I’ve long been a fan of Ambrose Bierce’s Unabridged Devil’s Dictionary.
Bloomberg’s John Dorfman has put together his own version: Stock Market Dictionary Via the Devil’s Tongue.
Here are my favorite entries:
Accountant: A person who determines a company’s revenue and earnings figures,
and who is also paid by the company. An old joke has a CEO interviewing several
prospective accountants. He asks each one, “How much is two plus two?” The
winning answer: “How much would you like it to be?”
Bear market: An unpleasant downturn in stock prices, generally exceeding 20
percent, that ends the day after you give up and sell all of your stocks.
Day trader: Someone whose investment time horizon is shorter than yours.
Earnings: (1) Profits. (2) The excess of revenue over expenses. (3) An
arbitrary figure engineered by a company’s executives to facilitate the
rewarding of generous bonuses to themselves.
Long term: That period of time over which I am proven right.
Pro forma earnings: A company’s self-serving earnings statement in which
unfavorable things are disregarded on the grounds that they don’t really matter.
Stock Market Dictionary Via the Devil’s Tongue
Bloomberg, Feb 28, 2006