Re: Is "proactive" really a word?

Subject: Re: Is "proactive" really a word?
From: Simon North <north -at- SYNOPSYS -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 15 Oct 1997 14:54:00 +0001

> Dear Grammarians,
> Is "proactive" a word?

Yes it is, and it drives me up the wall to hear my Silicon Valley
colleagues (mis)use it. I hear it often from marketing types who
appear to think that it "being proactive" is vaguely synonymous with
taking the initiative (as in pro ... + active).

In fact it is a term stolen from psychology meaning exactly the
reverse. To paraphrase from the dictionary I found it in:

proactive: of a mental effect from a previous situation which is
active in a subsequent activity, especially in learning theory, as
'proactive inhibition', interference, the inhibition or interference
with learning caused by effects that remain active from conditions
preceeding that learning.

Also known as "negative transfer" as in the example in which the
ability to remember is adversely affected by events prior to the
learning experience.

Simon North north -at- synopsys -dot- com
COSSAP Technical Writer, Aachen, Germany

To be or not to be, those are the parameters.

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