I'm editing a paper and the author is using the word galvanised in this way: "Fair trade, community-supported agriculture, and microfinance are just some examples of market systems galvanized by moral concerns and societal aspirations."

I feel like galvanised is inappropriate: market systems are not jumping to action because of moral concerns etc. What would be another word to use in its stead?

  • Motivated would be a milder word. But why not galvanised? Some factory in India burns down or farmers burn down rain forest to plant whatever the corporations will pay the most for.
    – mplungjan
    Nov 13, 2017 at 6:46
  • Impelled, urged, inspired, and stimulated all come to mind.
    – user252723
    Nov 13, 2017 at 7:05
  • damaged by? (I agree with your doubts about the logic and wonder what the original writer thought "galvanized by" meant here.) Possibly just use "affected by"? or "influenced by"?
    – Xanne
    Nov 13, 2017 at 7:31
  • I think the original writer of the piece meant 'provoked by moral concerns', though whether or not that is a true understanding of how market systems actually work is another matter. 'Galvanized into action' is the meaning.books.google.com/ngrams/…
    – Nigel J
    Nov 13, 2017 at 8:27
  • Embiggened? (sorry, but it's just such a good fit). Which have arisen from is a poor second.
    – Phil Sweet
    Nov 14, 2017 at 4:06

1 Answer 1


Galvanise is a metaphor for "protect" - though extended usage may have more to do with "springing into action". But here I just think it means "protect".

It comes from the practice of coating metal objects with a protective layer applied with the use of galvanitic electrolysis, to prevent rusting.

It seems to me a perfectly apt word to use in the context you quote. But a synonym would of course be protect.

  • It's not so much protection in the OP's context - I think it's more courage, perhaps rationalised as the courage that comes from knowing that one is protected.
    – Lawrence
    Nov 13, 2017 at 8:24
  • Of course, galvanization does involve running an electric current through the target object. So I suppose there is an inherent "shock factor".
    – Hot Licks
    Nov 13, 2017 at 13:00
  • Wrong type of galvanic action @WS
    – Phil Sweet
    Nov 14, 2017 at 3:44
  • @PhilSweet Umm! Interesting.
    – WS2
    Nov 14, 2017 at 18:12

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.