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It's a glossary of investing terms edited and maintained by our analysts, writers and YOU, our Foolish community.

Fool slang

For acronyms pertaining to investing, go to Investing Acronyms

This is a list of slang and acronyms that commonly appear on The Motley Fool Discussion Boards, CAPS, and other places throughout the Fool community.

You will note that although most "shorthand" acronyms used in posting on the Discussion Boards utilize capitals, the actual phrases for which they act as a substitute, if used in the normal course of writing, would likely be typed in mixed or lower-case letters. These acronyms probably came about in the same way as shorthands in texting. It's easier and faster to type the shorter version, although it assumes that everyone else knows what it means.

That's where this page comes in. It will help you "join the club" and feel a bit more Foolish (and a bit less "f"oolish) when reading and/or writing posts.

Don't feel too badly that you didn't already know what all these meant! After all, if you don't know what you don't know, how are you gonna know that you need to know it?

Commonly used acronyms

FWIW, here's the list:

1) May sometimes translate as, "I think this has a great deal of value, but in case you might disagree, I've framed it with this little acronym to try and show some measure of humility."
2) Possible alternate translation: "It may not be worth a whole lot, but I'm throwing it out there for the general edification of anyone who might find it useful."
  • HTH = Hope this helps/helped
  • HWHIL = He who hesitates is lost
  • IDK = I don't know
  • IINM = If I'm not mistaken
  • IIRC = If I remember correctly
IOW, "I think I've got it right, but I don't have time to verify it right now."
  • IMO = In my opinion
  • IMFO = In my Foolish opinion
  • IMHO = In my humble opinion
Meant to add a touch of humor and grace to the sometimes highly opinionated idea being referenced.
  • IMNSHO = In my not so humble opinion
"I have great knowledge of this subject, and if you disagree with me, I will scowl righteously."
  • IOW = In other words
  • JMO = Just my opinion
  • JMHO = Just my humble opinion (see IMHO above)
  • JM2C = Just my 2 cents (worth)
  • $.02 = Another way to say my two cents worth, frequently at the end of a post
  • OMG = Oh my gosh, oh my gawd, oh my golly, oh my goodness... take your pick
  • OP = Opening/Original poster
Used to reference the person who started that particular thread on the discussion boards
  • OT = Off topic
Gives a heads-up that what follows is not germane to the topic at hand and may not be of interest to everyone, so feel free to slide past it when reading the thread.
A post of beauty, intellect, or just plain old common sense that amuses, educates, and enriches.
  • RB = Rule Breaker
1) One who believes that the world is changed for the better by those who aren't afraid to bend, or break, the rules when an improvement will result.
2) A Motley Fool newsletter.
3) Alternately, as defined by the Fool Rule Breaker himself, Motley Fool's own David Gardner:
(a) A company that takes an existing industry by storm, threatening to grab some or all of the future profits by changing the rules of the game.
(b) A subscriber to the Motley Fool Rule Breakers service; a contrary thinker who possesses a sense of humor and understands the benefits of online collaboration to enrich both one's life and one's bank account.
  • RL port = Real life portfolio
The investing portfolio that we have in "real life," in which we invest our own hard-earned dollars... as opposed to "play" portfolios, in which we compose lists of investments to satisfy the protocols of a game or other parallel portfolio (such as CAPS).
  • SA = The Motley Fool Stock Advisor newsletter
  • TANSTAAFL = There ain't no such thing as a free lunch
  • WAG = Wild (arsed) guess
  • YMMV = Your mileage may vary
Usually used in the context of offering advice with examples, wtih the connotation that your results won't necessarily match those given.
  • %$@!! = Self censorship
"I won't say what I would like to say out of respect for others on the Fool boards, but you get my drift."

Commonly used slang terms

  • Minkey/Minkette = As posted by flyerboys on one of the Rule Breakers boards...
"Minkey" {or Minkette -- the female version} is a classic line from Peter Sellers as Clouseau in "Return of the Pink Panther." Clouseau is distracted from a bank robbery by a "blind" accordionist and his monkey, or "minkey" as Clouseau calls it. I think we all loved the idea of being a horde of "minkeys" ambling through the financial centers of the world, inducing confusion as we go about our business.
Also, I think there is something about RB thinking that has a close affinity with the absurd, relentlessly tracking down huge diamonds, causing total bafflement to onlookers, and winning out in the end.

Note that use of this term, and its coming into the common lexicon of RB posts, was originated by TMFBreakerRob. It is used to affectionately refer to oneself (or others) as a "rule breaker" (see acronyms above), one who has a bit of the imp in them, and who like to let it come out and play now and then.

This is a good thing, as posited by Rule Breakers who use the term.

  • Noodle Shop = This term, originated by TMFeatnbybears, has come into the common lexicon of Fool posts by sheer force of use by none other than that Minkey himself, TMFBreakerRob. Its genesis was the idea that maybe some of the little-known Chinese companies, lacking transparency, in which folks might invest "could be nothing more than a 'noodle shop' with a fax machine and visions of milking the investing public" (to quote Rob, who was probably quoting Bears).

Definition as posted by Sarahgen on one of the Rule Breakers boards: "High beta small cap Chinese companies that we know so little about - they actually *could* be noodle shops. They *say* they manufacture solar panels or create nutritional supplements or are dairy farmers - but if one of us took a trip there, we might just find out they consist only of a sign, with no business behind it."

As it has come to be used, it can refer in a friendly way to any Chinese company in which folks invest -- not just those companies without major coverage, lacking transparency and verifiable accounting. They are investments that take us out of our comfort zone, because they aren't easily researched by those of us outside the roaring market that is China.

  • Lurker = Anyone who reads and follows posts made on the Motley Fool Boards, but who does not generally post themselves. It is not a pejorative term, as used here at TMF. It merely reflects, in a much more friendly way than the term itself implies, that a person prefers to stay in the shadows of the boards, following along anonymously, as it were. It is not a sinister thing to do. Some folks simply aren't comfortable posting on public boards for their own reasons.

Sometimes, they may come out and post an original message or respond to another's post. Nevertheless, for the most part, lurkers remain behind the scenes, hidden from view.