A WORD IN THE HAND: EXECUTIVE
From humble Latin roots sprout studio pests and hedgehog floggers
A column to satisfy your inner grammar nerd
There are lots of words in English that now mean the opposite of what they used to mean. “Humble” is just one of these. Nowadays when someone says they are “humbled” in an award-acceptance speech, what they really mean is that they are even more marvellous and deserving of accolades than the audience realises.
Another word that has walked in the opposite direction from its birthplace is “executive”. An executive used to be someone who actually did things. This is hardly ever the case anymore.
Take the entertainment industry as just one example: the executive producers of movies are by and large those who get their names in the credits because they hand over money, not because they do any of the work (unless you count sticking their oars in and annoying the producer, just because they can)...