- to take upon oneself, as a task, performance, etc.; attempt: She undertook the job of answering all the mail.
- to promise, agree, or obligate oneself (followed by an infinitive): The married couple undertook to love, honor, and cherish each other.
- to warrant or guarantee (followed by a clause): The sponsors undertake that their candidate meets all the requirements.
- to take in charge; assume the duty of attending to: The lawyer undertook a new case.
- Archaic. to engage oneself by promise; give a guarantee, or become surety.
Origin of undertake
Related Words for undertakeshoulder, begin, launch, offer, try, initiate, tackle, commence, guarantee, covenant, stake, pledge, devote, move, bargain, stipulate, embark, promise, contract, venture
Examples from the Web for undertake
Contemporary Examples of undertake
(1) Only charities and non-profits should ask for unpaid workers to staff their operations or undertake time-consuming projects.Rich People Want You to Work for Free
October 20, 2014
“However, it is still unclear to me if the U.S. and its allies are prepared to undertake such a comprehensive approach,” he says.Obama's Iraq-Syria Dilemma: No Force Now on the Ground Can Beat ISIS
August 26, 2014
His gun is available to anyone willing to undertake a few minutes of Internet research.The Assassin's Gun: Internet Liberty Gone Way Too Far
May 11, 2013
Pronouncing illegality, governments will often undertake demolitions of slum houses.They All Fall Down: The Perils of Mumbai Housing
April 12, 2013
She will be remembered as a strong leader and a person willing to undertake difficult tasks to achieve long-term objectives.Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan: The Ultimate ’80s Power Couple
April 8, 2013
Historical Examples of undertake
Who, again, could undertake the permanent care of his mother?Viviette
William J. Locke
No one must undertake a journey in the Lozre with a scantily-furnished purse.The Roof of France
On no other condition, added Nicias, would he undertake the command.Stories from Thucydides
H. L. Havell
I never give up what I once commence, and I never fail in what I undertake!Night and Morning, Complete
Well, I undertake to stand 'em off for a bit; you take the bag and run for it.The Black Bag
Louis Joseph Vance
- (tr) to contract to or commit oneself to (something) or (to do something)to undertake a job; to undertake to deliver the goods
- (tr) to attempt to; agree to start
- (tr) to take (someone) in charge
- (intr foll by for) archaic to make oneself responsible (for)
- (tr) to promise
Word Origin and History for undertake
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.