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A User’s Guide to New Day Trading Lingo

By Colin Dodds · May 31, 2023 · 5 minute read

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A User’s Guide to New Day Trading Lingo

A new interest in trading and investing in recent years has sparked new nicknames, jargon, and day trading lingo. For most, the jargon used on Wall Street and in other facets of the financial industry was largely unknown outside of the markets. But with more and more people trading and investing, it can be helpful to know what certain terms and phrases actually mean.

Note, of course, that language is always evolving, and that there may be even newer phrases out there that we’ve yet to include!

Popular Day Trading Lingo in 2023

Tendies

This term is short for chicken tenders, which is a way of saying gains or profits or money. The phrase originated with self-deprecating jokes by 4Chan users making fun of themselves as living with their mothers, who rewarded them with chicken tenders, or tendies.

STONKS

This is a playful way of saying stocks, or of referring more broadly to the world of finance. The obvious misspelling is a way of making fun of the market, and to mock people who lose money in the market. It became a popular meme — of a character called Meme Man in front of a blue board full of numbers — used as a quick reaction to someone who made poor investing or financial decisions.

Diamond Hands

This is an investor who holds onto their investments despite short-term losses and potential risks. The diamond refers to both the strength of their hands in holding on to an investment, as well as the perceived value of staying with their investments.

Paper Hands

This is the opposite of diamond hands. It refers to an investor who sells out of an investment too soon in response to the pressure of high financial risks. In another age, they would have been called panic sellers.

YOLO

When used in the context of day trading or investing, the popular acronym for the phrase “you only live once” is usually used in reference to a stock a user has taken a substantial and possibly risky position in.

Bagholder or Bag Holder

This is a term for someone who has been left “holding the bag.” They’re someone who buys a stock at the top of a speculative runup, and is stuck with it when the stock peaks and rolls back.

To the Moon

This term is often accompanied by a rocket emoji. Especially on certain online stock market forums, it’s a way of expressing the belief that a given stock will rise significantly.

GUH

This is similar to the term “ugh,” and people use it as an exclamation when they’ve experienced a major loss. It came from a popular video of one investor on Reddit who made the sound when they lost $45,000 in two minutes of trading.

JPOW

This is shorthand for Jerome Hayden “Jay” Powell, the current Federal Reserve Chair, also popular on online forums as the character on the meme “Money Printer Go Brrr.” Both refer to Federal Reserve injections of capital in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as “quantitative easing” policies.

Position or Ban

This is a demand made by users on the WallStreetBets (WSB) subreddit to check the veracity of another user’s investment suggestions. It means that a user has to deliver a screenshot of their brokerage account to prove the gain or loss that the user is referencing. It’s a way of eliminating posters who are trying to manipulate the board. Users who can’t or won’t show the investments, and the gain or loss, can face a ban from the community.

Recommended: What is a Brokerage Account and How Do They Work?

Roaring Kitty

This is the social media handle of Keith Gill, the Massachusetts-based financial adviser who’s widely credited with driving the 2021 GameStop and meme stock rally with his Reddit posts and YouTube video streams.

Apes Together Strong

This refers to the idea that retail investors, working together, can shape the markets. It is sometimes represented, in extreme shorthand, by a gorilla emoji. And the phrase comes from an earlier meme, which references the movie Rise of Planet of the Apes, in which downtrodden apes take over the world. In the analogy, the apes are retail investors. And the idea is that when they band together to invest in heavily-shorted stocks like GameStop, they can outlast the investors shorting those stocks, and make a lot of money at the expense of professional traders, such as hedge funds.

Hold the Line

This is an exhortation to fellow investors on WSB. It is based on an old infantry battle cry. But in the context of day traders, it’s used to inspire fellow board members not to sell out of stocks that the forum believes in, but which have started to drop in value.

DD

This refers to the term “Due Diligence,” and is used to indicate a deeply researched or highly technical post.

HODL

“HODL” is an abbreviation of the phrase “Hold On For Dear Life.” It’s used in two ways. Some investors use it to show that they don’t plan to sell their holdings. And it’s also used as a recommendation for investors not to sell out of their position — to maintain their investment, even if the value is dropping dramatically. HODL (which is also used in crypto circles) is often used by investors who are facing short-term losses, but not selling.

KYS

This is short for “Keep Yourself Safe,” and it is a rare bearish statement on WSB and other boards. It’s a way of advising investors to sell out of a given stock.

The Takeaway

Many retail traders have found a new home on message boards — and created a new language in the process. Some of the phrases are based on pop culture and memes, others are appropriated from terms used for decades. No matter the origins, it’s clear that the investors using these phrases are evolving the way retail investors talk about investing online and maybe IRL as well.

Learning to speak the language of the markets can be helpful, too, so that you don’t miss anything important when researching investment opportunities. That doesn’t mean it’s absolutely necessary, but it may help decipher some of the messages on online forums.

Ready to invest in your goals? It’s easy to get started when you open an Active Invest account with SoFi Invest. You can invest in stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and more. SoFi doesn’t charge commissions, but other fees apply (full fee disclosure here).

For a limited time, opening and funding an Active Invest account gives you the opportunity to get up to $1,000 in the stock of your choice.


Photo credit: iStock/FG Trade

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