Date: Fri, 23 Jan 1998 05:13:59 EST
From: Bapopik Bapopik[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]AOL.COM
Subject: Wall Street Words (revisited)
When the New York Public Library's Science, Industry & Business Library
(SIBL) opened about a year ago, I had no desire to read every book in the
In fact, I was perfectly happy to AVOID every book in the place--many of
the books are jargon-filled snoozers.
I've talked to several people about a WALL STREET DICTIONARY (a
dictionary of American business based on historical principles), and they all
think it's a good idea. Previous business terms discussed here include
"Greenspan Effect," "irrational exurberance," "glass ceiling," "Super Bowl
Index," "January Effect," "dead-cat bounce," "Dilbert," "moolah," "In God We
Trust," "O. K." (described as a Wall Street term in 1839, and in constant
business use since), "lame duck," "corner," "Black Friday/Blue Monday"--there
have been a few.
The dictionary I want to do will have all the words of American
business--slang and standard, current and historical. From Washington
Irving's "almighty dollar" to Oliver Stone's "greed is good" to "bulls" to
"bears" to "cats" to "dogs" to "Asian tigers" to "origin of the dollar mark"
to "technical analysis" and "P-E ratio." Everything.
My interest started with the stock market drop at the end of October,
when a former broker used the term "dead cat bounce." Then I said again,
seriously, it might be time to buy, to which the former broker replied, again
"Never catch a falling knife!"
How many of these did she have??
I surveyed Barnes & Noble, the McGraw-Hill Professional Bookstore, and
the Strand used books this week, and here's what's out there:
WALL STREET WORDS by David L. Scott (1988, 1997 revised edition)--This is the
revised edition? "Bull" and "bear" are on an equal footing with "dead cat
bounce"--you'd never know the latter is a new slang term and the former ir
almost 300 years old. No "Greenspan Effect" or "glass ceiling." Reads like a
list that's available free on the internet.
WALL STREET WORDS by Richard Marturi (1996)--An inferior WALL STREET WORDS.
These Wall Street types can't even think of a new title??
RANDOM HOUSE WEBSTER'S POCKET BUSINESS DICTIONARY (second edition
1997)--Thankfully, Jesse Sheidlower's name is not on this. Has "dead cat
bounce," but no "January Efect," no "Super Bowl Index," no "Greenspan Effect,"
no "Asian tiger," and no "cats and dogs." Only $6.99, though.
DICTIONARY OF FINANCE AND INVESTMENT TERMS (Baron's, 1995)--Barron's has a
number of these dictionaries, including a DICTIONARY OF BANKING TERMSand a
DICTIONARY OF ACCOUNTING TERMS. This explains over 5,000 terms. It has "dead
cat bounce" and "cats and dogs" and "January Effect" and even "Super Bowl
Indicator." At 682 pages and $11.95, the best of its type. No "greed is
good" or "Greenspan." (Not updated since 1995.) A good start for the bones
of an historical dictionary.
A DICTIONARY OF BUSINESS (Oxford paperback reference, 1996)--No one seems to
have written this. Oxford is expanding this series and also has an Economics
Dictionary. Has "dead cat bounce," but no "cats and dogs." Surprisingly, no
"January Effect." At 538 pages and $14.95, it's inferior to Baron's, but
still provides good bones for a better dictionary.
THE ENCYCLOPEDIC DICTIONARY OF BUSINESS TERMS by Mary A. DeVries (Berkley
paperback, 1997)--Looks like it might be good for some secretaries. A
compilation of stuff ("definitions from 32 fields"), none very impressive.
Only $6.99 for 498 pages, though.
THE INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS DICTIONARY AND REFERENCE by Lewis A. Presner
(Wiley, 1991)--Overprices hardcover at $49.95 for 486 pages. Only book of
this type that has a bibliography! It appears to be international, all right,
but it doesn't seem to work for any country. Probably didn't sell at all.
WALL STREET SLANG: HIGH STEPPERS, FALLEN ANGELS, & LOLLIPOPS by Kathleen
Odean (Dodd Mead, 1988)--Out of print, but two copies are left at the Strand
for $9. I checked the Library of Congress, and this is the ONLY book on Wall
Street Slang!! It's 10 years old, and doesn't have "dead cat bounce" or
"Greenspan Effect." The lack of "kiting" is surprising, but otherwise a nice
job. No illustrations. It has a few "Napoleons"--I have items about the
origin of "Napoleon of Finance." Updated and combined with Barron's, it's a
start for a real dictionary.
I went to NYU; NYU is in New York City and has a School of Business that
is well funded by Robert Tisch. A crosscheck of Bobcat with the NYPL and RLIN
catalogs shows that it's missing about half of the books it should have.
(HIGH STEPPERS, for example.) And there aren't that many.
That's about it for available financial word books in the Business Capital
of the World. Is there room for another?
I might be missing something, but check OEDS for "junk bonds."
(Personal note--I'm leaving for the weekend and can't reply immediately.)