a bear and a bull


My dictionary says that "a bear is a person who sells shares when prices are expected to fall in order to make a profit by buying them back again at a lower price." Therefore, can we interpret "a bear" as "a person who has a pessimist view about the stock market?"

Same as a bull. The dictionary says that "a bull is a person who buys shares in companies hoping the price will rise, so that they can be sold later at a profit." Can we say a bull is a person who holds an optimistic view towards the stock market?"

Thank you. ^_____________^
  • Dimcl

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    Could you please tell us what dictionary you're using, sihubiera? The reason that I ask is because I've never heard people referred to as "bulls" and "bears" as regards the stock market. A "bull" market is one that's doing well and a "bear" market is the opposite but I've never, ever heard of a person buying or selling shares, referred to as the respective animal.


    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    Thank you for your reply. I know about the bull market and the bear market though I thought describing a person as a bear sounds strange.
    Here's the dictionary that I use: cambridge online dictionary
    Perhaps this is a particularly BE usage. I've never heard or seen it used before, either in Canadian or U.S. print/television. This is not to say that it isn't used, but I've just never heard it.

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    The Handbook of International Financial Terms suggests the word is quite standard in this sense. Bear activity is a bit more complicated than bull activity, because clearly bears don't own the stocks they sell, and need to acquire them (at the lower price, they hope) in time to deliver. Stock exchanges have account periods - dealing periods during which nobody needs to pay or deliver what they sell - at the end of which there is a general settling up. Clearly the bear needs to acquire what he has sold before the end of the account period to be able to deliver on the account day.

    Your question about a bear taking a pessimistic view about the stock market, Sihubiera: my answer would be not necessarily. If you define taking a pessimistic view about the stock market as thinking that the index of share prices will fall, clearly this fall will provide bears with a lot of opportunities, but during periods of rising stock prices there are often some shares whose prices fall, and these offer opportunities for bears to make capital gains.
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