Americans have a knack for taking perfectly normal, good things and making them absurd, even — or perhaps especially — when we invent them. We gave the world the hamburger, and then unleashed the “douche burger.” How about the taser? Useful, it saves lives! Except, of course, we had to make it look mistakingly like a gun.
We also tend to butcher words. And it’s not just that English is markedly confusing. It’s that we like to take regular words — sometimes from other languages — and contort them into unrecognizable, ridiculous versions of what they once were.
Today I’m harping on the seemingly harmless: “Entrepreneur.”
The French gifted this phrase to the world with the original meaning of “undertaking” or “one who undertakes or manages.” It has evolved to more generally define someone who undertakes a business enterprise of some sort — typically something new or innovative — with the added reality of risk. And over time we’ve generally kept that word sacred.
But not America. No. We turned freelancers into “solopreneurs.” Online sellers-of-things became “e-preneurs.” Evidently, mother-businesswomen evolved into “momtrepreneurs.” This one I find particularly strange because mothers — and women in general — are superheroes who have done this for eons, and it’s on other humans (especially us men) for failing to acknowledge this in any commendable way. (Marielle Henault said it way better than I can.)
A few weeks ago in a meeting, I also learned about the “multipreneur.” Evidently, multipreneurs are simply people who… do a lot of things? What they’re doing a lot of, specifically, is beyond me, but everything must have a title, and some human minds somewhere felt this was an important designation.
But the Voldemort of preneurs — it which should not be named — scrolled across my screen last week and I just about lost my head when I screamed into the void. And that word was:
To be clear, I have no idea when “wantrepreneur” crept into our lexicon. And while I don’t…