The French Don’t Have A Word For “Entrepreneur”

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Despite the fact that it has huge corporations like Cartier, Dassault, L’oreal, Lafarge, Michelin, Peugeot-Citroen, Renault, and many more, President George W Bush once astutely remarked that the French don’t have a word for “entrepreneur”.

It’s hard to say whether he thought they had no entrepreneurs in France, or that the French had borrowed the word we used for themselves. But it is too dangerous territory to delve too deeply into trying to understand how Dubya thought or why he said some of the things he said. Let’s just instead enjoy the humor of them. 

But what is interesting is to delve a little deeper into the words that the English language has borrowed, and then assimilated, from other languages.

I have only noted a few examples here, a comprehensive list would run into the thousands. It makes me think that they didn’t say very much to each other in Britain before they were invaded and new words brought into their language.

Here is a short list. The origin of some of the words may well surprise you.

 

ARABIC: admiral, adobe, albatross, alcohol, alcove, alfalfa, algebra, algorithm, apricot, arsenal, artichoke, assassin, candy, carat, cipher, coffee, cotton, giraffe, guitar, harem, jar, jumper, lacquer, lemon, lime, magazine, mattress, muslin, orange, safari, sequin (clothing ornament), sofa, spinach, sugar, talc, tangerine, tariff, tuna, zenith , zero

 

DUTCH: ahoy, bamboo, bazooka, Brooklyn, bundle, caboose, coleslaw, cookie, cruise, dam, decoy, dike, dope, easel, elope, freebooter, gherkin, Harlem, holster, landscape, loafer, rucksack, scone, sketch, skipper, spook, trigger, wagon, yacht, yankee

 

FRENCH: abattoir, amateur¸ architect¸ astronomy, balloon, banquet, bikini, boutique, bureaucracy, cadillac, caliber, canon, carbon, cartel, chandelier, chauffeur, dagger, delicious, denim, deputy, diagram, education, ejaculation, election, empire, eviction, fiancée, flamboyant, flatulence, foreclose, fraternity, galoshes, glacier, gourmet, hangar, harassment, harmony, homicide, hypocrisy, identity, ignorance, imagination, immunize, irrigation, jealousy, jeopardy, journalism, kennel, kilometer, laundry, lemonade, liberty, lieutenant, lunatic, macabre, magician, mathematics, medicine, millionaire, mortgage, music, narcotic, native, negligee, nonchalant, oblique, occupy, optician, organism, ounce, pacific, panache, paragraph, perfume, pigeon, pirate, pistol, prejudice, president, psychiatry, quantity, queue, quote, racism, raconteur, rapport, rendezvous, residue, rhubarb, sabotage, salon, scabbard, secret, soufflé, tart, tourniquet, trenchant, trespass, turbulent, turtle, umpire, union, universal, vacation, valiant, vampire, vestibule, voyeur

 

GERMAN: hamburger, pretzel, larger

 

HEBREW: alphabet, jubilee, sycamore

 

INDIAN: avatar, bandana, bangle, bazaar, bungalow, cashmere, catamaran, chutney, curry, dinghy, doolally, dungarees, guru, gymkhana, hullabaloo, jungle, juggernaut , khaki, loot, polo, pukka, pundit, pyjamas, shampoo, shawl, swastika, thug, typhoon, veranda, yoga

 

IRISH: brogues, galore, gob, hooligan, poteen, shamrock, slob, whiskey

 

NATIVE AMERICAN: caribou, cisco, Eskimo, hickory, moccasin, moose, pecan, skunk, tomahawk, as well as many place names including, Mississippi, Michigan, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Wyoming, Wisconsin and Chicago, Illinois

 

And finally for this example,

 

SPANISH: alligator, armada, avocado, barbecue, bonanza, burro, cafeteria, California, canyon, cargo, Caribbean, chocolate, cigar, Colorado, corral, desperado, Florida, guerrilla, hurricane, jerky, Montana, mosquito, Nevada, oregano, patio, plaza, ranch, stampede, tobacco, tomato, tornado