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undertake

[uhn-der-teyk] /ˌʌn dərˈteɪk/
verb (used with object), undertook, undertaken, undertaking.
1.
to take upon oneself, as a task, performance, etc.; attempt:
She undertook the job of answering all the mail.
2.
to promise, agree, or obligate oneself (followed by an infinitive):
The married couple undertook to love, honor, and cherish each other.
3.
to warrant or guarantee (followed by a clause):
The sponsors undertake that their candidate meets all the requirements.
4.
to take in charge; assume the duty of attending to:
The lawyer undertook a new case.
verb (used without object), undertook, undertaken, undertaking.
5.
Archaic. to engage oneself by promise; give a guarantee, or become surety.
Origin
1150-1200
1150-1200; Middle English undertaken; see under-, take
Related forms
preundertake, verb (used with object), preundertook, preundertaken, preundertaking.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for under taken

undertake

/ˌʌndəˈteɪk/
verb -takes, -taking, -took, -taken
1.
(transitive) to contract to or commit oneself to (something) or (to do something) to undertake a job, to undertake to deliver the goods
2.
(transitive) to attempt to; agree to start
3.
(transitive) to take (someone) in charge
4.
(archaic) (intransitive) foll by for. to make oneself responsible (for)
5.
(transitive) to promise
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 under taken

undertake

v.

c.1200, "to entrap," in the same sense as Old English underniman (cf. Dutch ondernemen, German unternehmen), of which it is a partial loan-translation, from under + take. Cf. also French entreprendre "to undertake," from entre "between, among" + prendre "to take." The under in this word may be the same one that also may form the first element of understand. Meaning "to accept" is attested from mid-13c.; that of "to take upon oneself, to accept the duty of" is from c.1300.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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