The Historical Meaning of Entrepreneur

Mar 04

I’m reading a book titled “Venture Capital Investing:  The Complete Handbook for Investing in Small Private Businesses for Outstanding Profits” written by David Gladstone.

I hit chapter two and discover the origins of the word Entrepreneur, which has undergone a change since the late 1800s.  During that time the word entrepreneur meant “the director or manager of a public musical institution.”  The word derives from the French verb entreprendre, which meant to undertake.  Entreprendre has already been entered in the English language many years ago in the form of enterprise, from entrepris the past tense of entreprendre.

The word Enterprise was born in 1430 and was define as an undertaking of a bold and arduous nature.  The person who runs the business was known as the Enterpriser, but eventually lost its ground to Entrepreneur.

Today’s meaning of an Entrepreneur is “one who organizes, manages, and assumes the risk of a business or enterprise” and the Enterpriser is the person taking up a cause, usually warfare for personal gain.

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