Stock Market Dictionary Via the Devil’s Tongue

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   
John Dorfman
Bloomberg, Feb 28, 2006

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What's been said:

Discussions found on the web:
  1. Tom Gibson commented on Mar 4

    You meant “Bierce”, not “Pierce.”

  2. Leisa commented on Mar 4

    My newspaper used to run John Dorfman’s column in its weekly business section. I found consistently profitable stock ideas from him. He’s been MIA in my paper for a few months now. How nice to see this. Being a CPA and working as a CFO for many years, I remembered a job interview with a middle market company’s CEO. He said “folks tell me that CPA’s often have a hard time choosing between his/her professional interests and the company’s interest.” Long pause before I realized it was my turn to speak–hey I was young and idealistic and didn’t quite understand the intent. I stated frankly that I could always get a job anywhere because of my professional designation and that I would never do anything that would compromise my professional designation. I did get the job! I maintain that being a CFO is one of the hardest jobs in the world. It has been sickening to see this profession so cheapened for exactly the same reasons that made this definition so funny. Sorry for the rant…a little repressed anger!

  3. bronxite commented on Mar 4

    John’s columns can be viewed on the website.

    here’s a few more:

    IPO: a short sale by corporate management (see also secondary offering).

    buyback: covering the short sale from and IPO or secondary offering.

    analyst: a frustrated fund manager.

  4. bt commented on Mar 5

    One Time Expenses

    Expenses that occur only once per quarter. A popular misinterpretation is that these expenses occur only once in the company’s lifetime.

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