The Devil's Financial Dictionary

This glossary of financial terms is inspired by Ambrose Bierce’s masterpiece The Devil’s Dictionary, which the great American satirist published sporadically between 1881 and 1906. (View free versions of Bierce’s text here or here.) Like Bierce’s brilliantly cynical definitions, the explanations presented here should not — quite — be taken as literally true. Some of these entries are adapted from articles published previously in Financial History, Money, and The Wall Street Journal.


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Q

 

QUANT, n.  A trader or investor who relies primarily or exclusively on computer software and mathematical formulae without the noisy inputs of human judgment.  The results, of course, can only be as good or bad as the judgment of the human who manipulates the software and the mathematical formulae.  (See also MODEL.)

 

QUIET PERIOD, n.  An interval before a company’s public offering of its securities during which the company provides no useful information to investors, as opposed to all other times, when it provides almost no useful information.

 


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