Skip to main content

On the Origin and Evolution of the Word Inflation

(PDF PDF icon)

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.

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.


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.

Upcoming EventsSEE ALL

  • 06.23.21

    Policy Summit 2021: Pathways to Economic Resilience in Our Communities

    Offering the latest research on and best practices for promoting the economic mobility and resilience of low- and moderate-income individuals, families, and communities.

  • 07.12.21

    Summer Research Coding Camp

    Summer Research Coding Camp is a virtual weeklong immersive program for rising high school juniors and seniors. Students will participate in experiential hands-on activities exposing them to real world skills such as data analysis and interpretation while exploring how economists utilize these skills in their careers.

  • 07.15.21

    Inflation 101

    Join us for a FedTalk featuring Robert Rich, senior economic and policy advisor and director of the Center for Inflation Research at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.

  • 10.07.21

    Inflation: Drivers and Dynamics Conference 2021

    The European Central Bank (ECB) and the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland’s Center for Inflation Research will host the Inflation: Drivers and Dynamics Conference 2021, which will be held virtually on October 7–8.

  • 11.17.21

    2021 Financial Stability Conference: Planning for Surprises, Learning from Crises

    The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland and the Office of Financial Research will host their annual financial stability conference, Financial Stability: Planning for Surprises, Learning from Crises, which will be held virtually on November 17-19, 2021.