Origin of the word
The word enterprise originated in the 1400s and was derived from the Middle French term enterprise, which referred to ‘something undertaken’. This, in turn, was taken from the Old French word entreprendre, or ‘to undertake’. Journeying back through history, the ultimate origins of enterprise can be found in Ancient Rome; the Latin words ‘prendere’ and ‘prehendere’ mean ‘to capture’, ‘to seize’, and ‘to occupy’. Its plural is enterprises, while its derivatives include enterprising, which refers to a person or venture of particularly bold or ambitious stature.
The name Enterprise is one frequently given to military ships, with nine ships or boats carrying a derivative of the moniker USS Enterprise launched by the US Navy since 1775. There have been fifteen ships named HMS Enterprise launched by the British Navy since 1705. The name is also associated with the Starship Enterprise, the fictitious spacecraft in Star Trek.
“The Daily Telegraph‘s Lisa Armstrong summed it up as a ‘stupendously vacuous enterprise.’” – BBC News, Thursday 24th August 2017: The pop stars who have conquered the fashion world.
“Today we launch the first two pages of what will become the most extensive enterprise coverage of any national newspaper in the country.” – The Times, Monday 22nd September 2014: Welcome to the world of enterprise.
“We are extremely pleased to be part of this dynamic Enterprise Center at Purdue Polytechnic which brings together the university’s incredible resources and engineering traditions… We are honored to be part of this exciting enterprise.” – Markets Insider, Friday 25th August 2017: Leclanché North America opens new research and manufacturing facility in Purdue University’s ‘Polytechnic Flagship Center’ in Anderson, Indiana.
1: another name for a business or organization
2: a term used to describe an exciting, bold or important project
3: the ability to create business concepts, projects and successful ideas
4: a purposeful activity
5: a readiness to undertake or engage in difficult or complex actions
6: ingenuity or particular boldness
7: a name adopted by numerous military vessels
View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.
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