emprise \em-PRYZE\ ~ noun
DEFINITION: an adventurous, daring, or chivalric enterprise
EXAMPLES: The poet Rupert Brooke, in an elegy to the passing of youth, lamented the loss of "high emprise and ventures dear."
"But perhaps he was the only one courageous enough to voice an opinion that others might have shared, but were afraid to say, that this whole quixotic emprise had been a bad idea, that they had been fools to attempt an escape." -- From John D. Lukacs' 2010 book Escape From Davao
DID YOU KNOW? Someone who engages in emprises undertakes much, so it's no surprise that "emprise" descends from the Anglo-French word "emprendre," meaning "to undertake." It's also no surprise that "emprise" became established in English during the 13th century, a time when brave knights engaged in many a chivalrous undertaking. Fourteenth-century author Geoffrey Chaucer used "emprise" to describe one such knight in "The Franklin's Tale" (one of the stories in The Canterbury Tales): "Ther was a knyght that loved and dide his payne / To serve a lady in his beste wise; / And many labour, many a greet emprise, / He for his lady wroghte er she were wonne."
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