The two most common uses of this word at first glance seem unconnected. The first and perhaps more common usage is the figurative one meaning to urge and stimulate people into positive action, which dates from the mid-19th century. The second is the literal process of galvanising metal. The word galvanise is an eponym derived from the name of Italian scientist Luigi Galvani (1737-1798) who is credited with the discovery in 1771 of what is now known as bioelectricity. By the mid-19th century, both the figurative and literal meanings were in general use.