• synonyms


[uhn-der-tey-king, uhn-der-tey- for 1–3; uhn-der-tey-king for 4]
  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.
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Origin of undertaking

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


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

Related Words


Examples from the Web for undertakings

Historical Examples

  • Does the human labour-force which carries on their undertakings belong to them?


    Theodor Hertzka

  • But all that will finish soon, for all undertakings come to an end.

    The Memoirs of Madame de Montespan, Complete

    Madame La Marquise De Montespan

  • Any one of her undertakings was sufficient for one woman, but she compassed them all.

  • The undertakings of a contract may be for the existence of a fact in the present or in the future.

    The Common Law

    Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

  • Some he makes sick, while others he causes to be unfortunate in their undertakings.

British Dictionary definitions for undertakings


  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
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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 undertakings



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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper