriseless, adjective
1. plan, undertaking, venture. 4. drive, aggressiveness, push, ambition.


[en-ter-prahyz] /ˈɛn tərˌpraɪz/
a city in S Alabama. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for enterprise
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It is an American enterprise, with British and Mexican associations.

    Mexico Charles Reginald Enock
  • If he failed in one enterprise he would start off on another.

    The Foolish Lovers St. John G. Ervine
  • He was afraid the chiefest places of his enterprise might be attempted, and he should be undone.

    Sir Walter Ralegh William Stebbing
  • There was both a scarcity of cash and a lack of faith in the enterprise.

  • Their enterprise, energy, and thrift made them natural leaders in the community.

    Historic Homes Mary H. Northend
British Dictionary definitions for enterprise


a project or undertaking, esp one that requires boldness or effort
participation in such projects
readiness to embark on new ventures; boldness and energy
  1. initiative in business
  2. (as modifier): the enterprise culture
a business unit; a company or firm
Derived Forms
enterpriser, noun
Word Origin
C15: from Old French entreprise (n), from entreprendre from entre- between (from Latin: inter-) + prendre to take, from Latin prehendere to grasp
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 enterprise

early 15c., "an undertaking," from Old French enterprise "an undertaking," noun use of fem. past participle of entreprendre "undertake, take in hand," from entre- "between" (see entre-) + prendre "to take," contraction of prehendere (see prehensile). Abstract sense of "readiness to undertake challenges, spirit of daring" is from late 15c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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enterprise in Technology

A business, generally a large one.

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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Idioms and Phrases with enterprise


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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