Main definitions of undertake in English

: undertake1undertake2

undertake1

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1 Commit oneself to and begin (an enterprise or responsibility); take on:

    ‘a firm of builders undertook the construction work’
    • ‘This is a mammoth project undertaken by a very committed and brave team of artists and technicians.’
    • ‘To undertake the duties and responsibilities of a platoon sergeant, you are expected to be at the top of your game.’
    • ‘And despite all the pain I can honestly say that, looking back, I'm glad I did and I'm proud I undertook the whole enterprise.’
    • ‘He said the charity has taken on a serious commitment and undertaken a legal obligation with the trust.’
    • ‘It is particularly important, when undertaking this challenging project, that you read all sections before picking up your tools and getting to work.’
    • ‘There seems to be no one prepared to undertake the responsibility of deciding the long term position.’
    • ‘All of their Lordships spoke in terms of one party having assumed or undertaken a responsibility towards the other.’
    • ‘When I became president two-and-a-half years ago I undertook a duty and responsibility.’
    • ‘No state in its right mind would undertake such responsibilities.’
    • ‘She refused to undertake any enterprise without his involvement.’
    • ‘Resolve in the face of doubt, if it is a virtue at all, is a virtue even when one has undertaken an enterprise in error.’
    • ‘In addition, Jill undertook responsibility for departmental rota organisation, a role she continued on a voluntary basis for several months post retirement.’
    • ‘She is the ideal commissioner to undertake the responsibilities inherent in this bill.’
    • ‘This project was undertaken in response to a direct request by a group of non-nationals.’
    • ‘If you know how to do PR or advertising, but do not know your media, then someone else should be undertaking the campaign who does.’
    • ‘The primary insurers, however, undertook responsibility for legal expenses in full without limit.’
    • ‘They are the students who enjoy undertaking these responsibilities, and kudos to them for doing so; they enrich campus life for the students who get involved in any of those activities.’
    • ‘Interns in our internship program undertake projects and engage in research and writing.’
    • ‘The troops are overstretched and forced to stay on longer than planned and undertake responsibilities beyond their capacity.’
    • ‘He must undertake great enterprises that allow him to display his abilities.’
    tackle, take on, take on oneself, take up, accept, shoulder, handle, assume, manage, deal with, take responsibility for, take forward, be responsible for
    engage in, become involved in, take part in, participate in, devote oneself to, concentrate on, address oneself to, turn one's hand to, go about, set about, approach, get down to, get to grips with
    launch into, enter on, begin, start, embark on, venture on
    attempt, try, endeavour
    get cracking on, have a crack at, have a go at, have a shot at, have a stab at, give something a whirl
    commence, essay
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1[usually with infinitive] Promise to do a particular thing:
      ‘the firm undertook to keep price increases to a minimum’
      • ‘He also undertook to consult State and territory governments about treaties, at least where the provisions potentially impacted State powers.’
      • ‘Mr Watson says he raised the issue last year in a submission to the regional council and it undertook to review the charges, but there has been no progress.’
      • ‘When it became clear no one was going to budge, some in the majority undertook to challenge the minority on their understanding of reasonable doubt.’
      • ‘Due to recent government cutbacks to the service, the staff at the centre undertook to raise cash in the first fundraising event since the early 1990s.’
      • ‘Instead, the council's executive board undertook to call an emergency meeting pending further reports into the mechanisms of the loan.’
      • ‘The protection of witnesses has been the latest measure the Interior Ministry undertook to offset the current wave of violence.’
      • ‘Less well known is that the jobs he undertook to pay his way through his degree included a whaling trip to the Arctic, an experience that left him with a lifelong taste for adventure.’
      • ‘After a two-hour meeting, a number of Kilkenny county councillors present undertook to raise the matter at their next Council meeting.’
      • ‘On his return he opened a local hall and undertook to create a place where locals could gather and meet, a facility that wasn't available at the time.’
      • ‘The Minister undertook to pursue the unfilled vacancy issue and I am pleased about that.’
      • ‘This is a general contractual principle - whenever anyone undertakes to secure a particular end, failure to do so is breach of contract.’
      • ‘She hoped they could be of assistance to one another and she undertook to investigate some issues raised by members during the discussion afterwards.’
      • ‘He added he, too, was unhappy with what was written in the bulletin and he undertook to investigate the matter and report back to members at their next meeting.’
      • ‘As far back as 1996, the then government undertook to implement legislation aimed at bringing effective and appropriate regulation to the sector.’
      • ‘The members undertook to examine the plan in detail over the Christmas period and are due to meet with the consultants for further discussions early in the new year.’
      • ‘Some institutions have undertaken to provide the participants with caps and T-shirts.’
      • ‘The issue of bus shelters has been raised at several Council meetings in recent months and officials undertook to seek meetings with the company.’
      • ‘Mr Hough undertook to ring me the following day (last Friday) but he didn't.’
      • ‘The orphanage undertook to feed, cloth and educate these children and would hopefully provide them with the home they had lost through AIDS.’
      • ‘He agreed to pay the full sum, half of which was tax and half accrued interest and penalties, and undertook to sell off family assets to meet the demand within six months.’
    2. 1.2[with clause] Guarantee or affirm something; give as a formal pledge:
      ‘a lorry driver implicitly undertakes that he is reasonably skilled as a driver’
      • ‘Mr Hunter was able to undertake that the Secretary of State would decide the case and issue a reasoned decision within 6 weeks.’
      • ‘Secondly, he undertakes that, on due presentment of the bill to the drawee, it will be duly accepted (where acceptance is needed) and paid.’
      • ‘The Buyer undertakes that, based on the information which it has received at the date of this Agreement, it does not believe that it has cause to bring a material Relevant Claim in respect of breach of any of the Warranties.’
      • ‘I undertake that that note will be provided and circulated tomorrow morning.’
      • ‘The buyer undertakes that, in consideration of the bank releasing the bill of lading to it, it will hold it on trust for the bank, together with the goods and the proceeds of their sale.’
      • ‘I undertake that that document was advice on top of a Cabinet paper, so it does not add any significance.’
      • ‘You must undertake that no one will be slandered by your text and accept full responsibility for the material you submit.’

Pronunciation

undertake

/ʌndəˈteɪk/

Main definitions of undertake in English

: undertake1undertake2

undertake2

verb

[WITH OBJECT]British
  • Catch up with and pass (another vehicle) while travelling on the inside:

    ‘he undertook me, at 70 mph, while on his mobile’
    ‘speeding, tailgating, and undertaking on a motorway are all examples of driving without due care and attention’
    • ‘He undertook me and then pulled out into my lane (silly me, leaving a space between myself and the car in front in case I needed to brake!).’
    • ‘Then along come cyclists, innocently following what they see are the rules of the road, but doing things that drivers aren't allowed to: overtaking queues of cars, moving at well below the speed limit or undertaking on the inside.’
    • ‘I had my indicator on, and rather than let me pull in, this car chose to undertake me.’
    • ‘I drove towards Kings Tamerton and Victoria Road slip road when an idiot on a motorcycle undertook me between the nearside of my car and the grass verge.’
    • ‘They do not stay in bicycle lanes, undertaking vehicles when they are indicating to turn left, and don't stop at red lights and pedestrian crossings.’
    • ‘Some cops will give a fixed penalty for undertaking on a dual carriageway.’
    pass, get past, go past, go by, overhaul, get ahead of, pull ahead of, leave behind, outdistance, outstrip
    View synonyms

Pronunciation

undertake

/ʌndəˈteɪk/