Fun Etymology Tuesday – Manage & manager

Hey guys! The weekly circle has come full round again and here we are on another Tuesday with another Fun Etymology!

Today’s word is “manage”, and its derivation, “manager”.

Both these words appeared in the English language around the 1560s, and are especially close to me because they’re loanwords from my native language, Italian!

They come from the Italian verb “maneggiare”, a derivation of the noun “mano”, meaning “hand”. They’re exactly parallel in derivation and meaning to the English pair “hand” and “handle”.

Originally, the verb “maneggiare” meant “to handle horses” (in Italian a horse stable is still called a “maneggio” today), and, like so many Romance loanwords, it came to English through the French “manège”, where its meaning was quickly extended from “handle horses” to “handle affairs or people”.

So next time you speak to your manager at work, remember that their job title etymologically means “horse handler”.
Now that’s not very flattering towards employees, is it?

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