Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To deliberately begin to do (something).
  • intransitive verb To pledge or commit oneself (to do something).
  • intransitive verb To promise or guarantee.
  • intransitive verb To make oneself responsible. Used with for.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To take on one's self; often, to take formally or expressly on one's self; lay one's self under obligations or enter into stipulations to perform or execute; pledge one's self to.
  • To engage in; enter upon; take in hand; begin to perform; set about; attempt; essay.
  • To warrant; answer for; guarantee; affirm: especially with a following clause.
  • To take in; hear; understand; have knowledge of. To assume, as a character.
  • To engage with; have to do with; attack.
  • To have the charge of.
  • Synonyms and Essay, Endeavor, etc. See attempt.
  • To take up or assume any business, responsibility, or venture.
  • To promise; be bound; warrant; answer for something; guarantee.
  • Specifically To manage funerals, and arrange all the details for burying the dead.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To take upon one's self; to engage in; to enter upon; to take in hand; to begin to perform; to set about; to attempt.
  • transitive verb Specifically, to take upon one's self solemnly or expressly; to lay one's self under obligation, or to enter into stipulations, to perform or to execute; to covenant; to contract.
  • transitive verb Hence, to guarantee; to promise; to affirm.
  • transitive verb obsolete To assume, as a character.
  • transitive verb obsolete To engage with; to attack.
  • transitive verb obsolete To have knowledge of; to hear.
  • transitive verb obsolete To take or have the charge of.
  • intransitive verb To take upon one's self, or assume, any business, duty, or province.
  • intransitive verb obsolete To venture; to hazard.
  • intransitive verb To give a promise or guarantee; to be surety.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb transitive To take upon oneself; to start, to embark on (a specific task etc.).
  • verb intransitive To commit oneself (to an obligation, activity etc.).
  • verb informal to overtake on the wrong side.
  • verb archaic, intransitive To pledge; to assert, assure; to dare say.
  • verb obsolete, transitive To take by trickery; to trap, to seize upon.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb accept as a challenge
  • verb enter upon an activity or enterprise
  • verb accept as a charge
  • verb enter into a contractual arrangement
  • verb promise to do or accomplish

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English undertaken, equivalent to under- +‎ take (after undernim).

Examples

  • With no goal in sight any effort we undertake is worthless.

    Bash: GOP weighs in quickly

  • Because the journey I am asking readers to undertake is emotional and troubling, I knew I wanted a strong narrative pull, a mystery that would add urgency to their reading.

    Mohsin Hamid - An interview with author

  • One visit I have planned and can now undertake is to the ruins of Monte Alban - The White Mountain - in Oaxaca State still further to the South.

    A glass garden

  • One visit I have planned and can now undertake is to the ruins of Monte Alban - The White Mountain - in Oaxaca State still further to the South.

    A glass garden

  • Nice pictures from space -- I hope that the science they undertake is as good as their imagery -- go slow, guys.

    Archive 2004-01-01

  • Nice pictures from space -- I hope that the science they undertake is as good as their imagery -- go slow, guys.

    Archive 2004-01-04

  • Nice pictures from space -- I hope that the science they undertake is as good as their imagery -- go slow, guys.

    View from the Northern Border

  • Much of what we undertake is what we call "pre-competitive research."

    The Competitive Edge: Canada's R&D Strategies for the Global Market

  • One project that business could undertake is the perpetual endowment of, say, 100 chairs in Canadian universities devoted to studies which promote and foster better understanding between Canadians, or between Canadians and the peoples of other countries.

    Centennial Business Is Your Business

  • They have not in any way nullified the effectiveness or the significance of the decisions taken at the London Conference, and subsequently ratified in Paris only this year, but I will say this, that the finest investment in Paris that any nation can undertake is the investment represented by tourists, the free movement of peoples from and to the shores of that nation.

    The Investment of Friendship

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