From Collins COBUILD Advanced Learner's Dictinary | 8th ed (En-En):

N-VAR [oft N to-inf ]
An endeavour is an attempt to do something, especially something new or original. [FORMAL ]

And in many others famous dictionaries, endeavor has almost the same definition.

But in real life, it seems endeavor should be better defined as a career.

  • As you may have heard, Tom made the decision to leave the company to pursue other endeavors.
  • If you are not all aware, Mike has left LA to pursue a new endeavor.
  • Bayliff went on to pursue other endeavors, which opened an opportunity for Dan Wilson to join the group.
  • I wish you all the best in your future endeavors.
  • We wish Tom the best of luck in his new endeavor.
  • It takes a lot of guts to go out on a limb, quit your job, and pursue a new endeavor.

So, here're my questions.

  • Should I understand the word endeavor (noun) as career from now on?
  • Is it kind of an advanced and cooler word for career? :)

1 Answer 1


Your examples are a "rhetorical" use of the word "endeavour". The meaning is still "an attempt to do something new", but it has lots of good associations: It suggests exploration and discovery; excitement and the potential for great success.

So when we are saying goodbye to a colleague we could say:

John is leaving this company. He wants to find another job doing something similar but for a bit more money.

That is true, but not very inspiring. But if we say

John is leaving to pursue new endeavours.

It sounds like something exciting or ambitious. It is inspiring. It also can be used even if you don't know what John is actually going to do. If, for example, John was leaving in order to look after a sick parent, you could still call it "a new endeavour", even though it is not a career.

Very often the reason for using this phrasing is that John doesn't know what he is going to do next, or doesn't want everybody in the company to know, for privacy reasons.

There are no official definitions of words, but in this context, you understand the meaning to be "a new job, or a new position or new role"

  • Yes, a new career is one kind of endeavor, but not the only kind. Let's say somebody meets with us every Tuesday as part of a civic organization. That person comes in one day and says, "I won't be able to make it on Tuesdays anymore. I just joined a band, and we are going to practice on Tuesday nights." It would be perfectly appropriate to say, "We wish you the best in that endeavor," even though this person works as a sales associate in his day job.
    – J.R.
    Commented Aug 13, 2019 at 10:54
  • Trying to get to the north pole unpowered, or climbing Everest without oxygen are other examples of endeavours that are not careers.
    – Smock
    Commented Aug 13, 2019 at 12:40

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