Illustration: Nick Shepherd

The meaning of management

Who knew the word's meaning derives from handling a horse - in Italian.

by John Morrish
Last Updated: 29 Jun 2015

Management is a versatile word. We speak in these pages of business management, but there is also anger management, the management of land and the management of illness and pain. The word only arrived in the late 16th century, together with the verb ‘to manage’ and the noun ‘manager’. All three came from the Italian verb maneggiare, which, among other things meant ‘to direct or exercise a horse’. That in turn came from the Latin manus, meaning ‘hand’. To manage, then, is to ‘handle’, though usually not in the literal sense.


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