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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 enterprises
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • A consolidation of these enterprises in 1969 reduced their number by half and correspondingly increased their average size.

    Area Handbook for Romania Eugene K. Keefe, Donald W. Bernier, Lyle E. Brenneman, William Giloane, James M. Moore, and Neda A. Walpole
  • It is not difficult to surmise to what enterprises the President referred.

    The Railroad Question William Larrabee
  • Thus does 441 this famous city combine the methods and styles of the Middle Ages with the manners and enterprises of to-day.

  • Another wanted me to buy a paper for him, in which he was to support all my enterprises.

    The Market-Place Harold Frederic
  • He asked all hands to assemble on the enterprises airfield at six the next morning for the flight to Fearing.

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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