early 15c., "an undertaking," formerly also enterprize, from Old French enterprise "an undertaking," noun use of fem. past participle of entreprendre "undertake, take in hand" (12c.), from entre- "between" (see entre-) + prendre "to take," contraction of prehendere (see prehensile). Abstract sense of "adventurous disposition, readiness to undertake challenges, spirit of daring" is from late 15c.
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