early 15c., "pains taken to attain an object," literally "in duty," from phrase put (oneself) in dever "make it one's duty" (a partial translation of Old French mettre en deveir "put in duty"), from Old French dever "duty," from Latin debere "to owe," originally, "keep something away from someone," from de- "away" (see de-) + habere "to have" (from PIE root *ghabh- "to give or receive"). One's endeavors meaning one's "utmost effort" is from late 15c.
c. 1400, from phrase put in dever (see endeavor (n.)). Related: Endeavored; endeavoring.
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