Skip to:
  1. Main navigation
  2. Main content
  3. Footer
Economic Commentary

On the Origin and Evolution of the Word Inflation

A historical look at the origin and uses of the word inflation, arguing that although the term has become nearly synonymous with “price increase,” its original meaning - a rise in the general price level caused by an imbalance between the quantity of money and trade needs - is the definition driving many of those who advocate an anti-inflation policy for the Federal Reserve.


The views authors express in Economic Commentary are theirs and not necessarily those of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland or the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. The series editor is Tasia Hane. This paper and its data are subject to revision; please visit for updates.

Suggested Citation

Bryan, Michael F. 1997. “On the Origin and Evolution of the Word Inflation.” Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Economic Commentary 10/15/1997.

This work by Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International