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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 of undertake
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. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for undertaken
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Protagoras seems189 even to have undertaken to make this experience of the individual, the stuff of the known world.

    Creative Intelligence John Dewey, Addison W. Moore, Harold Chapman Brown, George H. Mead, Boyd H. Bode, Henry Waldgrave, Stuart James, Hayden Tufts, Horace M. Kallen
  • At the moment of parting he began to realize that he had undertaken a difficult task.

    Brave and Bold Horatio Alger
  • She had undertaken the duty of arranging the funeral procession.

    A Love Episode Emile Zola
  • You think of other duties you have undertaken, and wonder who will carry them through.

  • I was fascinated by the idea of such a tour; but it was plainly not an excursion to be undertaken without care and consideration.

    Gossamer George A. Birmingham
British Dictionary definitions for undertaken

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 undertaken

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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