[ uhn-der-tey-king, uhn-der-tey- for 1–3; uhn-der-tey-king for 4 ]
/ ˌʌn dərˈteɪ kɪŋ, ˈʌn dərˌteɪ- for 1–3; ˈʌn dərˌteɪ kɪŋ for 4 /


the act of a person who undertakes any task or responsibility.
a task, enterprise, etc., undertaken.
a promise; pledge; guarantee.
the business of an undertaker or funeral director.

Nearby words

  1. understudy,
  2. undersubscribe,
  3. undersurface,
  4. undertake,
  5. undertaker,
  6. undertenant,
  7. underthings,
  8. underthroating,
  9. underthrust,
  10. undertime

Origin of undertaking

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


[ uhn-der-teyk ]
/ ˌʌn dərˈteɪk /

verb (used with object), un·der·took, un·der·tak·en, un·der·tak·ing.

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.

verb (used without object), un·der·took, un·der·tak·en, un·der·tak·ing.

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. 2019

Examples from the Web for undertaking

British Dictionary definitions for undertaking


/ (ˈʌndəˌteɪkɪŋ) /


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


/ (ˌʌndəˈteɪk) /

verb -takes, -taking, -took or -taken

(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
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
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper