The Meaning of Endeavour: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of endeavour? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word endeavour, including its definition, etymology, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word endeavour mean?

According to Merriam-Webster Unabridged English Dictionary and Dictionary, the word endeavour, spelled endeavor (pronounced ɪnˈdɛvə r) in American English, can be used as either a verb to refer to exerting oneself to accomplish or do something, or to make an effort. This word can also be used as a noun to refer to some strenuous effort or attempt. This can refer to some human endeavour or scientific endeavour, or it could be a reference to the space shuttle named the Endeavour. Try using this word of the day in a sentence today!

There are many different languages that also contain words meaning endeavor. You may notice that many of these words look similarly to each other. This is likely because they have a common origin. These cognates, which are words that look, sound, and mean the same or a similar thing across languages, are formed when the words have a common root in a language like Latin or Greek. This list of translations for the word endeavour is provided by Word Sense.

  • Romanian: tentativă‎ (fem.)
  • Hebrew: ניסיון، מאמץ، להשתדל‎
  • Scottish Gaelic: iomairt‎ (fem.)
  • Spanish: tentativa‎ (fem.), esfuerzo‎ (masc.), empeño‎ (masc.)
  • German: Bemühung‎ (fem.)
  • Japanese: 努力‎ (どりょく, doryoku)
  • Bulgarian: усилие‎ (neut.), старание‎ (neut.)
  • Mandarin: 努力‎ (nǔlì), 使命‎ (shiming)
  • Portuguese: tentativa‎ (fem.)
  • Russian: попы́тка‎ (fem.), стара́ние‎ (neut.), уси́лие‎ (neut.), стремле́ние‎ (neut.)
  • Czech: úsilí‎ (neut.), snaha‎ (fem.)
  • Khmer: ការខំប្រឹងខ្នះខ្នែង‎ (kaa kʰɑm prəng knah knaeng)
  • Greek: προσπάθεια‎ (fem.)
  • Persian: کوشش‎ (kušeš)
  • Swedish: sträva‎
  • Armenian: ճիգ‎, ջանք‎
  • Hindi: प्रयत्न‎ (masc.)
  • Hungarian: igyekezet‎
  • Italian: tentativo‎ (masc.), impegno‎, sforzo‎ (masc.)
  • Arabic: غايَة..محاولَة‎ (masc.)
  • Catalan: esforç‎ (masc.)
  • Finnish: yritys‎, ponnistus‎, pyrkimys‎
  • Polish: dążenie‎ (neut.), próba‎ (fem.), usiłowanie‎ (neut.)
  • Dutch: inspanning‎, ijveren‎ (neut.), poging‎
  • French: effort‎ (masc.)

How can the word endeavor be used in a sentence?

The word endeavor can either be used as a noun or verb  in many different contexts to refer to some effort or attempt. In the below example, Tina is talking to her mom about her outdoor excursion for science class.

Mom: Are you excited for your class trip? Did you pack everything you need? Make sure you pack extra clothes, you’re going to be outside.

Tina: Mom, I know! And yes, I’m super excited. We’re going to endeavor to find a new species of insect!

Mom: Wow!

What are synonyms and antonyms for the word endeavour?

There are many different words that a person can use in place of the word endeavor. These are known as synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same or a similar meaning to another word or phrase. Synonyms are a useful English grammatical device to know if you are trying to avoid repeating yourself as well as if you are attempting to expand your vocabulary. This list of synonyms for the word endeavor is provided by Thesaurus.

  • accomplishment
  • struggle
  • travail
  • push
  • effort
  • power
  • test
  • try
  • industry
  • stab
  • header
  • proposition
  • feat
  • sweat
  • strain
  • creation
  • pull
  • job
  • pursuit
  • baby
  • venture
  • undertaking
  • battle
  • application
  • trial
  • one’s all
  • try-on
  • energy
  • investment
  • elbow grease
  • spec
  • tension
  • essay
  • labor
  • old college try
  • stress
  • toil
  • exploit
  • crack
  • attempt
  • production
  • risk
  • force
  • best shot
  • endeavor
  • training
  • crash project
  • product
  • project
  • hazard
  • experiment
  • chance
  • trouble
  • spurt
  • act
  • enterprise
  • all
  • deed
  • full court press
  • jeopardy
  • thing
  • go
  • drill
  • stake
  • tug
  • shot
  • adventure
  • striving
  • fling
  • whack
  • whirl
  • aim
  • purpose
  • discipline
  • resolution
  • aspiration
  • pains
  • one’s level best
  • achievement
  • setup
  • work
  • exertion
  • full steam
  • wager
  • intention
  • peril
  • pet project
  • speculation
  • stretch
  • lick
  • dry run
  • exercise
  • strife
  • full blast

There are also numerous different words that mean the opposite of the word endeavor. These are known as antonyms. Antonyms are also useful to know if you are trying to expand your English vocabulary. This list of antonyms for the word endeavor is also provided by Thesaurus

  • torpidity
  • time to burn
  • inactivity
  • time to kill
  • pottering
  • shiftlessness
  • indolence
  • unemployment
  • truancy
  • hibernation
  • lazing
  • dawdling
  • idleness
  • own sweet time
  • slowness
  • inertia
  • trifling
  • slouch
  • laziness
  • joblessness
  • dormancy
  • droning
  • inaction
  • time on one’s hands
  • sluggishness
  • sloth
  • otiosity
  • laze
  • leisure
  • slothfulness
  • vegetating
  • time-wasting
  • loitering
  • loafing
  • torpor
  • lethargy
  • goof-off time
  • stupor
  • dilly-dallying

What is the origin of the word endeavor?

According to Etymonline, the word endeavor has been used since the early 15th century to refer to some pains that were taken to obtain something. It literally meant “in duty,” and was taken from the phrase to put (oneself) in dever, or to make something someone’s duty. This is a partial translation of the Old French mettre en deveir, which meant the same thing. This comes from the Old French dever meaning duty, from the Latin debere meaning to owe. This originally meant to keep something away from someone, from the prefix de meaning away and the root habere meaning to have. The word endeavor has been used to refer to one’s utmost effort by the late 15th century.  The word endeavor was used as a verb since circa the year 1400. Related words include endeavored and endeavoring, as well as the British spellings endeavoured and endeavouring.

Overall, the word endeavour is the British spelling of the word endeavor. Endeavor is most commonly used in American English, whereas the u is added in British English. However, these words mean the same thing and refer to either a noun, which refers to an attempt to achieve a certain goal, or a verb, which means to try very hard to avoieve or do something. This is a very common word that one will see frequently, particularly when referencing some journey. 

Sources:

  1. https://www.wordsense.eu/endeavour/
  2. https://www.etymonline.com/word/endeavor
  3. https://www.thesaurus.com/browse/endeavor
  4. https://www.thesaurus.com/browse/idleness
  5. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/endeavor
  6. https://www.dictionary.com/browse/endeavor