Legal Dictionary

undertake

Definition of undertake

Etymology

    under- +‎ take (after undernim).

Pronunciation

Verb

to undertake (third-person singular simple present undertakes, present participle undertaking, simple past undertook, past participle undertaken)

  1. (obsolete, transitive) To take by trickery; to trap, to seize upon.

    * 1485, Sir Thomas Malory, Le Morte Darthur, Book IX:
    So Sir Trystram endured there grete payne, for syknes had undirtake hym - and that ys the grettist payne a presoner may have [...].

  2. (transitive) To take upon oneself; to start, to embark on (a specific task etc.).

    He undertook a course of medication.

  3. (archaic, intransitive) To pledge; to assert, assure; to dare say.

    * 1485, Sir Thomas Malory, Le Morte Darthur, Book VII:
    "I have now aspyed one knyght," he seyde, "that woll play hys play at the justys, I undirtake."

  4. (intransitive) To commit oneself (to an obligation, activity etc.).

    He undertook to take more exercise in future.

  5. (informal) to overtake on the wrong side.

    I hate people that try and undertake on the motorway.

Usage notes

  • Sense: To commit oneself. This is a catenative verb that takes the to infinitive.

Derived terms

  • undertaker

References:

  1. Wiktionary. Published under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.



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