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This article previously redirected to List of corporate leaders. I do not find this appropriate, since this group forms only a very small segment of what we refer to as businessmen.

I think that anyone who has followed a link to this term probably does so because he wants to know just what a businessman is or does. I find the word to be a somewhat pejorative term for a person who engages in generic profit-making activity of any kind. This parallels the way that a generic consultant will give advice on anything that you care to ask him about; he may be knowledgeable about the subject, but that is not a prerequisite. The archetype of a businessman may very well be Dilbert's Pointy Haired Boss.

A little Googling has not been very productive. Commonly the hits referred to various individuals who called themselves businessmen, or to news reports of businessmen who had been arrested for some white collar crime, or at best it is a tag used by the media when they don't know what a person does. I found this at

Indeed, the BUSINESSMAN can be distinguished from the 'professionals' in this way: a lawyer could be called a 'splendid lawyer' if he wins a lot of cases, even if he forgets to collect his bills and ends up with a very small income. This holds for all professionals: there is for them a standard of excellent performance that is not solely 'making the most money'. (This holds even for salesmen: a person could count as a successful salesman if he sells a lot of goods, even if somehow he ends up not earning much money. It also holds for a 'good prostitute'!) But a person is labeled a 'successful businessman' solely according to the profit he accrues in the long run. This means that the ROLE of businessman is sharply defined as NOT aimed at benefitting society directly. (Believers in the Hidden Hand will claim that such entrepeneurs benefit society indirectly far more than 'do-gooders'!

Another notable speech extract which serves to enlighten us is from the 1896 Democratic convention.

When you come before us and tell us that we shall disturb your business interests, we reply that you have disturbed our business interests by your action. We say to you that you have made too limited in its application the definition of a businessman. The man who is employed for wages is as much a businessman as his employer. The attorney in a country town is as much a businessman as the corporation counsel in a great metropolis. The merchant at the crossroads store is as much a businessman as the merchant of New York. The farmer who goes forth in the morning and toils all day, begins in the spring and toils all summer, and by the application of brain and muscle to the natural resources of this country creates wealth, is as much a businessman as the man who goes upon the Board of Trade and bets upon the price of grain. The miners who go 1,000 feet into the earth or climb 2,000 feet upon the cliffs and bring forth from their hiding places the precious metals to be poured in the channels of trade are as much businessmen as the few financial magnates who in a backroom corner the money of the world.

Ultimately, I have no idea what the word "businessman" really menas. In my more waggish moments I take MBA to mean Master of Bugger-All. There also appears to be a tradition among writers to use the term in anticipation that readers will understand it even if the writer doesn't. Eclecticology 21:27, 2004 Feb 17 (UTC)

I've moved the above Bryan quote to the body of the article. "Businessman" is such a common weasel word that a series of quotes may be the best way to grasp its importance. It is too imortant and pervasive to be deleted. Eclecticology 18:06, 2004 Mar 16 (UTC)

Sexist again?[edit]

Businessman is the most commonly used term to refer to a person working for a company aiming at making profit and is entirely appropriate to use regardless of whether some people find it 'sexist' or not. The majority of 'businesspersons' are male anyway and you're not discriminating against anyone for using this word to refer to 'businesspersons' as a whole.

Please move this page to Businessperson. It is the gender-neutral form. 01:32, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Businessperson redirects here, and Businessperson is mentioned in the article. The use of man as a suffix is technically not sexist. See usage note at - MattTM 03:49, Sep 22, 2004 (UTC)
Precisely. As it's not the only word in the English language with multiple meanings, there is nothing wrong with the generic use of "man." Women who believe that they have been treated in a manner unsupportive of equality need to refer to their dictionary. -Wild Bill 23:05, Sep 22, 2004 (UTC)
I've been bold and moved the article from businessman to businessperson. The generic use of "man" doesn't appease this particular man. jareha 02:27, 20 November 2005 (UTC)
By the way, more Wikipedia articles currently link to businessperson than businessman. Although this doesn't settle the issue, it does provide a basis of reasoning for the article move. jareha 02:32, 20 November 2005 (UTC)
Argh, this is actually not true, as the number of redirects from businessman is included in the businessperson count. Take from this realization what you will. jareha 02:41, 20 November 2005 (UTC)

give me a break- removed

The male gender has always been the nuetral in refering to many people. Hence the use of 'men' in older books to refer to the people of a society. I dont think it's meant to be offensive to females. Evrenosogullari 14:33, 11 August 2006 (UTC)

This turn of events looks a bit weird to me as a Russian, since in the Russian language we have the words "businessman" and "businesswoman", but the word "businesswoman" is considered slang-ish and businesswomen are often referred to as "businessmen". (talk) 11:53, 7 December 2007 (UTC)

Umm, Man also means 'the human race or a member thereof'. Saying the use of man in such words as postman or businessman being 'sexist', is about as silly as saying that about the word human, woman, or hell, x-men, lol. pc claptrap imho. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:39, 28 April 2008 (UTC)

I agree. I'm all pro gender equality, as everybody should be, but there's no need to be ridiculous about it. Should we also rename the term "mankind", i.e. "humanity", into "personkind"? There are also a plenty of words that sound feminine without being specifically related to women too, e.g. "mother tongue", "motherland", etc. We're talking semantics here.
A businessman is a generic term for a capitalistically engaged individual, businesswoman is a businessman of female gender. "Businessperson" is something you would usually hear from a twelve-year-old talking about his father.~~Nicholas A. Chambers 07:40, 15 December 2008 (UTC)

Many words in the English language have been changed to address gender neutrality. Businessman is not offensive to women, but it certainly fails to include them. Mankind is never used any more either; the word is indeed humankind or humanity. Actually, among Generation Y and Generation Z, it is more common to hear "businessperson", as opposed to "businessman," because gender neutrality has become the norm. "Businessperson" is certainly not something you would hear from a twelve-year-old talking about his father. It is actually outdated to use businessman. Since Wikipedia should be reflective of the constantly changing wealth of human knowledge and societies, the title should be businessperson. We should now be paying attention to titles across Wikipedia, in order to ensure that they reflect gender neutrality. --Can You Prove That You're Human (talk) 02:58, 9 May 2010 (UTC)

Businessman no more fails to include women than human does, a word which you used without question. It is a gender neutral term, -man is a gender neutral suffix. A quick Google search will show that businessman is a much wider used term than businessperson; Wikipedia should reflect current practice rather than politically correct mutilation of the English language. That said, this shouldn't be an article at all - it should be moved to Wiktionary. PoisonedPigeon (talk) 16:01, 9 May 2010 (UTC)

PoisonedPigeon, your statement is false. It is evident that "businessman" fails to include women and human achieves the inclusion of women. "Man," in its suffix form, whether or not you believe is indicative of humans in general, is also a word referring to the male sex. Conversely, "human" involves the species and does not specify gender; therefore, human is gender neutral. Furthermore, "a quick Google search" is not an accurate representation of current practice. In addition, Wikipedia should certainly not reflect current practice, because it is an encyclopaedia, which is supposed to use updated and proper terminology. Politically correct diction is not a mutilation of the English language; rather, it is a development of the language. Additionally, those who object to the usage of "man" have a clear rationale; however, there is no rationale for insisting the usage of "man," as opposed to "person," "human," or other gender-neutral language. --Can You Prove That You're Human (talk) 03:27, 12 May 2010 (UTC)

Also, in response to MattTM, the URL he asked us to visit, "," states the following:

"—Usage note The use of man1 to mean “human being,” both alone and in compounds such as mankind, has met with objection in recent years, and the use is declining. The objection is based on the idea that man is most commonly used as an exclusive, sex-marked noun meaning “male human being.” Critics of the use of man as a generic maintain that it is sometimes ambiguous when the wider sense is intended (Man has built magnificent civilizations in the desert), but more often flatly discriminatory in that it slights or ignores the membership of women in the human race: The man in the street wants peace, not war.

Although some editors and writers reject or disregard these objections to man as a generic, many now choose instead to use such terms as human being(s), human race, humankind, people, or, when called for by style or context, women and men or men and women. See also -man, -person, -woman." --Can You Prove That You're Human (talk) 03:32, 12 May 2010 (UTC)

Actually a "quick Google search" is one of the most effective ways of working out the most appropriate names for a Wikipedia page, see the Wikipedia policy on naming. Businessman does not exclude women unless the context makes it so. Wikipedia is not supposed to use "proper terminology" they are supposed to use "the most common English-language name of the subject of the article". Therefore this article needs to be renamed "businessman" because that is the most commonly used term for people who work in business. An article about what is the most politically correct term should be on Wiktionary because that's about the word, not about the subject. PoisonedPigeon (talk) 13:15, 12 May 2010 (UTC)

I read Wikipedia policy on naming, but it also stated the following: "It may also be useful to observe the usage of major international organizations, major English-language media outlets, quality encyclopedias, geographic name servers, major scientific bodies and scientific journals." Therefore, although you can use a search engine, it is imperative that you consider the terminology used in academic journals and encyclopaedias. Furthermore, the use of gender-neutral language, particularly the word "businessperson" as opposed to "businessman" is highlighted in Wikipedia:Manual of Style#Gender-neutral language and Wikipedia:Gender-neutral language. Once again, those who object to the usage of "man" have a clear rationale for their objections; it is unnecessary to insist on the usage of "man" when the gender neutrality issue is overwhelmingly evident. It simply doesn't make sense to advocate the usage of the word "businessman" when "non-neutral language... can often be [so] easily avoided" (Wikipedia:Gender-neutral language). This is the very reason why the term businessperson was first introduced. --Can You Prove That You're Human (talk) 17:52, 12 May 2010 (UTC)

It should be noted that "man" actually originally meant "human" ( and is still commonly used in this way. Businessperson seems to treat women as so childish and easily offended that using an ancient term will damage them, it's insulting! (will we be changing "history" to "persons'story" next?) (talk) 00:09, 2 December 2011 (UTC)

Move to Wiktionary?[edit]

I dont see any history or extra info. If the article is going to stay it should probably elaborate a bit more on the term. Evrenosogullari 14:29, 11 August 2006 (UTC)

Biography and more[edit]

"This article previously redirected to List of corporate leaders."

That isn't bad, nor is magnates, executives, and so one, concerning the classification of biographies. Because it is mainly those whose business is or becomes big who will be the subjects of biographies. Isn't it true that "businessman" and "businessperson" appear in the 'pedia mainly in the first sentences of biographies, where there is a systematic effort to classify subjects by nationality and occupation?
But the article businessperson, in contrast to the category, should have broader scope. It should tell us what (original researchers and writers say) about business as an occupation ranging beyond economics to psychology and politics. (Eg, if a town in the U.S. appoints a committee of nine to report on the state of the school system, it will appoint three businessmen, three teachers, and three other citizens. If the subject of report will be the library system, three businessmen, three librarians, and three other citizens.)
I suspect that many Wikipedia articles are "poor" in general because they have been written as main pages for categories and subcategories. --P64 17:00, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

"The archetype of a businessman may very well be Dilbert's Pointy Haired Boss."

Yes, his biography may belong in categories Businesspeople and Comics characters.
But the role of businessmen may be to run the country. --P64 17:07, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

What is the point?[edit]

Some vague comments about the term "businessperson" – two sentences, no refs. About "Word use" – three sentences, thirteen refs. About "Dress code" – six sentences, no refs. What is this article supposed to be about? Gender-neutral language? Wardrobe? Aren't there already articles about those things? (talk) 17:38, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

Refs longer than article[edit]

Hell, the list of references is longer than the article itself. What's the point of this entry? (talk) 12:57, 15 July 2008 (UTC)

I get worried I'm not posting this stuff right[edit]

So please don't bite me!!!! laughs, Can someone help me with some information? I am looking to suggest a consistently awarded bussiness man who has repeatedly inspired success at two separate Chamber of Commerce's in the last 16 years. I only searched briefly, but noticed the organizations he's been involved in are not "wiki" worthy. I say that with all respect...Please, please no one jump down my throat. Are these organizations not worthy of a spot? If so, is a man who has rapidly reinforced these organizations welcome on the wiki halls? Or should I not bother suggesting? I thank you in advance for your assistance. -Hstisgod (talk) 04:42, 8 November 2008 (UTC)

Can we define parameters?[edit]

Is it possible to define the boundary which defines someone as a businessperson? There is a dispute at Jade Goody as to whether it is accurate to describe her as a businesswoman. Nietzsche 2 (talk) 23:16, 19 February 2009 (UTC)