undertake

[uhn-der-teyk]
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; Middle English undertaken; see under-, take

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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World English Dictionary
undertake (ˌʌndəˈteɪk)
 
vb (foll by for) , -takes, -taking, -took, -taken
1.  (tr) to contract to or commit oneself to (something) or (to do something): to undertake a job; to undertake to deliver the goods
2.  (tr) to attempt to; agree to start
3.  (tr) to take (someone) in charge
4.  archaic to make oneself responsible (for)
5.  (tr) to promise

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

undertake
c.1200, "to entrap," in the same sense as O.E. underniman (cf. Du. ondernemen, Ger. unternehmen), of which it is a partial loan-translation, from under + take. Cf. also Fr. 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. Undertaking "enterprise" is recorded from early 15c.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Eggleston had undertaken it without realizing its greatness.
While there should be no surrender of principle, our task must be undertaken
  wisely and without heedless vindictiveness.
Nor was it undertaken with the narrow ambition of the pedant.
Predictions for the world's second-most-populous continent should be undertaken
  with caution.
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