Etymology of “entrepreneur”

The book Aspire, by Kevin Hall is the first self-help book I’ve read in years, unless you call all the business books I read self-help for the entrepreneurial. Aspire is about the etymology of words (sounds boring but it is very interesting).

Etymology is the study of and the changes in the meaning of words. “Used correctly and positively, words are the first building blocks for success and inner peace; …used incorrectly and negatively, they are capable of undermining even the best of intentions.” The author is on a quest to uncover the secrets of words. “It’s like peeling an onion. By breaking down words layer by layer, by uncovering their pure meaning you tap into a force that will help you find purpose and better lead your life.”

I’ll give you an example of the words presented in the book.

“Leader” is derived from two words. The first part “lea” means path, and the second part “der” means finder. Pathfinder.

So where does the word entrepreneur come from? Look up entrepreneur at
The word first appeared in 1828, in French, meaning “one who undertakes or manages.” An undertaker? Well, sort of. But today an entrepreneur is more than someone who undertakes something.

Early in the 20th century, Joseph Schumpeter gave us a modern definition of entrepreneur as “the person who destroys the existing economic order by introducing new products and services, by creating new forms of organization, or by exploiting new raw materials.” In English, the term applies to the type of personality who is willing to take upon herself or himself a new venture or enterprise and to accept full responsibility for the outcome (Wikipedia)

The newer concept, social entrepreneur, is to take a business-like approach to social issues.

As in the book Aspire, understanding the essence of certain words, we are in a better position to use them as guidance in our lives.


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