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Business English - Animal Terms

Updated: Jan 20, 2019

Practice English Business Advanced Vocabulary

Killer Bees

The killer bees help a company come up with defense strategies to stave off an attempted hostile takeover bid. The individual or firm in question usually comes up with a plan to make the target look unappealing.

Queen Bee

A Queen Bee is a someone in a leadership role who does not encourage her subordinates' development, especially if they are women.

Bear Market

A bear market occurs when a stock market enters a long-term decline (so more than two months). If you have a fall of 20%, then you enter a bear market.

Bull Market

A bull market is the opposite - it's when the price of shares on the stock market is rising.

Cash Cow

An item that keeps providing a constant cash flow with very little maintenance. Once the initial capital outlay has been paid off, the cash cow generates funds which can be used elsewhere.

Elephant Curve

It is described as such because it looks like the body of an elephant. The graph represents world income growth and pinpoints relative gain in household capita between 1988 and 2008. This was a period of "high globalisation".

Fat Cat

Calling someone a fat cat is often used to describe a rich and greedy person who owns lots of assets and uses the work of others to get even richer. It also refers to executives whose pay is perceived by others to be excessive.


A company which has the biggest market share in the industry but doesn't have a monopoly. However, the size of its share means it is more able to take risks without fear it will lose a significant customer base. McDonalds could be considered an example of this.


A hawk is a policymaker or adviser who tends to put a high priority on curbing inflation and is more willing than a dove to see higher interest rates to achieve that.


A dove is a policy maker or adviser who tends to be less willing than a hawk to see higher interest rates to curb inflation.

Iron Butterfly

An iron butterfly is a limited-risk, limited profit trading strategy. It involves the investor putting themselves in a protected situation whatever happens with the market.

Iron Condor

An Iron Condor is a limited risk trading strategy but with high odds. Its design is so there is a large probability of earning a small limited profit but only if the underlying security has low volatility.

Lame Duck

Makes for easy prey. It refers to an individual or company that cannot keep up with the rest of the market. Investors who continually make poor trades and lose out on profits are also described as lame ducks.

Ostrich Effect

Occurs when investors try to ignore negative financial information (although ostriches don't actually bury their heads in the sand).

Meerkat Effect

Meerkats are active investors who keep checking their financial portfolios for signs of bad news. They are hyper-alert when it comes to sniffing out information especially when market conditions are changing.

Peacock Market

When markets are overvalued and the stock valuations are inflated by central bank policy. The phrase suggests a lot of puff and very little substance.

Red Herring

A legal document filed by a company in connection to its initial public offering. However, it doesn't include key details eg how many shares offered.


The creatures feature quite heavily in financial lingo. A shark is a company that is trying to execute a hostile takeover. Sometimes the target company will need to deploy a "Shark Repellent" to try to stop the takeover from happening.

Tiger Economy

The economy of a country which is undergoing rapid economic growth and progression in its living standards.


Used to describe start-ups that have grown from nothing to be worth at least $1bn.

Vulture Investor

Invests in distressed firms, assets or bonds in the hope that there will be a turnaround and the vulture can profit from this.

Wolf of Wall Street

A suave investor. One of the nicknames given to financial investor Jordan Belfort, who used it as the title for his memoirs.


refer to an emerging movement looking to get more funding for starts up created by women and people from ethnic minorities. The founders of the movement say that unlike unicorns zebras are real.

#businessenglish #vocabulary #advanced

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