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[en-dev-er] /ɛnˈdɛv ər/
verb (used without object)
to exert oneself to do or effect something; make an effort; strive:
We must constantly endeavor if we are to succeed.
verb (used with object)
to attempt; try:
He endeavors to keep things neat in his apartment.
Archaic. to attempt to achieve or gain.
a strenuous effort; attempt.
Also, especially British, endeavour.
Origin of endeavor
1350-1400; Middle English endeveren, from the phrase putten in devoir to make an effort, assume responsibility; compare Anglo-French se mettre en deveir. See en-1, devoir
Related forms
endeavorer; especially British, endeavourer, noun
preendeavor, noun
1, 2. See try. 4. See effort. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for endeavour
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • My conduct must then have a faulty appearance at least, and I will endeavour to rectify it.

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9) Samuel Richardson
  • If I have not, when my mind is more at ease, I will endeavour to please you better.

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9) Samuel Richardson
  • You may be sure, interrupted my uncle Harlowe, he will endeavour to see her there.

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9) Samuel Richardson
  • I was for going to Wiscasset, like two prodigals, own our fault, and endeavour to amend.

    Ned Myers James Fenimore Cooper
  • This answer we must endeavour both to explain and to defend.

  • Why, says she, I must confess there is truth in what you say, and I will endeavour to practise it.

    Joseph Andrews, Vol. 2 Henry Fielding
  • I did so, that I might endeavour to render you and your family some service.

    Little Dorrit Charles Dickens
British Dictionary definitions for endeavour


to try (to do something)
an effort to do or attain something
Derived Forms
endeavourer, (US) endeavorer, noun
Word Origin
C14: endeveren, from en-1 + -deveren from dever duty, from Old French deveir; see devoirs
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 endeavour

chiefly British English spelling of endeavor (q.v.); for spelling, see -or. Related: Endeavoured; endeavoring; endeavours.



c.1400; see endeavor (n.). Related: Endeavored; endeavoring.



early 15c., "pains taken to attain an object," literally "in duty," from phrase put (oneself) in dever "make it one's duty" (a partial translation of Old French mettre en deveir "put in duty"), from Old French dever "duty," from Latin debere "to owe" (see debt). One's endeavors meaning one's "utmost effort" is from late 15c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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