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Talk The Trader Talk: A Journey Into The Realm Of Trader Slang

Slang is a natural evolution of a language under working conditions. Every industry has its own slang vocabulary, which may or may not be composed of morphologies of words directly related to the job. Sometimes situations related to the job may evolve or devolve into adjectives, verbs, nouns of even completely new words that reflect the object in question. To the uninitiated, such terms may sound like gibberish and could well resemble the talk of thugs that has been so vividly presented many times over in television series and movies.

Whether it is pidgin, slang, argot, or a dialect, industries have their own ways of expressing their ins and outs. For instance, the exhaust system of automobiles is often called the “puffer” among mechanics, a “fat finger” is a larger than intended trade among bankers, a “gat” is a weapon among street gangs, and “all day” is a life sentence among prisoners. The lists of slang terms are endless and are an extremely interesting read.

The Trader Lingo

To make sure that MoonTrader users get into the feel of what it is like to be part of the crypto market, we have compiled a comprehensive summary of some of the most widespread slang terms used by traders. Knowing these terms is an important part of working on an exchange, as understanding what traders are talking about is half the job of becoming one of them and being able to delve into the processes taking place. To talk the talk and walk the walk, traders must understand each other and, most importantly, shorten their speech into a mixture of phrases comprehensible only for the initiated and mystical to outsiders.

Babysitting: A slang term used by traders all over the world from Wall Street to the most obscure exchanges in Africa. The term means holding a trade that has been losing out for a while in hopes that it will gain in price, usually in vain. For example: “You’ve been babysitting that option for way too long, it’s a hopeless cause.”

Crunching: A situation in which a stock’s or asset’s price starts falling rapidly and has no support levels. For example: “The XXX stock is going down the drain. It’s crunching, leave it!”

Jig Out: This is a situation when the market makes a sudden turn for the worse and an investor or trader loses out as a result. For example: “The YYY stock jigged out on me today. Lost half a mil.”

Learning Curve: A fairy common expression meaning the amount of time and effort someone, such as a budding new trader, has to put into something to master the art and “learn the ropes”. For example: “The learning curve for Forex is pretty steep.”

Melt: Another fairly common expression that can be encountered in the world of finance, which signifies that a lot of money has been lost and an account has been depleted. For example: “My account melted through today after the market jigged me out on that nut.”

Nut: While nuts may be tasty as a snack or very useful for keeping things bound together with bolts, in trading a nut is the total amount of commissions that have to be paid for a certain trade. For example: “The nut on ZZZ is crazy these days.”

Permabull / Permabear: Since bullish markets are positive and bearish markets are sleepy, the traders working on such a market are called bulls or bears. There are some optimists who believe that such markets are always there. These traders are called permabulls. The opposite are permabears. For example: “Even if the market is dead and floating, he will still act like a permabull”.

Printing on the “O”: If we consider that O is an extreme abbreviation of the term “Override”, then the phrase means that the price of an asset is below the bid price and there is an urgent need to sell it. “XYZ is printing on the Os all day!”

Scalper/Scalping: The idea of scalping is opening hundreds and thousands of small trades in a short amount of time in hopes of generating a large amount of small profits. Scalpers are traders who engage in scalping. For example: “He’s a heck of a scalper.”

Slippage: A common situation for inexperienced traders who lose on assets that are insoluble and cause losses due to higher or lower prices. For example: “He’s been slipping on ZZZ for three weeks in a row.”

Squiggly Lines: Technical analysis consists of graphs and indicators that traders use to make sense of market dynamics. The lines on graphs are never straight, which would mean that the market is comatose, thus they are called squiggly, or uneven lines. For example: “I’ve been staring at the squiggly lines all day and my eyes are popping out.”

Tank: A tank is not only a military machine or a container, but also a verb, which could either mean to fill something up, like a container or a stomach, and also a drop. In this case, tanking means a market collapse. For example: “The market’s tanking! All is lost! All is lost!”

Unicorn, Vulture, Whale: The trading terminology bestiary is full of terms that have gained animalistic form. A unicorn is a situation reminiscent of the mythical beast, when a startup has reached a $1 billion valuation. A vulture is a trader who preys on falling assets and buys them up in hopes that they will rise in the future. A whale is a holder of a large amount of capital or an asset.

Stick: The US dollar has a lot of synonyms from bucks and dough to aces and greenbacks. The stick is another synonym for the US currency used in trading. For example: “Made a K load of sticks today trading XYZ.”

Whack: A fairy straightforward term meaning that a trader has lost a fair amount of money. For example: “I got whacked trading ZZZ the other day.”

Bottom Fishing: There are traders and there are speculators. When a market has “tanked”, assets usually cost much lower and a certain breed of traders emerges who start buying up assets that have lost in value in hopes of selling them off at higher prices later. Such actions are called bottom fishing, or scooping up assets that have floated to the surface of a market like dead fish after a bomb goes off underwater. For example: “The market has sunk today and the sharks are bottom fishing.”

Choppiness: The market is never a calm place and its trials and tribulations are often compared to storms and waves. Since waves can be choppy, or rough in terms of the height of their crests, it is fair to compare market volatility to wavy seas. For example: “The choppiness of the market is not allowing institutional investors to enter with their capital.”

Dark Pools: There is always liquidity on the market that is hid away from average traders. Such liquidity is called a dark pool, which is usually in the hands of special groups. In essence, these are trading volumes created by orders placed by institutional investors.  For example: “The dark pools are buying up Bitcoins real quick.”

Dead Cat Bounce or Rubber Band Effect: Since markets are unpredictable, it is often possible for markets to suddenly rebound after seeming dead for a long time. Such a situation is called a dead cat bounce, or a rubber band effect, which is quite figurative in itself. For example: “The market is preparing for a possible dead cat bounce after the recent wave of news.”

Hodl: A bastardization of the term Hold, misspelled by a drunk BitcoinTalk user, which simply means holding an asset in hopes that it will rise in price. For example: “Hodl Bitcoin! Hodl it!”

Short squeeze: There are situations when an asset suddenly rises in price and forces traders to close their positions. For example: “The holders were forced to short squeeze after the price of ZZZ suddenly spiked”.

Resistance Zone: In technical analysis, this is the area between the current support and resistance areas. Prices usually start resisting other prices in such areas and may start falling. For example: “The resistance area of $120 has been reached for ZZZ and we can expect a decline to areas of $100.”

Fallen Angel: Assets that may have reached price heaven are not guaranteed to stay there and it often happens that a highly valued asset has suddenly lost in price. Usually, this biblical analogy refers to high yielding bonds that once had investment grades. For example: “ZZZ has turned into a fallen angel after the US introduced sanctions against country YYY.”

Fat Tail: In statistics, such cases are called outliers and signify that a value has moved away from the mean and has gained a high degree of riskiness. For example: “ZZZ is showing fat tails and will soon reach non-investment levels.”

Flavor: Given the abundance of types of orders and assets on the market, traders often do not distinguish between them and simply call them different flavors. For example: “How about some ZZZ flavor?”

Hit The Bid: A rather straightforward expression meaning that someone has decided to sell an asset. For example: “The price just hit the low, so go and hit the bid”.

Odd Lot: A lot is usually considered to be a million dollars. An odd lot is anything under a million dollars. For example: “I sold that odd lot of ZZZ yesterday.”

Smoke And Mirrors: The poetic expression has made its way onto the market and means that a corporate entity is distorting the market image in hopes of attaining its own goals, usually to make an asset seem more attractive. For example: “The market is all smoke and mirrors after ZZZ flushed its stocks on.”

The list of trading slang terms is endless in its variety and the only way to fully immerse one’s self into it is trading actively and gaining experience. Years of work on any market in any industry will eventually saturate a participant’s mind with the necessary skills and terminology turn any greenhorn into a pro.

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