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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.
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 enterprises
  • Debt's rising profitability attracted capital that otherwise would have been invested in other enterprises.
  • He managed several enterprises and worked full time at his craft without benefit of a college education.
  • enterprises of the highest importance to our moral and material well-being unite us and offer ample employment of our best powers.
  • Some forget that government paved the way for many creative enterprises in many ways.
  • However, cloud computing has generally lacked the security features typically required by small and medium-sized enterprises.
  • Since state enterprises usually cannot repay these loans, they remain on the books as acknowledged or unacknowledged bad debt.
  • Pharmaceutical firms are profit-making enterprises, which often earn huge profits from proprietary drugs.
  • We should do away with government monopolies in commerce and industry and guarantee the freedom to start new enterprises.
  • Three of these enterprises in particular seem to be making a go of it.
  • The managers of local enterprises are selected by the government ministries that are in charge of various branches of the economy.
British Dictionary definitions for enterprises


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 enterprises



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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Idioms and Phrases with enterprises


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


city, Coffee county, southeastern Alabama, U.S., about 90 miles (145 km) southeast of Montgomery. It was founded in 1881 by John Henry Carmichael near the community of Drake Eye. In 1882 the post office was moved from Drake Eye to the new community of Enterprise, named at the suggestion of a Baptist minister who considered it an enterprising undertaking. Its prosperity was based on cotton until the boll weevil ravaged the area (1915-16), creating a need for a more diversified economy. The unusual Boll Weevil Monument (1919) is the only memorial in the world glorifying a pest and symbolizes diversification from cotton to peanuts (groundnuts) and other crops

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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