- 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
Examples from the Web for 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
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.