10 January 2013

Bears And Bulls Circa 1811

The 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue contains a wealth of information, including, perhaps, the origin of stock market terms:

BEAR. One who contracts to deliver a certain quantity of sum of stock in the public funds, on a future day, and at stated price; or, in other words,sells what he has not got, like the huntsman in the fable, who sold the bear's skin before the bear was killed. As the bear sells the stock he is not possessed of, so the bull purchases what he has not money to pay for; but in case of any alteration in the price agreed on, either party pays or receives the difference. Exchange Alley.

See another 1811 term in my War Of 1812 Chronicles blog here.

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