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 "to catch hold of, seize" (from prae- "before," see pre-, + -hendere, from PIE root *ghend- "to seize, take"). Abstract sense of "adventurous disposition, readiness to undertake challenges, spirit of daring" is from late 15c.
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