Brain Food: Words-Worth - Enterprise

Gordon Brown is in favour of 'enterprise'. He demonstrated that last year by declaring an 'Enterprise Week' and then welcoming it in a speech in which he used the word 46 times. Although he'd probably prefer not to be reminded of it, he was following in the footsteps of Mrs Thatcher, who introduced the idea of enterprise zones in the 1970s. Both were borrowing a glamorous American replacement for what had always been called 'business' or 'commerce' in Britain. It is rapidly becoming standard here, where it is common to read about 'enterprise software' and 'small and medium enterprises'. In 2002, there was even an Enterprise Act, dealing with competition and insolvency. The word 'enterprise' is French in origin, and since its arrival in the 15th century, it has traditionally meant a bold, arduous or important undertaking - war, usually - or the spirit required for such a thing. An excellent name for a Starship, then. But business is business.

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Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

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