undertaking

[uhn-der-tey-king, uhn-der-tey- for 1–3; uhn-der-tey-king for 4]
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noun
  1. the act of a person who undertakes any task or responsibility.
  2. a task, enterprise, etc., undertaken.
  3. a promise; pledge; guarantee.
  4. the business of an undertaker or funeral director.

Origin of undertaking

Middle English word dating back to 1325–75; see origin at under, taking

Synonyms for undertaking

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undertake

[uhn-der-teyk]
verb (used with object), un·der·took, un·der·tak·en, un·der·tak·ing.
  1. to take upon oneself, as a task, performance, etc.; attempt: She undertook the job of answering all the mail.
  2. to promise, agree, or obligate oneself (followed by an infinitive): The married couple undertook to love, honor, and cherish each other.
  3. to warrant or guarantee (followed by a clause): The sponsors undertake that their candidate meets all the requirements.
  4. to take in charge; assume the duty of attending to: The lawyer undertook a new case.
verb (used without object), un·der·took, un·der·tak·en, un·der·tak·ing.
  1. Archaic. to engage oneself by promise; give a guarantee, or become surety.

Origin of undertake

1150–1200; Middle English undertaken; see under-, take
Related formspre·un·der·take, verb (used with object), pre·un·der·took, pre·un·der·tak·en, pre·un·der·tak·ing.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018


Examples from the Web for undertaking

Contemporary Examples of undertaking

Historical Examples of undertaking

  • It was not difficult to find a lawyer suited to the necessities of the undertaking.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • In this undertaking he manifests a preternatural astuteness.

  • But Sir James Erskine looked only at the difficulties of the undertaking.

  • A change to the country could not but be helpful in such an undertaking.

    Casanova's Homecoming

    Arthur Schnitzler

  • Thus approaching her, it is impossible that success should not follow my undertaking.

    Imogen

    William Godwin


British Dictionary definitions for undertaking

undertaking

noun
  1. something undertaken; task, venture, or enterprise
  2. an agreement to do something
  3. the business of an undertaker
  4. informal the practice of overtaking on an inner lane a vehicle which is travelling in an outer lane

undertake

verb -takes, -taking, -took or -taken
  1. (tr) to contract to or commit oneself to (something) or (to do something)to undertake a job; to undertake to deliver the goods
  2. (tr) to attempt to; agree to start
  3. (tr) to take (someone) in charge
  4. (intr foll by for) archaic to make oneself responsible (for)
  5. (tr) to promise
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 undertaking
n.

"enterprise," early 15c., verbal noun from undertake (v.).

undertake

v.

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper