Morose or Eager, Bulls or Bears, We Look Like Our Ancestors

Peck, Maureen
October 2007
Journal of Financial Planning;Oct2007, Vol. 20 Issue 10, p10
Academic Journal
The article discusses the origins of the terms "bull" and "bear" to denote, respectively, one who is optimistic and one who is pessimistic about the stock market. The 1785 book "Every Man his Own Broker" by Thomas Mortimer provided definitions that parallel today's understanding. The Internet web site investopedia.com suggests the meaning derives from the animals' modes of attack, a bull thrusting upwards and a bear swatting downwards. Another possible explanation for "bear" hails from the days of fur-trading, when brokers sold bearskins they did not yet own. Finally, a 17th-century aphorism that cautions against selling a bearskin before having caught the bear could be a source.


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