Skip to main content
Unpublished Paper
Origin and Evolution of the Term "Entrepreneur" in English
  • Steven Kates, RMIT University
The words we use depend on the words that exist. There is now an entity for which we use the word “entrepreneur” that has been brought into English from the French. This paper describes both its slow drift into English and then the drift in its meaning in English which even now cannot be entirely pinned down. Previously, the word “undertaker” had been used in English which, apart from its other connotations, is a near equivalent but not identical in its use and meaning. This adoption of the French term provides an interesting example of the way in which words themselves shape our understanding. As a more general observation, there is work for historians of economics in bringing etymological order into economic discussion of the terms we use.
  • entrepreneur,
  • Jean-Baptise Say,
  • Adam Smith,
  • F.A. Walker,
  • Joseph Schumpeter
Publication Date
Citation Information
Steven Kates. "Origin and Evolution of the Term "Entrepreneur" in English" (2015)
Available at: