- simple past tense of undertake.
- 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 Wordsshoulder, begin, launch, offer, try, initiate, tackle, commence, guarantee, covenant, stake, pledge, devote, move, bargain, stipulate, embark, promise, contract, venture
Examples from the Web for undertook
While in pre-trial detention, Krivov undertook two hunger strikes.Behind Bars for the Holidays: 11 Political Prisoners We Want to See Free In 2015
December 25, 2014
The language was not changed until Northrop Grumman undertook to build the aircraft in Palmdale.Is the Pentagon’s $55 Billion Stealth Bomber Too Big a Secret?
September 22, 2014
Only they can stop this nonsense, and it will take an effort as concerted and well-organized as the one they undertook in the 70s.Can Corporate America Break the Radical Right?
October 14, 2013
In order to make some sense of these questions, I undertook a Taxonomy of American Ignorance and Misperceptions.Ignorant America
August 30, 2010
At his advisers' urging, he undertook a gradual and carefully orchestrated campaign to undo the damage.Tom Cruise's Career Rehab Secrets
March 11, 2010
Even she always stopped soon, if she undertook to interfere with Malbone.Malbone
Thomas Wentworth Higginson
The march of events was rapid even for him, who was not slow in anything he undertook.In the Midst of Alarms
Left to himself, Lauzanne undertook an investigating gallop on his own account.Thoroughbreds
W. A. Fraser
Montacute undertook the enterprise on the 19th of October, 1330.Cameos from English History, from Rollo to Edward II
Charlotte Mary Yonge
And after that we undertook another little campaign in Italy.The Boy Life of Napoleon
- the past tense of undertake
- (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 undertook
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.