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  1. ready to undertake projects of importance or difficulty, or untried schemes; energetic in carrying out any undertaking: Business is in need of enterprising young people.
  2. characterized by great imagination or initiative: an enterprising foreign policy.
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Origin of enterprising

First recorded in 1565–75; enterprise + -ing2
Related formsen·ter·pris·ing·ly, adverbnon·en·ter·pris·ing, adjectiveun·en·ter·pris·ing, adjectiveun·en·ter·pris·ing·ly, adverb


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Synonym study

1. See ambitious.


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for enterprising


  1. ready to embark on new ventures; full of boldness and initiative
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Derived Formsenterprisingly, adverb
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 enterprising


"eager to undertake," 1610s, from enterprise. Until mid-19c. (at least in Britain) mostly in a bad sense: "scheming, ambitious, foolhardy." Earlier (1560s) as a verbal noun meaning "action of undertaking."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper