Septaper Surprise!: 20 Wonky Financial Slang Terms You Probably Didn’t Know

Terms that are use to obfuscate financial transitions.
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Slang, linguist Jonathan Lighter once wrote, is a way to convey an insider’s wry appraisal, something to boost a slangster’s ego by showing familiarity with concepts that bemuse others. That description may help explain why slang is so prevalent in the financial world, a generally bemusing place where insider knowledge reigns supreme.

Right now, the wonky buzzwords making the rounds are Septaper and Octaper. Financial analysts had predicted that September would be a time for tapering, a drop-off in bond-buying that the Fed has been doing to keep interest rates in check. That hasn’t happened yet—which was a “Septaper surprise” to analysts—but the annals of wonky Wall Street buzzwords do, at least, have another entry.

Here are some other weird and wacky financial slang terms, with definitions derived from Oxford University Press’s specialized dictionaries:

alligator spread (n.): any spread (the difference between the buying and selling price) in which any…

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