Turbulent times call for eloquence, obfuscation, literary skill and, sometimes, a knack for being creative with the truth. In the past couple of weeks, various CEOs and spokesmen have excelled themselves, building on that old genre of “crisis speak” (“things are not necessarily going in our favour” etc.) to develop an even more – er, oblique – set of phrases to deal with these times.
Here are some choice examples, drawn from FT Alphaville’s expert
critics commenters and the letters column of the FT.
From Aidan Kennedy of London SW11, and who believes “it might be time for the credit crunch generation to develop its own lexicon”:
- To AIG disgracefully: to casually take out an enormous loan.
- To applegarth: to let ambition get the better of you.
- To fuld: to prevaricate fatally.
- To greenspan: to conveniently forget your errors.
- To paulson: to screw your former competitor.
- To thain: to get out while the going’s good.
- To bernanke: to suffer from recurring nausea. For example, “My stomach’s a bit bernanke this morning.”
Finally, a proverb: “Beware of Greeks bearing stearns” which means you may be forced to gazump yourself.
From WilliamBanzai7, who has quite a way with words:
JOHN McCAIN Meets Wall Street – The following Fighter Pilot JARGON glossary is provided in order to expedite discussions with John McCain concerning TARP (aka Clusterf—)
- Agent Orange: A toxic equity tranche
- Body Count: Number of bankers fired
- E&E: Escape and evasion tactics: Often applied by Wall Street CEOs
- Hootch: What investors smoke before they visit Bear Stearns and Lehman
- ****: What you will find in Lehman and AIG’s financial footnotes
- Level 3 Asset: Covert assets
- Delta: A Wall Street hedging strategy
- Oversight: What Congress must do: Excuse us for the oversight.
- AAA: Anti Aircraft Artillery/ also Rating Agency Jargon
- AVRN: Already Very Rough Numbers
- Golden Parachute: Every pilot and CEO must have one
- Tailhook: The contingent liability payable under a CDS
- SAM: S—ty asset marks
- Bandits: Wall Street Bankers
- Jesus Bolt: The nut that holds everything together
- Gigahertz and Nanoseconds: Highly technical, detailed, and hard to understand (“It’s getting down to gigahertz and nanoseconds.”)
- Lost the Bubble: Got confused or forgot what was happening.
- Loud Handle: Lever or grip that fires ejection seat. Often used by Wall Street CEOs
- Selling short: What the US government does to its Armed Forces
- Smoking Hole: A bottomless crash site. Toxic asset mark downs.
- TOP Gun: Rainmaker
- Tunneling: What hedgefund shorts do to financial reports
- Up on the Governor: When someone is about to have a tantrum (term comes from the device that keeps the engine from overspeeding).
- Up to Speed, or Up to Snuff: To understand or to know what’s going on.
- Unknown Unknowns: The derivatives market
We invite your suggestions.