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Definitions R – Z

Leadership and Business Dictionary

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Race To The Bottom – A phrase said to be coined by US Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis. A situation in which competition between nations could result in lower standards, cheaper wages, poorer working conditions, etc.

Racketeer – A person who makes money through illegal business or crime, such as extortion, bribery, fraud, etc.

Rack Rate – The full price of something before discounts have been offered, especially hotel rooms.

R&D – Research and Development. Investigative work carried out by a business to improve and develop products and processes.

Raid – On the Stock Exchange, a situation where an individual or company makes a hostile bid to take over another company by buying a controlling interest in the company’s shares.

RAID – Redundant Array of Independent Disks. On a computer, a way of storing data by spreading it across multiple disks, therefore providing greater security, faster access, etc.

Rainmaker – An employee, often an executive, who brings a lot of business and income to a company.

RAM – Random Access Memory. In computing, the place where current data is stored while a computer is being used. The data is removed when the computer is switched off.

Random Sample – Often used in research, a method of sampling members of a large group, such as a population, in which everyone has an equal chance of being selected.

Rank And File – The ordinary members of a group, such as enlisted troops in an army, or members of a union, who have no power.

Rate Of Return – The amount of profit or loss generated by an investment, expressed as a percentage of the total sum invested.

Rate Card – A printed list of charges and details regarding advertising costs on television, radio, websites, newspapers, etc.

Ratify – To sanction formally. Validate an agreement with a vote or signature.

Rating Agency – A company which assesses and rates businesses on their credit-worthiness and/or their ability to repay debts.

Ratings Point – The measure of a size of an audience, i.e. one point equals one per cent of all households watching a television program or listening to a radio station at a particular time.

Ratio Analysis – A study of a company’s financial statements which show the relationships between items listed on a balance sheet and gives an indication as to whether the company can meet its current obligations.

Rat Race – The exhausting, competitive struggle and routine of working and living in a large town or city.

Reactive Marketing – Describes when companies or businesses wait for customers to contact them in order to buy their products or services.

Ready-To-Wear – Describes clothing that is produced in standard sizes and designs and sold as finished products in retail outlets.

Real Estate – Also called Realty. Property consisting of land with permanent structures on it, such as buildings, walls, fences, etc.

Real Time – In computing, systems which receive information and update it at the same time.
Ream – 500 sheets of paper. A large quantity of written material.

Rebadge – To change the name , brand or logo of an existing product or business, especially cars.
Reboot – To switch a computer off and restart it again immediately.

Rebrand – Change the name, packaging, etc., of an existing product or business and advertise it as new and improved.

Recall – To ask customers to return a product which they have bought because it has been found to be faulty or dangerous.

Recapitalize – To put more money into a business, often one which is facing bankruptcy. To reorganize a company’s capital structure by exchanging preferred stock for bonds, usually to reduce taxes.

Receivables – Shown as assets on a balance sheet, money which is owed to a company by customers who have purchased goods or services on credit.

Receiver – An independent person appointed by a court to manage and control the finances, property, etc., of a bankrupt company, who usually sells the company’s assets in order to pay the creditors.

Recession – The decline of a country’s economy over a period of time, resulting in unemployment, less productivity, less trade, etc.

Recognition Test – Also known as Readership Test. A test carried out after people have read a newspaper, magazine, etc., to see if they have remembered or read a particular advertisement.

Record Date – A date set by a company by which an investor must be recorded as owning shares in order to qualify to receive dividends and be able to vote at a shareholders meeting.

Recorded Delivery – A postal system for which an extra fee is charged in addition to postage. The sender is given a receipt at the time of posting and the recipient signs a form to confirm delivery.

Recruit – To seek employees for a business or organization. To enlist military personnel.

Red-Circling – The practice of protecting the salary of employees whose jobs have been downgraded because of the restructuring, etc., of the company.

Red Ink – Term used when referring to a company’s financial loss.

Redundancy – A situation in which an employer intends to cease business, so therefore the workforce lose their jobs, or an employee is made redundant because their job no longer exists in the company they work for. Employees in these situations often qualify for redundancy pay. Also, used as a factor in the re-engineering of processes and work flow – then eliminate or reduce the number of tasks involved.

Reference – A letter/statement written about a person by someone who knows them, detailing their abilities, character, qualifications, etc., which is sent to a prospective employer.

Registered Capital – Also called Authorized Capital. The maximum value of shares which a company can legally issue.

Registered Company – A company which has filed an SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) registration, and may issue new shares.

Registered Trademark – A distinctive symbol, name, etc., on a product or company, which is registered and protected by law so it cannot legally be used by anyone else.

Registrar – A person in a company or organization who is in charge of official records.

Registration Statement – A legal document containing details about a company’s activities, financial status, etc., which must be submitted to the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) before the company can issue shares.

Reinsurance – The practice of sharing insurance risk among several insurance companies, in case of major disasters such as floods, hurricanes, etc.

Remunerate – To pay a person for services rendered, goods, losses incurred, etc.

Renewal Notice – An advanced notice of payment required to renew insurance cover, subscription, etc., by a certain date.

Rental Fleet – Cars, vans, etc., which a business leases from a vehicle leasing company for its workers to use, usually sales teams, executives, service engineers, etc.

Reporting Line – In a business or organization, employees, managers, etc., who report to the next person higher up, usually their boss.

Repossess – To take back property, goods, etc., usually from an individual or organization who has failed to repay a loan or has defaulted on a repayment plan.

Repudiate – Refusal to perform a contractual duty or repay a debt.

Requisition – An official written request or demand for something.
Rescind – To make void or cancel, i.e. a law or contract.

Research – The gathering of information, facts, data, etc., about a particular subject.

Reserve Currency – A foreign currency which is permanently held by a country’s central bank, and is used for international transactions.

Reserve Price – The lowest fixed price at which a seller will sell an item at auction. If the bidding does not reach the reserve price then the item is not sold unless the highest bidder comes to an arrangement with the seller.

Residual Risk – The risk that can affect a company’s share prices, production, etc., such as a sudden strike by employees.

Residual Income – Part of a person’s income which is left over after taxes and living expenses, i.e. mortgage, bills, etc., have been deducted.

Residual Value – Also Called Salvage Value. The market value of an asset which is no longer in use or has reached the end of its useful life.

Resource Allocation – The process of assigning available finances, materials, labor, etc., to a project.

Restitution – Money paid by an offender in compensation for loss, damages or injury. To give something back to its rightful owner.

Restrictive Practice – A trading agreement between businesses or industries which prevents free competition. The practice of workers, often trade unions, of protecting their jobs in a manner which limits the freedom of other workers.

Resume – A written summary of a person’s education, employment record, qualifications, etc., which is often submitted with a job application.

Retail Banking – a.k.a. Consumer Banking. Banking services provided directly to the public, such as savings accounts, credit/debit cards, mortgages, etc.

Retailer – A business or individual who sells products or services directly to the customer.

Retail Investor – a.k.a Small Investor. An individual who buys and sells shares, etc., for themselves, usually in small quantities.

Retail Park – Usually situated on the outskirts of a large town, a large retail development consisting of shops, stores, car parking, and often cinemas and restaurants.

Retail Price Index – RPI. An inflation indicator, usually calculated on a monthly basis, reflected in the retail price of everyday goods, such as food, fuel, fares, etc.

Retail Therapy – Shopping which is done for enjoyment and to relieve stress.

Retained Earnings – The earnings of a business or company which is used for reinvestment, rather than being distributed to shareholders as dividends.

Retained Profits – A business profit, after tax and dividend payments to shareholders, which is retained by the business and often used for reinvestment.

Retainer – A fee paid in advance to someone, such as a lawyer, to engage their services as and when they are required.

Retrench – To cut down on spending, economize. To reduce a workforce, i.e. dismiss someone because they are no longer required.

Return On Assets – ROA. Net income divided by total cost or value of assets. The more expensive a company’s assets, the less profit the assets will generate.

Return On Capital Employed – ROCE. A company’s financial indicator which compares earnings with the company’s capital investments.

Return On Investment – ROI. Also known as Rate Of Return. The percentage of profit earned by an investment in a business, etc.

Revenue Stamp – A stamp or sticker which is put on an item, i.e. a packet of cigarettes, as proof that a government tax has been paid.

Reverse Auction – A type of auction in which there are several sellers and only one buyer. The buyer usually purchases the goods or service from the seller who offers the lowest price.

Reverse Billing – A payment method used for messaging on mobile phones in which the recipient pays for the text message.

Reverse Merger – When a private company acquires the majority of a public company’s shares, therefore enabling the private company to get a public listing on the stock exchange.

Revolving Credit – A type of credit agreement, e.g., a credit card, in which a person is given a specified credit limit which can be paid in full or in part, usually on a monthly basis. If the amount owing is paid in full in the first month then usually no interest is charged. When the full credit limit has been reached a payment must be made before the credit card can be used again.

Rider – An attachment which makes amendments or provisions to an original contract or official document. In the entertainment industry, a rider is a list of demands made by a performer, usually before a show, sometimes including particular foods and drinks, hotels and transport, free tickets for friends and family, etc.

Rights Issue – The issuing of new shares which are offered to a company’s existing shareholders at a fixed price, usually lower than the market price.

Risk – In business, especially insurance, the amount of money a company stands to lose, or the threat of an action or event which will have an adverse effect on a business.

Roaming – A service which enables a person to connect to the Internet, or use their mobile phone, while they are traveling.

Rogue Trader – A stockbroker who makes unauthorized, usually high risk, trades on behalf of their employer, often resulting in huge losses.

Rolling Contract – A contract which runs for a specific period of time and continues to be renewed for further periods, subject to review.

Round Lot – Also called Normal Trading Unit. A block of shares, usually 100, which is traded on the Stock Market.

Route 128 – Also known as Yankee Division Highway. A highway encircling Boston , Massachusetts, which is associated with the technology industry.

Router – A device which connects at least two computer networks and sends data from one to the other.

Royalty – A fee paid for the use of another person’s property, i.e. a copyrighted work, a patent, a franchise, etc. A payment made to a writer, composer or singer when a book, CD or performance of their work is sold. A share of the profit paid to the owner of the land which an oil or mining company is leasing.

RSI – Repetitive Stress Injury. Damage caused to hands, arms and neck due to continual computer use, or by repetitive movements while performing a task.

Rubber Check – A check which bounces, i.e. there are not enough funds in the account of the person who wrote the check for it to be cleared by the bank.

Running Cost – The day to day running costs of a business, i.e. wages, rent, utilities, etc.

Run Of Network – RON. Describes when an advertisement is placed on any page on one or more websites and the advertisers have no say where their advert is placed, usually because the advertising rates are cheaper.

Rush Hour – The peak periods at the beginning and end of the day, usually longer than an hour, when people are traveling to and from work.

Russell 2000 Index – Published by the Russell Company, an index which tracks the performance of 2000 smaller companies in the US.

Rust Belt – a.k.a. The Manufacturing Belt. In the US, an area which contains many old, un-modernized factories usually known for their rusting equipment, pipes and metal, such as steel works, many of which are now closed or not very profitable.


Sabbatical – A period of leave which is granted to an employee, sometimes up to a year, in order for them to study, travel, rest, etc.

Sabotage – To deliberately destroy or damage property, tools, or machinery in order to hinder production. To cause an obstruction to something in order to make it unsuccessful.

Safety Stock – a.k.a. Buffer Stock. Extra stock kept by a company or business in case of extra demand or late deliveries of new stock.

Salami Slicing – The process of carrying out small actions or removing something in very small amounts so that it goes unnoticed, i.e., stealing money. Traditional sales techniques used to get a prospect to buy a little bit to try a product or service with hopes of increasing the size of purchases over time.

Salary – An employees wages which are paid on a regular basis for performing their job.

Sale And Leaseback – An arrangement in which property, machinery, etc., is sold to a business or individual, who then immediately leases it back to the seller. Tactic for raising cash for liquidity purposes.

Sale Or Return – An agreement in which unsold goods can be returned to the supplier without the goods having to be paid for.

Sales And Marketing – The business of promoting and selling a company’s products or services. The department of a business which carries our these activities.

Sales Conference – A meeting at which members of a company’s sales team(s) are brought together to discuss or review ways of marketing the company’s products or services.

Sales Ledger – Also known as Accounts Receivable. A company’s record of transactions for goods and/or services which have been provided to a customer, and for which money is still owed.

Sales Pitch – A salespersons attempts to persuade a potential customer to buy something, often using demonstration and argument.

Sales Resistance – The refusal of a potential customer to buy a product or service, often as a result of aggressive selling practices.

Sales Tax –  A tax based on the cost of a product or service which must be paid by the buyer. This tax does not apply to all goods or services. In other countries it is called VAT or Value-Added-Tax.

Salvage Value – Also known as Residual Value. The estimated value of an asset, i.e. a piece of machinery, which is to be scrapped or removed.

Sandbagging – In a court of law, the practice by a lawyer of not mentioning a possible error which has occurred during a trial in the hope that it goes unnoticed and the lawyer can then use it as a basis for appeal.

Scab – A derogatory term for an employee who refuses to join a trade union, or who continues to work during a strike at their workplace. Also describes someone who accepts work or replaces a union worker during a strike.

Scalability – The ability of a computer network, software, etc., to expand and adapt to increased demands of users. A system which can work on a small or large scale according to demand.

Scam – Means of making money by deceit or fraud.

Scarcity Value – A situation where the more scarce an item is, the more its worth.

Scorched-Earth Policy – A situation in which a company tries to prevent a hostile take-over by selling off its most valuable assets, thereby making the company unattractive to a potential buyer. Derives from a military strategy of ‘leaving nothing for the enemy’ by burning crops, buildings, etc.

Screen-Based Activity – A task which is carried out using a computer.

Screening Interview – A brief, first interview, sometimes over the phone, with a company looking for potential job applicants. This process weeds out unsuitable applicants, and successful ones go on to the next stage of interviews.

Screensaver – A moving image on a computer screen which appears when there has been no screen activity for a specific time. Screensaver programs were originally used to prevent damage to the screen.

Scrip – A certificate which entitles someone to a parcel of shares. An issue of additional shares given to existing shareholders instead of dividends.

SD Card – Secure Digital Card. A small memory card used in portable devices such as mobile phones, cameras, etc.

Sealed Bid – A bid to buy an item, or a cost estimate for a contract, which is kept secret in a sealed envelope until all the bids have been received and are opened together.

SEAQ – Stock Exchange Automated Quotation system. Used in the UK, a system used on the London Stock Exchange which continuously updates share prices and shows the information on computer screens around the world.

Search Engine – Google, Bing, Yahoo, Ask, etc., are examples of Search Engines which locate, list and rank (according to various criteria and unknown algorithms) relevant websites and website content on the Internet when the user types in key words or phrases.

Secondary Action – A sympathy strike. Action which is taken by workers in one industry in support of striking workers in a separate but related industry.

Secondary Boycott – An organized protest to prevent or persuade a company from doing business with another company which is involved in a dispute.

Secondary Market – On the Stock Exchange, the purchasing of shares from another investor rather than from the issuing company.

Secondary Research – Also called Desk Research. The collating and analysis of existing data which has already been collected for another purpose often by an outside source.

Second Generation – Term which describes an improved product, service, etc.

Secretary – A person who works for another person , usually in an office, dealing with correspondence, filing, phone calls and other clerical duties.

Securities And Exchange Commission – SEC. A U.S. government agency which is responsible for protecting investors against fraudulent and dishonest practices in the securities market.

Security Deposit – A sum a buyer pays, which is not usually refundable, to protect the seller if the buyer does not complete a transaction or if a rented item gets damaged.

Seed Money – Money or assets set aside by a business in order to generate more profit or benefit in the future.

Seigniorage – Profit made by a government from printing and minting banknotes and coins. The profit being the difference between the cost of issuing the money and the face value of the money.

Selective Attention – Term which applies to consumers who only notice, or are aware of, certain pieces of information in advertisements, etc., because that is the only part in which the consumer is interested.

Self-Actualization – Term originally introduced by Kurt Goldstein, describing the need to realize one’s full potential, i.e. skills, abilities, etc.

Self-Employed – A person who earns their income by operating their own business, rather than working for an employer and receiving a salary.

Self-Supporting – Financially independent. Being able to operate without the help of others.

Seller’s Market – A situation in which there are more buyers than sellers, often resulting in high prices.

Selling Cost – Costs which are incurred for the advertising and distribution of a product.

Sell Limit Order – An order to a stock broker to sell a specific number of shares at or above a specified price.

Seminar – A business meeting for training purposes or for discussing ideas.

Semi-Skilled – Having or requiring some skills or special training to perform a job, such as operating machinery.

Semi-Structured Interview – An informal method of research in which set questions are asked which allow other questions to be brought up as a result of the interviewees response.

Sensitivity Analysis – Looks at the effects of the performance of a system, project, etc., by changing the variables, such as costs, sales, production, etc.

Sequential Sampling – A sampling method in which an unfixed number of samples are tested and enough data is collected before a decision can be made.

Sequester – Keeping a jury in isolation, under close supervision and away from the public and media, during a trial.

Sequestrate – To legally confiscate someone’s property until a debt has been paid.

Serial Bonds – a.k.a. Installment Bonds. Bonds which are issued on the same date but mature over a period of time, usually at regular intervals, so the issuer can spread the repayment to the investor.

Server – A computer which provides services, such as e-mail, file transfers, etc., to other computers connected to the network.

Service Economy – Part of a country’s economy which provides services, such as banking, tourism, education, retail, etc., rather than manufacturing or production.

Service Level Agreement – SLA. A contract, which can be legally binding, between a service supplier and a user, in which the terms of service are specified.

SET – Secure Electronic Transfer. A safe and confidential way of paying for goods which have been purchased over the Internet.

Settlement Date – Term used to describe the date by which shares, bonds, etc., must be paid for by the buyer, or a sold asset must be delivered by the seller.

Sex Discrimination Laws – Legislation passed mainly related to employment in the workplace, which makes it unlawful to discriminate against an individual because of their gender.

Sexism – Discrimination and/or abusive behaviour towards member of the opposite sex.

Shadow – To be with someone in the workplace as they perform their job so that you can learn all about it.

Shadow Economy – Also called Black Economy. Business activities, including illegal activities, which are carried out without government approval or regulations.

Share – Any of the equal units into which a company’s capital stock is divided and sold to investors.

Share Buyback – a.k.a. Stock Repurchase. A situation in which a listed company buys back its own shares from shareholders.

Share Capital – Funds raised by a company from shares sold to investors.

Shareholder – Also called Stockholder. An individual, business or group who legally owns one or more share in a company.

Share Incentive Plan – SIP. A way for employees to invest in the company for which they work. The company gives the employees shares or offers shares for them to buy, enabling the employees to receive some of the company’s profit, i.e. in dividends.

Share Index – A list of certain companies share prices, which can be compared on a day to day basis, i.e. showing whether prices have risen or fallen.

Shareware – Copyrighted computer software which is available for a free trial, after which a fee is usually charged if the user requires continued use and support.

Shark – A dishonest business person who cheats and swindles others.

Shark Repellent – Measures taken by a company, such as creating different voting rights concerning shares, or requiring certain shareholders to waive rights to capital gains resulting in a takeover, etc., in an attempt to keep a hostile bid from succeeding.

Shark Watcher – An individual or company who monitors the stock market for another company and warns them of a potential takeover, e.g., if a lot of their shares are being bought by one person or one company.

Shelf Talker – a.k.a.s Shelf Screamer. A sign hung on the edge of a shelf in a shop to attract peoples attention to a product.

Sheriff’s Sale – A forced sale of property ordered by a law court, the proceeds of which settle unpaid debts. Usually held at the county or parish courthouse with the Sheriff’s department administrating the action.

Shoestring – A very tight, barely adequate budget.

Shop Floor – Workers, usually in a factory, as opposed to managers. The area in a factory where production of goods takes place.

Shopping Bot – Also called Price Engine, Robot or Spider. Computer software which searches the Internet and compares prices from retailers for specific products.

Shop Steward – A member of a Trade Union, usually in a factory, who is elected to represent other members in meetings with management and personnel officers.

Short Covering – The purchase of the same number of shares, bonds, etc. which have been sold short. (See Short Selling)

Short Selling – The sale of shares, etc., which are not owned by the seller but borrowed from a broker, on the understanding that they must be bought back, hopefully at a lower than what they were sold for in order to make a profit, and returned to the broker.

Shovelware – A derogatory term for content which is put directly on to a web page, e.g. from a magazine, etc., without changing its appearance to make it suitable for the Internet. Also refers to pre-installed programs on some computers, which have little value to the user.

Sick Building Syndrome – SBS. Ailments, such as headaches, fatigue, nose and throat irritations, etc., experienced by workers or residents in certain buildings, often believed to be caused by poor ventilation, air conditioning, heating, cleaning chemicals, or the materials from which the building has been made.

Sickout – A type of organized strike in which the employees refuse to work by staying away from the workplace and claiming they are ill.

SIG – Special Interest Group. On the Internet, a place where people can discuss and exchange information about a particular subject. A group or organization whose aim is to influence political decisions by trying to persuade government officials to act or vote in the group’s interest.

Sight Unseen – To buy something which has not been available for inspection before the purchase.

Signature Loan – Also called Unsecured Loan or Character Loan. A loan which is not backed by any security, and which only requires the borrowers signature.

Silent Partner – A person who has invested capital in a company but does not take an active part in managing or running it.

Silicon Alley – An area in Manhattan, New York, which is known for its Internet and multi-media companies.

Silicon Valley – An area south of San Francisco, California, which is noted for its computer and high-technology industries.

Silver Surfer – An older person who uses the Internet.

SIM Card – Subscriber Identity Module. A small removable card which stores personal information on a mobile phone.

Simple Interest – Interest which is calculated on the original amount of money deposited or borrowed, and not on any interest which may have accrued.

Sinecure – A job or position which involves little or no work, but for a which a person is paid.

Single-Entry Bookkeeping – A simple system of recording a company’s finances in which transactions are recorded only once in one account.

Sinking Fund – Money set aside on a regular basis by a company, that is used for paying debts, taxes, etc., which are due at a later date.

Sin Tax – Sumptory Tax. A tax on certain goods or services which are considered bad for people, such as cigarettes, alcohol, etc. Current movement to include sugar based colas and candy.

Six Sigma – A business strategy, originally developed by Motorola, which strives for perfection in production and quality.

Six Thinking Hats – Attributed to Dr Edward De Bono, a decision-making tool which can be used by groups or individuals, making people look at things/situations from different perspectives.

SKU  – Stock Keeping Unit. A unique number which identifies the price, size, manufacturer, etc., which is assigned to a product by a retail store.

Skunkworks – A production development program in a company which has the freedom to work outside the usual rules, without the restrictions of company procedures and policies.

Sleeper – Something, such as a film, book, share, etc., in which there is little interest but suddenly becomes a success.

Slogan – A catch-phrase used in advertising which is easy to remember so it is associated with a product or company when people hear or see it.

Slush Fund – Also called Slush Money. Funds which are raised and set aside for dishonest or illegal purposes, e.g., for bribing government officials.

Smoke And Mirrors – Term based on a magician’s illusions. To cover something up by drawing attention away from it.

SMS – Short Message Service. Allows a text message to be sent from one mobile phone to another.

Snail Mail – Mail which is delivered in the traditional way by postal service, rather than e-mail.

Sneakernet – Humorous term describing the transfer of electronic information, such as computer files, by physically taking the disk, cd, etc., from one computer to another.

Social Enterprise – A business chiefly having positive social and/or environmental aims, in which community and staff tend to feature strongly in priorities, and where profit is a means towards social, environmental or community purposes rather being an aim itself for the enrichment of owners or shareholders.

Social Networking – On the Internet, online communities which are built for people who share interests and activities, or to make and/or contact friends and family, e.g., Facebook, Twitter, etc. The practice of making business and/or social contacts through other people.

Socialism – A belief that a country’s wealth should be distributed equally among its population, and to varying extent also that its industries should be under government ownership and control.

Socio-Economic Grouping – The process if identifying and dividing people into groups according to their social, economic and/or educational status.

Soft Loan – a.k.a. Soft Financing. A loan which has attractive terms for the borrower, such as low or no interest rates and/or a long repayment period, often made by banks to developing countries.

Soft Sell – A subtle, persuasive way of selling a product or service, as opposed to Hard Selling.

Software – A general term for programs, etc., used to operate computers.

Soldier Of Fortune – A mercenary. A person, sometimes ex-military, who is hired to work for another person or country. A freelance fighter.

Sole Trader – Also called Sole Proprietor. A business which is owned and managed by one person who is responsible for any debts which are incurred, keeping their own accounts, etc.

Solvency Margin – The money a business requires in the form of cash or saleable assets, which must exceed the amount needed to pay bills, debts, etc.

Solvent – Having enough funds to pay all your debts.

Sort Code – A number which is assigned to a branch of a bank, found on checks, bank statements, etc., which enables that particular bank’s address to be identified.

Spam – Unsolicited e-mail which is sent to numerous recipients.

Specialized – To be highly skilled in a particular branch of a profession, occupation, activity, etc. Developed or adapted for a particular job or task.

Special Resolution – In business, a resolution which must be passed by a high majority of a company’s shareholders, often 75%, as opposed to an ordinary resolution, which only requires more than 50% of the the vote.

Specimen Signature – An example of a person’s signature required by a bank, etc., so that it can be compared with the same person’s signature on checks and documents.

Speculate – To risk investment in property, shares, etc., in the hope of making a profit when selling them.

Spider Food – Key words or phrases which are placed, usually invisibly, on a web page in order to attract search engines.

Spiff – A commission paid by a manufacturer or supplier to encourage salespeople to sell their product rather than a competitors.

Sponsor – A company or individual who helps to support, usually financially, a team, an event, such as a sports meeting or concert, etc., in return for publicity or to advertise their own company or product.

Spot Check – A random inspection or examination, often with no warning, of a sample of goods or work performance to check for quality.

Spreadsheet – On a computer, a program used for entering, calculating and storing financial or numerical data.

Square Mile – A term used for an area of London in which many financial institutions are based.

Stagflation – A situation in which there is a slow economic growth along with high inflation and high unemployment.

Stakeholder – A person or group, such as shareholders, customers, employees, suppliers, etc., with a vested interest in, and can affect the success of, a company or organization, or successful completion of a project, e.g

Stamp Duty – a.k.a. Stamp Tax. A stamp which must be put onto certain documents, contracts, etc., to show that he tax has been paid when property, land, etc., has been sold.

Standing Order – An instruction given to a bank to debit a fixed amount of money from an account, usually every month on the same date, to pay a bill, mortgage, etc.

Standing Room Only – A sales technique in which a company or individual selling a product gives the impression that many people wish to buy the product, encouraging people to purchase it immediately in case it sells out and they don’t get another chance.

State Of The Art – The highest level of development and/or technology applied to a product or service which is currently available.

Statistician – A person who specializes in or works with statistics.

Staycation – Term for spending one’s vacation at home or near to one’s home.

Stealth Marketing – a.k.a. Buzz Marketing. A method of advertising a product where customers don’t realize they are being persuaded to buy something, e.g., people recommending a product on Internet Chat Forums, without others realizing that the person actually works for the company or manufacturer selling the product.

Steering Committee – a.k.a. Steering Group. A group of people who are responsible for monitoring a company’s operations or project progress, by ensuring it complies with company policies, resources and costs are approved, etc. Used  in Quality Programs to focus targets and people in the process.

Stenographer – A shorthand typist. From Greek: Stenos (narrow) and Graphic (writing) Not as c0mmon today except in the top levels of management support.

Sterling – The basic monetary unit of the UK, e.g. the pound.

Stevedore – Also called Longshoreman. A person who works on the docks, loading and unloading cargo.

Sticker Shock – A  term for the feeling of surprise or shock experienced by some customers when they see that the price of an item they were thinking of purchasing is much higher than they expected.

Stipend – A fixed, often modest, payment, usually made on a regular basis, to someone, e.g. an apprentice, for living expenses during a training period.

Stock – An investor’s share of ownership in a company which entitles them to equity in the company, dividends, voting rights, etc.

Stockbroker – A person or company who buys and sells shares, bonds, etc., on behalf of others, in return for a fee.

Stock Exchange – An organized market place where shares in companies are traded by professional stockbrokers.

Stocktaking – The process of listing all the items, materials or goods which a shop, company, etc., has in stock. An inventory of merchandise.

Stock Ticker – A display which automatically updates and shows the current prices and volumes of traded shares on the Stock Market.

Storyboard – Used in films, TV programs, etc., drawings or photographs which are illustrations of the scenes which are to be shot.

Straight Rebuy – When a business or individual orders the same goods, in the same quantity from the same supplier.

Strapline – A subheading in a newspaper or magazine. A slogan attached to a well known brand.

Strategic Industry – An industry which is considered essential to the economy of a region or country.

Strategic Management – The process of predicting and assessing a company’s opportunities and difficulties, and making decisions so the company can achieve its objectives and gain a competitive advantage.

Stress Puppy – A person who seems to thrive on stress, but is always complaining about it.

Strike – A work stoppage caused by a disagreement between employees and management over working conditions, pay etc.

Strike-Breaker – A person who continues to work, or is employed to work, during a strike.

Structural Engineer – A professional who researches, plans and designs structures, such as buildings, bridges, etc.

Subcontract – To hire someone to carry out some of the work that you have been contracted to do.

Sub Judice – Term used when a legal case is currently under trial or is being considered by a judge, and any information about the case must not be disclosed to the public.

Subordinate – Someone who is lower in rank than another person, and is subject to the authority of a manager, etc. Less important.

Subliminal Advertising – An illegal form of advertising. An image which is flashed onto a screen, usually for about one second, or a message played at low volume, that can influence the person watching or listening but they are not aware of what they have seen and/or heard.

Subpoena – An official summons which requires a witness to attend a court case and testify at a specific time and place. Failure to do so may result in them being punished for contempt of court.

Subrogation – The right of an insurer, who has paid out a claim to an injured party, to sue the person, company, etc., who caused the injury.

Succession Planning – The process of identifying suitable employees who can be trained and prepared to replace senior staff when their positions become vacant.

Summons – An official document which orders a person to appear in court to answer a complaint against them.

Sunk Cost – A company’s past expenditures which cannot be recovered, and should not be taken into account when planning future projects.

Sunset Provision – a.k.a. Sunset Clause. A provision which states that a particular law or regulation will expire on a certain date unless further action is taken to extend it.

Superannuation – A pension, for which regular sums are deducted from a person’s salary while they are working, which is paid by an employer when the person retires from their job.
Surtax – An additional tax on something already taxed, e.g. an income above a certain level.

Supply And Demand – Supply is the amount of a product or service which is available, and demand is the amount which people wish to buy. When demand is higher than supply prices usually rise, when demand is less than supply prices usually fall.

Supply Chain – A chain through which a product passes from raw materials to manufacturing, distribution, retailing, etc., until it reaches the end consumer.

Surface Mail a.k.a. Snail Mail– Mail which is transported over land or sea, not by air.

Sweat Equity – Term used to describe a person’s investment in a project, etc., by the contribution of their time and effort, rather than their money.

Sweatshop – A place, often a clothing factory, where people work long hours in poor conditions for low wages.

Sweetheart Deal – An agreement or contract which offers very favorable deals to one or both parties, but is often not in the best interest of others, such as shareholders.

S.W.I.F.T – Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication. Founded in Brussels in 1973, a system for transmitting payments, share transactions and other financial messages safely between financial institutions all over the world.

Symposium – A meeting or conference at which experts discuss a particular topic, often with audience participation.

Synergy – The working together of two or more individuals, groups, companies, etc., to produce a greater effect than working individually.


Tag Line– A memorable slogan or catch phrase used in advertising.

Tailor-Made – Adapted or made for a particular purpose or individual.

Take-Home Pay – The amount of money received by an employee after deductions, such as tax, insurance, etc.

Takeover – The purchase of one company by another.

Takeover Bid – A bid made by an organization or individual to acquire a company, usually by offering to purchase the shares of the company’s shareholders.

Takeover Panel – A panel set up in certain countries to ensure that all company takeovers comply with laws and regulations, and that all shareholders are treated equally and fairly.

Tangible Asset – Physical assets, such as machinery, buildings, vehicles, cash, etc., which are owned by a company or individual.

Tare – The weight of packaging used in wrapping and protecting goods which is deducted from the total weight of a product in order to ascertain the actual weight of the goods. The deduction in weight of a vehicle used to transport goods in order to determine the actual weight of the goods.

Target Audience – The specific group of people that an advertisement, product, TV program, etc., is aimed at.

Target Company – A company that another company or organization wants to acquire.

Target Market – A specific group of people with similar characteristics, needs, lifestyle, etc., at which a company markets its products or services.

Tariff – A government tax on imported and exported goods.

Task Force – A group of people formed to work on a particular project or assignment.

Tax – A fee imposed by a government on personal or corporate income, products, services, etc., in order to raise revenue to pay for public services.

Tax Abatement – a.k.a. Tax Holiday. An exemption or reduction of taxes by a government for certain companies for a specific period of time, often as an incentive for industrial development.

Tax Allowance – The amount of income that can be earned or received in one year before tax has to be paid.

Tax Avoidance – Legal ways of paying the minimum amount of tax possible by making use of allowances and exemptions.

Tax Bracket – Based on income levels, the higher the income the higher the tax bracket, therefore people earning more money have to pay a higher rate of tax on the part of their income which is below the lower tax bracket allowance.

Tax Evasion – Illegally avoiding paying tax, usually by making a false declaration of income.

Tax Exile – A person or business who chooses to leave a country to reside or operate in another country, usually called a Tax Haven, where taxes are much lower or there aren’t any.

Tax Lien – The right of a tax authority to claim assets belonging to a company or individual who default on tax payments.

T-Commerce /  Television Commerce – The purchasing and selling of products and services using interactive television.

Team Player – A person in any type of profession who works well as a member of a team.

Teaser Ad – A brief advertisement which reveals only a little bit of information about a product, usually not yet available, in order to arouse widespread interest.

Teaser Rate – A low rate of interest, i.e. on a mortgage, loan, credit card, etc., which is below the going market rate and available for only a short period of time in order to attract borrowers.

Techie – A person who is very knowledgeable, or an expert, in technology, especially computing.

Technical Analyst – A stock market analyst who uses charts and computer programs to study investments in order to predict the future of share prices, etc.

Technical Support – A service provided by the vendor of technology products, such as computers, mobile phones, televisions, etc., which the purchaser can use if they need help using the product.

Telecommunications – Known informally as Telecoms. Communicating over long distances by telephone, e-mail, etc.

Teleconference – A conference involving two or more people at different locations, using telecommunications equipment, such as computers, video, telephone, etc.

Telemarketing – a.k.a. Telesales. The selling of goods or services by contacting potential customers by telephone.

Teleworking – An arrangement in which the employee works at home and contacts their office or workplace by telephone or computer.

Tenant – An individual or business who pays a fee for the use of land, property, etc., to the owner. An occupant.

Tenant At Will – A tenant who continues to rent land, property, etc., past the expiration of the lease. Also a tenant who rents property without a written lease, therefore they can be forced to leave without notice from the owner.

Tender Offer – An offer, usually above the market price, made to the shareholders of a company by another company or individual as part of a takeover bid.

Term Assurance – A form of life insurance which pays out a lump sum if the policyholder dies within a fixed period of time.

Terms Of Reference – Describes the objectives, scope and purpose of a project, committee, meeting, etc.

Terrestrial – Term used to describe broadcasting systems, such as television, which operate on land, rather than from a satellite.

Tertiary Industry – Third sector of a country’s economy which covers the provision of services, such as transport, schools, financial services, etc., rather than manufacturing or production.

Test Case – Term used to describe a court case which establishes legal rights and serves as a precedent for future similar cases.

Test Market – In marketing, a product or service which is tested in a particular area of the country before it is launched nationally.

Text Message – A written message sent from one mobile phone to another.

Text-To-Speech – Describes the converting of text into audible speech on a computer by using speech synthesis techniques. Used to make websites accessible by sight-impaired individuals.

Theory Of Constraints – Theory originally developed by Dr Eliyahu Goldratt, which states that every organization must have at least one constraint that should be overcome by recognizing and dealing with the cause of the ‘bottleneck’, thus enabling the company to achieve its goals.

Theory X – Developed by Douglas McGregor in the 1960s, a theory which states that most people in the workplace do not enjoy work and will take every opportunity to avoid doing their job because they are lazy and need to be closely supervised, threatened and disciplined by management.

Theory Y – Developed by Douglas McGregor. The opposite to Theory X, a method of managing people in the workplace based on the idea that most workers enjoy their job, are self-motivated and want responsibility, and the managers role is to help the workers realise their full potential by giving them more responsibility, including them in decision-making, etc.

Theory Z – A Japanese management style based on the theory, developed by William Ouchi, that workers like to build relationships with other workers and management, to feel secure in their jobs, develop skills through training, and have their family life and traditions valued.

Think Tank – A group or organization which researches and advises on issues relating to technology, economy, politics and social strategy.

Third-Generation – 3G. Describes wireless technology which has been developed to send messages and data over networks using mobile phones, computers, etc.

Third Line Forcing – A situation which occurs when a supplier will only sell a product or service to a customer on condition that it is purchased from a third party nominated by the supplier.

Third Party – A person or organization not principally involved with the other two parties but who has an interest in an agreement or contract. In an insurance policy, the third party is the person whose car, etc is damaged by you in an accident.

Third Sector – Part of a country’s economy which is non-profit making, such as voluntary work, charities, etc.

Third World – Refers to poor, underdeveloped nations in South Africa, Asia and South America.

Thrift – A savings or loan association. The practice of not spending too much money or using up too many resources.

Ticker Symbol – A set of characters, usually letters, used to identify a particular share on the Stock Exchange.

Tied Agent – A sales agent or business who represents or sells and/or offers advice only on one company’s products, such as insurance.

Time And A Half – Rate of pay which is 50% more than the regular rate, usually for overtime work.

Time And Motion Study – The study and analysis of a specific job within an organization, the results of which are used to improve efficiency and production.

Tire Kicker – A person who appears to be interested in purchasing an item, especially a secondhand car, but has no intention of buying it.

Title Deed – A legal document which proves a person’s rights of ownership of property or land.

Tokenism – The practice of doing the minimum required, especially by law, by making small token gestures, such as employing or including a single person who represents a minority or ethnic group.

Toolbar – On a computer screen, a set of icons or symbols, usually under the menu bar, which allow you to perform different tasks on your computer, such as print documents, change font size, use a paintbrush , etc.

Top Brass – The most important people in a company or organization.

Top Dog – The person who has the highest authority and is in charge of a whole operation, business, etc.

Top Dollar – The very highest price paid for a product, service, worker, etc.

Top-Heavy – Describes a company or business which has too many managers and/or administrators in comparison to the number of workers.

Top-Level Domain – TLD. The last part of a domain address on the Internet, for example .com (commerce), .gov (government), etc.

Tort – A wrongful act, other than a breach of contract, which is not criminal but harmful to another person, against which legal action for damages may be taken.

Total Costs – In business, the costs of manufacturing, overheads, administration, etc. – i.e., the sum of fixed costs and variable costs. In investments, the price paid for a share, security, etc., plus brokerage fees, taxes, interest due to the seller, etc.

Total Quality Management – TQM. A company management system which seeks to improve the quality of products and services and to improve customer satisfaction by giving everyone in the organization the responsibility of achieving and keeping high standards.

Touch Base – To make contact, usually managers who want to communicate with their staff.

Trade – The buying and selling or exchange of goods and services. The buying and selling of shares on the Stock Market. A skilled occupation such as builder, carpenter, plumber, electrician, etc.

Trade Agreement – An agreement, usually between countries, to limit or change their policies when trading with one another.

Trademark – TM. A symbol, logo, word or phrase which is used exclusively by a company, individual, etc., so their products or services can be easily identified, A Trademark cannot legally be used by anyone else.

Trade Secret – A secret device or formula used by a company in the manufacturing of a product which gives it an advantage over the competition.

Trade War – A conflict between countries in which each country puts up trade barriers in order to restrict or damage the others trade.

Trading Floor – An area of a Stock Exchange where dealers trade in stocks, shares, etc.

Trailblazer – An innovator or pioneer. An individual or company who is the first to do or discover something, and leads where others follow.

Tranche – Describes part of a loan, investment, etc., which is a portion of the whole amount.

Transfer Deed – a.k.a Deed Of Transfer. A legal document which shows that the ownership of property, land, etc., has been changed from its legal owner to another party who now legally owns it.

Transnational -a.k.a. Multinational. Refers to businesses, organizations, etc., which operate in or between several countries.

Treasurer – A person in a company, organization, club, etc., who is responsible for the management of funds and accounts.

Treasury Bond – A long term security issued by the government which pays regular interest.

Troubleshoot – To identify and solve problems which arise in the workplace.

Trustafarian – A wealthy young person, who gives the appearance of being unemployed and living a bohemian lifestyle in less than comfortable circumstances, but who is living off a trust fund.

Trustbuster – A government agent whose job is to break up monopolies or corporate trusts under the anti-trust laws.

Trustee – An individual or organization who is legally responsible for managing the financial affairs or another person or company.

Trust Fund – Property or funds which are legally held in control of a trustee on behalf of an individual or organization.

Truth In Lending Act – A law which protects consumers by requiring companies which offer loans, credit and charge cards, etc., to disclose full information regarding terms and interest rates.

Turd Polishing – Australian equivalent of not being able to make a silk purse out of a pigs ear. An engineering term for fixing the defects in a product, process, system, etc., then repeating as new defects appear, rather than re-engineering it with fewer defects.

Tycoon – A wealthy, prominent, successful business person, also referred to as a mogul, magnate, baron ,etc.


Unanimous – A complete agreement on a decision or opinion by everyone in a group.

Unauthorized – Without official endorsement or permission.

Unbundling – Dividing a company into separate companies, usually after a takeover, in order to sell some or all of the subsidiaries. Supplying a product, service or equipment in separate components.

Uncalled Capital – The value of shares which have been issued by a company but which have not yet been paid for by the shareholders.

Unconsolidated – Describes subsidiary companies whose financial statements, shares, etc., are not included in the parent company’s finances.

Uncontested – Without opposition or competition. A lawsuit which is not disputed by the person against whom it has been filed.

Undercut – To sell a product, service, etc., cheaper than the competition.

Undermanned – Describes a company, business, etc., which does not have enough workers to function properly. Understaffed.

Undershoot – To fall short of reaching a goal or target.

Undersubscribed – When a product, service, etc., is not being bought by enough people.

Underwriter – A person who assesses the risk and eligibility of an insurance company’s potential client. On the Stock Market, an organization, such as a bank, that agrees to purchase any unsold shares which are offered for sale by a company.

Undischarged Bankrupt – A person who has officially been declared bankrupt but has not yet been given permission to start another business, and must not stop paying debts which are still owed.

Unearned Income – Personal income which has not come from employment but from investments, dividends, interest, etc.

Unemployment – An economic situation in which jobless people, often those who have been made redundant from their jobs, are actively seeking employment.

Unfair Dismissal – Term used when a person’s employment is terminated by their employer without a good reason.

Unfavorable Trade Balance – Describes when a country’s value of its imports exceeds the value of its exports.

Unhappy Camper – Someone who has complaints about their employers. An unsatisfied customer.

Unilateral Contract – A one-sided agreement in which one party promises to do something (or refrain from doing something) in return for an action, not a promise, from a second party.

Unique Visitor – Describes a person who visits a website, as one unit, even if they have made several visits to the same site in a particular period of time, usually 24 hours.

Unit Trust – A fund which raises money from a number of investors, usually investing only a small amount each, which is then invested on their behalf by a fund manager in a range of shares, securities, bonds, etc.

Unlimited Liability – The obligation of a company’s owners or partners to pay all the company’s debts, even if personal assets have to be used.

Unlisted – Refers to company whose shares are not traded on the Stock Exchange.

Unofficial Strike – a.k.a. Wildcat Strike. A form of industrial action which does not have the approval or permission of a trade union.

Unregulated – Not governed or controlled by laws or rules.

Unsolicited – Not requested or invited, i.e. junk mail.

Unzip – On a computer, to return files to their original size after they have been compressed.

UPC – Universal Product Code. A bar code, using thick and thin vertical lines, which is printed on labels, packets, etc., to identify a specific product, and is used for stock control.

Upload – To transfer data or programs from a smaller computer, camera, etc., or a computer at a remote location, to a larger computer system.

Upselling – A sales technique in which the salesperson tries to persuade the customer to purchase more expensive and/or more goods than they originally intended.

Uptick – Also called Plus Tick. On the Stock Market, a transaction or quote at a price above the preceding transaction for the same security.

Uptime – The period of time which a computer, piece of machinery, etc., is operational and available for use.

Upwardly Mobile – Describes someone who is moving towards a higher social and/or economic position.

URLUniform/Universal Resource Locator. The address of a web page on the Internet.

Usance – In international trade, the period of time allowed, which varies between countries, for the payment of a bill of exchange.

USB – Universal Serial Bus. A device on a computer which is used for connecting other devices, such as telephones, scanners, printers, etc.

User Friendly – Easy to learn or use by people who are not experts.

Username – In computing, refers to the name that uniquely identifies the person using a computer system or program and is usually used with a password. Also known as UserID.

USP – Unique Selling Point/Proposition. The key feature of a product or service which makes it stand out from the competition.


Vacancy – A job opening which is offered by a company that wants to hire an employee. An available room in a hotel.

Vacancy Rate – The percentage of unoccupied rental space or units, e.g hotel rooms, compared to total available rental area at a given time.

Valid – Legally or formally acceptable or binding. Unexpired, e.g. a passport.

Value-Added Reseller – VAR. A company which purchases a product and modifies or enhances it before reselling it to the consumer. This practice is common in the computer industry.

Value Engineering – In manufacturing, a method of producing a product at the lowest price but without sacrificing quality, safety, etc., and at the same time meeting the customers needs.

Valued Policy – An insurance policy in which the insurer agrees to pay a claim for a specified amount in the event of loss, damage, etc., for items insured, such as works of art.

Value Investor – An investor who buys shares, etc., which they believe to be underpriced, in order to make a profit by selling them when they price rises.

Value Share – A share, etc., which is considered to be underpriced and is therefore a good investment prospect.

Vanilla – Plain and ordinary without any extras. Basic.

Vaporware – Term used to describe computer software which is advertised before it has been, and may never be, developed, often to damage sales of a competitor’s product which has already been launched.

Variable Cost – In business, costs which vary according to the changes in activity, production, etc. of the company, such as overheads, labor and material costs.

VAT – Value Added Tax. A tax paid by consumers which is added to the price of certain goods and services.

VDU – Visual/Video Display Unit. A computer screen or monitor which displays text and/or pictures.

Vendee – A person or business who buys goods, property, etc.,

Vendor – A person or business who sells goods, property, etc.

Venture Capital – Money invested in a new business which is expected to make a lot of profit but which also involves considerable risk.

Vertical Disintegration – A situation in which a company that previously produced parts and materials is now buying them from other suppliers.

Vertical Equity – A concept of economic fairness, i.e. people who are better off should contribute more taxes than those who are less well off.

Vertical Integration – A situation in which a company buys one or more of the companies which are involved in the production process of its goods.

Vested Interest – When an individual, business or group has a special interest in something, such as property, an activity, etc., from which there is a personal or financial gain.

Veto – Latin for ‘I Forbid’. To vote against. The right to block a law, etc.

Viable – Capable of being done or working successfully.

Vicarious Liability – Having legal responsibility for the actions of another, e.g. the liability of an organization for the actions of its employees.

Viral Marketing – Also known as Word Of Mouth. An advertising and marketing technique which encourages people to pass on information about a product, etc., often by e-mail or from one Internet website to another.

Virtual Memory – On a computer, a technique of simulating additional memory by moving data between the computers memory and a hard disk.

Virtual Reality – An artificial three-dimensional (3-D) image or experience, created by a computer, and which seems real to the person looking at it.

Virus – A computer program with a hidden code, designed to infect a computer without the owners knowledge, and which causes harm to the computer or destroys data, etc.

Vocation – An occupation for which a person is strongly suited and/or to which they are dedicated.

Vocational – Relating to an occupation for which a person has undergone special training or has special skills.

Voice-Over – A presenter or actor in a TV commercial or program who is heard but who is not seen on the screen.

Voice Recognition – Technology which allows computers, mobile phones, etc., to be operated by being spoken to.

Void – A contract, agreement, document, etc., which is no longer valid or legal.

Voluntary Bankruptcy – A situation in which a debtor voluntary files for bankruptcy because they cannot pay their creditors.

Voluntary Liquidation – A situation where the owners/directors of a solvent company decide to cease business, sell the company’s assets and pay all the creditors.

Vote Of No Confidence – A vote which shows that the majority of those voting have lost confidence in something, usually a government.

Voting Shares – a.k.a. Voting Stock. A company share which gives the shareholder the right to vote on matters regarding company policy, etc.


Wage Differential – The difference in wage rates between different types of worker, often those with similar jobs but who work in different regions of a country, have different skills, hours of work, etc.

Wage Drift – A situation when basic rates of pay are not as high as levels of wages actually paid. This is often because of increases in overtime, bonuses, profit share, etc.

Wage Slave – Someone whose is totally dependent on the wages they earn.

Waiver – A formal statement in which someone gives up a right or privilege.

Walk Back The Cat – A metaphor for troubleshooting. When something goes wrong, the situation is analyzed in chronological order to find out when the problem happened and why, and correct mistakes so they don’t happen again. Like when a cat unravels a ball of string and you have to rewind the twisted yarn to find the flaw.

Walking Papers – Slang.A notification of dismissal from a job.

Wall Street – A street in Lower Manhattan where the New York Stock Exchange and financial centre is situated.

WAN – Wide Area Network. A communications network which covers a wide area of a region or country, connecting computers, phones, etc.

WAP – Wireless Application Protocol. An open network communications system which enables information to be sent between hand-held devices such as mobile phones, pagers, etc.

Warrant – A certificate which entitles the holder to buy a specific number of shares at a fixed price within a specified period of time. A legal document issued by a court of law authorizing the police to make an arrest, search premises, etc.

Watchdog – A person or organization that monitors the practices of companies to ensure they are nor acting illegally.

Watch List – A list of investments being monitored because they are showing signs of unusual activity, often because the companies who own the shares may be takeover targets.

WATS – Wide Area Telecommunications Service. In the US and Canada, a long distance telephone service which provides discounted calls for companies that place large volumes of long distance telephone calls.

Webinar – Web-based seminar. A meeting, conference, etc., which is transmitted over the Internet, with each participant using their own computer to connect to the other participants.

Webmaster – A person who is responsible for maintaining a website.

Webzine – An electronic magazine which is published on the Internet.

Weigh Station . A vehicle weighing system which consists of a metal plate set into a road which vehicles, usually trucks with loads, are driven onto to be weighed to check if they are overladen.

Weighting – An allowance paid to workers who live in certain areas of the country, such as London, to compensate for higher living costs.

Wet Lease – An arrangement in which an airline leases an aircraft, complete with crew, insurance, etc., to another company, usually for a short period of time.

Wheeling And Dealing – Making a profit, sometimes dishonestly, buy buying and selling things, or acting as a go-between for two parties.

Whistleblower – An informant who lets the public or people in authority know about any wrongdoings or illegal activities within an organization, usually the one the informant works for.

White Collar – Refers to employees who work in offices or business rather than manual workers.

White Goods – Large domestic electrical appliances, such as cookers, washing machines, fridges, etc.

White Knight – A company, individual, etc., who offers favorable terms in a takeover, usually saving the acquired company from a hostile takeover.

Wholesale – The sale of goods in large quantities, usually to retailers who then sell them for a profit.

Wholesale Bank – A bank which provides services to large organizations, financial institutions, etc., rather than individual customers.

Widget – A small program which is run by certain computers. A small device, switch, gadget, etc., whose name is not known.

Wi-FiWireless Fidelity. A wireless technology which enables computers, mobile phones, video games, etc., to be operated by using radio frequency.

Windfall – A sudden, unexpected sum of money or piece of good fortune received by someone.

Wind Farm – A large area of land, which has strong winds, on which a group of wind turbines are placed in order to produce electricity by driving generators.

Win-Win – Describes a situation or arrangement in which all parties benefit or profit.

Without Prejudice – Written on a document in legal proceedings, negotiations, etc., meaning that any information contained in the document does not affect the legal rights of a party involved in a dispute.

Without Recourse – A legal term written on a bill of exchange which signifies that the buyer accepts the risk of non-payment from a third party, rather than the seller.

With Profits – Describes an insurance policy which pays the sum assured plus any bonuses which may have accumulated over the term of the policy.

Workaholic – A person who is addicted to work.

Working Capital – a.k.a. Net Current Assets. The amount of funds which are available to a company for everyday running costs, such as wages, rent, etc.

Work In Progress – a.k.a. Work In Process. Work on a product, contract, etc., that a company has invested in but is not yet completed. A piece of music, art, etc., which is unfinished but may be available for viewing or listening.

Work Permit – A legal document which gives a person a right to employment in certain foreign countries.

World Economic Forum  – WEF. Based in Geneva, Switzerland, an non-profit, international organization which brings together politicians, business and education leaders from all over the world to discuss ways to improve economic and social growth, health and environment issues, etc.

World Trade Organization – WTO. An international organization, established in 1995, with more than 150 member nations, based in Geneva, Switzerland. The WTO monitors international trade, helping importers and exporters conduct their business, and provides assistance to developing countries.

World Wide Web – WWW. a.k.a.The Web, a computer network system in which documents are inter-linked using hypertext computer code, and allows information to be accessed using the Internet.

Wow Factor – The instant appeal of a product, property, etc., which impresses and surprises people the first time they see it.

Wrap – The end of a film shoot when everything is finished, the set can be taken down and everyone can go.

Writ – A written order issued by a court of law which orders someone to do, or not do, something.

Write-Off – In accounting, to reduce the book value of an asset, sometimes to zero, or cancel a debt which has not been, or is unlikely to be, paid.

Write-Protect – In computing, protect the data on a disk or file from being accidentally deleted or edited.

Writ Of Execution – A court order which ensures that a judgment is enforced.


X-Efficiency – A concept introduced by economist Harvey Liebenstein. A company’s ability to use its workers, machines, technology, etc., to produce maximum output at lowest cost and as quickly as possible.

Xenology – The scientific study and/or research of alien cultures and biology.

Xerox Machine – A piece of equipment which makes paper copies of documents, etc.

X-Factor – Expression for the unknown element needed for success or a key factor leading to success.

X-Inefficiency – When a company is not using its employees, machinery, resources, etc., effectively, often because of lack of competition.

Xylography – The art of engraving an image on a block of wood, or printing from woodblocks.


Yellow Pages – A telephone directory, usually printed on yellow paper, which lists businesses, organizations, retailers, etc., in alphabetical order in categories according to the service they provide.

Yellow Sheets – Published every day in the US by the National Quotation Bureau, a list which shows information and prices of corporate bonds.

Yeoman – A servant or attendant in a royal or noble household.

Yield – The annual income earned from an investment, usually expressed as a percentage of the sum invested.

Youth Court – A court of law, which members of the public are not allowed to attend, that deals with juvenile (under 18 years of age) offenders.

Yuppie – Derives from Young Urban Professional. Term used since the 1980s to describe a young person who has a well-paid job and an affluent lifestyle. Trendy clothes and hot cars are typical for this group of “show-offs.”


Zero-Based Budgeting – ZBB. A system in which a yearly budget for a department in a company starts at zero with no pre-authorised funds, and the department has to justify its budget requests.

Zero-Based Thinking – A Technique used to force thinking about what if – based upon what you know now – would you do today. Examples are hiring staff members, promotions, equipment purchases, etc.

Zero Coupon Bonds – A bond sold usually at a large discount without any interest coupons attached. The interest is “accumulated as the due date approaches maturity. Due to the high risk – these bond’s effective interest rate are higher than average.

Zero-Rated – Describes goods or services on which the buyer pays no value-added-tax.

Zero-Sum Game – A situation in which what is lost by one person, company, etc., is matched by a gain by another.

Zip – In computing, compressing data to make a file smaller in order for it to be stored or sent to another computer.

Zip Drive – A computer technology designed for storage and easy of transferring data from one computer to another computer.

Z-Score – Developed by Dr Edward Altman of New York University in the 1960s, a measurement of the financial health of a company which predicts the probability of the company going bankrupt.