• synonyms


verb (used without object)
  1. to board a ship, aircraft, or other vehicle, as for a journey.
  2. to start an enterprise, business, etc.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to put or receive on board a ship, aircraft, or other vehicle.
  2. to involve (someone) in an enterprise.
  3. to venture or invest (something) in an enterprise.
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Origin of embark

1540–50; < Middle French embarquer < Spanish embarcar, equivalent to em- em-1 + -barcar, verbal derivative of barca bark3
Related formsre·em·bark, verb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

enter, commence, launch, board, entrain, emplane

Examples from the Web for embarks

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • So he embarks upon a task which he can never hope to complete.

  • He who embarks goods; also mentioned in some of our statutes as the master of a ship.

    The Sailor's Word-Book

    William Henry Smyth

  • Having saved some capital, she embarks on a down-town tea room.

    The Canadian Girl at Work

    Marjory MacMurchy

  • He embarks on self-justification—a thing one should never do.

    It Never Can Happen Again

    William De Morgan

  • The ship was quickly ready, he embarks the chest in the ship, and they set out.

    Basque Legends

    Wentworth Webster

British Dictionary definitions for embarks


  1. to board (a ship or aircraft)
  2. (intr; usually foll by on or upon) to commence or engage (in) a new project, venture, etc
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Derived Formsembarkation, nounembarkment, noun

Word Origin

C16: via French from Old Provençal embarcar, from em- + barca boat, barque
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

Word Origin and History for embarks



1540s, from Middle French embarquer, from em- (see en- (1)) + barque "small ship" (see bark (n.)). Related: Embarked; embarking.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper