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Marketplace Morning Report

The poetry of ‘bankrupt’ and ‘nest egg’

Mark Forsyth Apr 21, 2014
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As much as we talk about the financial markets, how often do we really stop to think about the words we’re using? Or how poetic they can be?

Mark Forsyth, author of “The Etymologicon: A Circular Stroll Through the Hidden Connections of the English Language” pondered the words we use to talk about the financial markets recently for The New York Times. Here’s one excerpt from his piece, which he read for us today:

“Sometimes, of course, bankers would run out of money, and when they did — in an age before the invention of TARP, bailouts and Ben Bernanke — their bench would be ceremonially smashed in front of them. It was then a ‘broken bench’ or ‘banca rotta’ or ‘bankrupt.’ Though trading terminals may be sturdy things, this is the sort of personalized and decisive action that I’m sure we all hope to see from Janet Yellen and her ax.”

Read more of Mark Forsyth’s essay here, and listen to his voice above.

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