“pro- + active; originally coined 1933 by Paul Whiteley and Gerald Blankfort in a psychology paper, used in technical sense. Used in a popular context and sense (courage, perseverance) in 1946 book Man’s Search for Meaning by neuropsychiatrist Viktor Emil Frankl, in the context of dealing with the Holocaust, as contrast with reactive.” (From Wiki.)
…And what man would have her now?
What a terrible career “proactive” has had. I learned just now that it wasn’t always evil,. It used to be a word that meant well, but most now know it only as a seat filler for Thought when it goes to the restroom.
I beg of everyone: Can’t we let this word die? It’s life ended the first time someone parroted it back to his/her boss. It deserves the only courtesy it asks for: An end to the years of abuse. And if we are people of taste, we will see the word erased from the book of life.
It’s well past time to get proactive about getting the goddam word the hell out of common usage.
What can you do? Whenever, wherever the word is used, explain there’s a better way. Tell them you know they’re a great person, but if he/she uses words like that, you’ll be the only one.
Also: It’s a fact: “Proactive” leads to worse words. Gently ask them if they’ve ever tried “multitasking.”
Then just listen. Be there for them.
Let’s help everyone help American -English.