On the Origins of Two Business Buzz Words


We all have heard about employee motivation and a stimulating work environment. Those sound quite positive … until you look into the origin of the words.

MOTIVATE – late Middle English: from Old French motif (adjective used as a noun), from late Latin motivus, from movere ‘to move’ (Oxford Dictionaries). So it means to MOVE.

And what makes one move according to the good folks of times past? One moves with the help of a “stimulus.”

STIMULUS – late 17th century: from Latin, ‘goad, spur’ (Oxford Dictionaries).

Yes, it stands for the sharp instrument used in the picture below …

ox-goad P.S. This post was inspired by a conversation I had with my father, Boris Genov, who is a very learned man …


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