Please, No More “Preneurs”

19 August 2008 at 11:22 pm 11 comments

| Peter Klein |

The term entrepreneur is well-established in the academic and practitioner literatures, if not always consistently used. (As I note here, the word is typically applied to self-employed individuals or, in adjective form, to new and small ventures, but I prefer the broader, functional notions of innovation, alertness, or judgment found in the classic economics literature on entrepreneurship.) The literal translation of the French entrepreneur, “undertaker,” isn’t quite right, though I’m rather drawn to the older English terms “adventurer” or “projector.”

In any case, there’s no excuse for the seemingly endless proliferations of
“-preneur” words floating around today. An entrepreneurial individual within a large firm is an intrapreneur. With some additional skills and an external perspective she might become an extrapreneur. A good manager can hope to be a manapreneur. You in the tech sector? You’re a technopreneur. Or you might be a minipreneur, actorpreneur, agripreneur, authorpreneurseniorpreneur, or even a mompreneur. Enough!

Let’s stick to simple ideas, like manurepreneurship.

Entry filed under: - Klein -, Entrepreneurship, Jargon Watch.

Postcard from Scandinavia “El Pulpo”

11 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Alf Rehn  |  20 August 2008 at 1:26 am

    Peter, Peter, Peter, I cannot believe you could write such an entry and completely miss out on the hottest new thing, pastorpreneurship:

  • 2. Brian McCann  |  20 August 2008 at 7:56 am

    Are you saying we can’t describe you as an academicpreneur?

  • 3. Peter Klein  |  20 August 2008 at 8:49 am

    Alf, thanks, I’d forgotten about that one. Brian, I prefer the term “professorpreneur,” for the nice alliteration.

  • 4. Christian Zimmermann  |  20 August 2008 at 8:57 am

    And you are a blogpreneur.

  • 5. Warren Miller  |  20 August 2008 at 4:16 pm

    There seems to be a lot of entremanureship flying around here.

  • 6. Gavin Kennedy  |  22 August 2008 at 12:58 pm

    In rural SW France, where I live for several months each year, people I speak with describe owners of small lorry transport firms as an ‘entrepreneur’ – of which I think the literal translation is ‘between takers’ and not ‘undertakers’. Party A has a builder’s yard and Party B wants ‘sand’, and the entrepreneur truck driver-owner, picks up the sand and delivers to the customer (taker?) for a fee.

    As this has happened several times with different neighbours, I can see what President Bush said there was no French word of the English usage of entrepreneur as understood in US academe.

  • 7. Peter Klein  |  22 August 2008 at 1:11 pm

    Gavin, you’re right, of course “entre” is between, not under. But I think the literal meaning of the Old French term entreprendre is “to undertake.” Is there a linguist out there?

  • 8. Bogdan Enache  |  22 August 2008 at 4:00 pm

    I’m not a linguist, but you are right : entreprendre currently means to undertake. From the middle ages to the Renaissance it used to mean successively, to attack, to accuse or to seduce. The current meaning of “entreprendre” is actually an alteration of the old verb “emprendre”, now fall from usage, obtained through a substitution of the prefix. The Latin root is the verb “imprehendere”. At least, this is what the dictionaries said when I checked them on this matter.

  • 9. CHINMAYANAND PAUL  |  31 May 2015 at 4:01 am

    the most commonly or widely used word ‘preneur ‘primarily due to it’s ease in usage .

  • 10. Success  |  17 December 2015 at 9:01 pm

    We need more preneurs in this world. My daughter is a preneuress. Entrepreneurs make the world a better place.

  • 11. Peter Klein  |  17 December 2015 at 9:09 pm

    I don’t object to the practice of preneuring — far from it! — just the language.

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