Dictionaries have served as the fabric of the English language since the creation of the first English dictionary in the 17th century. The English language is a constant evolution of change, and with so much change in the language, a single source material cannot contain all the language, jargon, acronyms of the day; specialized dictionaries are needed for our ever-evolving language. This paper focuses on the financial specialized dictionary, Investopedia. While financial institutions will provide meaning and understanding to terms and definitions within their individual website and investor prospectus, the individual investor is often time left on their own to understand the meaning behind a financial acronym or term. With so many individual investors in today’s world, Investopedia navigates the individual investor through the lingo and terminology of today’s financial industry.
With the growth of the internet over the past several decades, and the advent of the 401k in the 1980’s, everyday people have become their own authority on investing. With few exceptions, the times of face-to-face interaction with a broker or financial advisor are relatively a thing of the past. Investors have become their own advisors, or advisors of others, when it comes to finances. Understanding the terminology and meaning are vital to today’s investor in ensuring the individual investor understands what they are putting their nest egg into. Understanding the growth pattern and the risks of a financial investment is pivotal. But just as pivotal to the individual investor, is for him or her to understand the financial language.
Investopedia was created from the idea of building a comprehensive financial dictionary. Over time, Investopedia has become a source to empower the individual investor. It’s important to understand the specialized nature of Investopedia as its terms and definitions are specialized toward the financial world. An example to study is the word “Coupon”, and its meaning in the financial world.
The word “coupon” in Investopedia focuses on its financial meaning, while a source like Dictionary.com provides four different meanings (five meanings in the World English Dictionary). In Dictionary.com, the financial meaning of the word “coupon” is provided to us in the third entry: “one of a number of small detachable certificates for periodic interest payments on a bearer bond.” While the definition is accurate, Dictionary.com only provides the reader a small description of “coupon” from a financial perspective, i.e., the denotation. Investopedia expands on the description of “coupon” and provides its audience a much broader financial description and meaning of the word: “The interest rate stated on a bond when it’s issued. The coupon is typically paid semiannually. This is also referred to as the ‘coupon rate’ or ‘coupon percent rate’”. Investopedia further illustrates the financial meaning of the word “Coupon” by providing the history of the use of the word that “some bonds literally have coupons attached to them. Holders receive interest by stripping off the coupons and redeeming them. This is less common today as more records are kept electronically.” Investopedia successfully provided denotation, connation, as well as the origin to the financial meaning of the word “coupon” to its intended audience.
Application of the information from Investopedia must be understood in this review as well. It is important for the intended audience to understand because Investopedia provides its readers with the detailed definition of the words being analyzed from a financial perspective. When looking up the word “coupon” Investopedia provides denotation, but maybe more importantly in this case, the writer has provided connation to the word “coupon” as well to provide full and truer meaning of the word.
In Conclusion, over the last decade-and-a-half, Investopedia has become a specialized financial dictionary and reference point to the individual investor. With growing investment opportunities and technological advancements, Investopedia is a pivotal tool to guide the individual investor through the ever-changing landscape of the financial world.
“Coupon.” Invetopedia.com (www.investopedia.com/terms/c/coupon.asp). Web. April 11, 2013
“Coupon.” Dictionary.com (dictionary.reference.com/browse/coupon?s=t). Web. April 11, 2013
Investopedia. A Division of ValueClick, Inc. Web. April 11, 2013