Thursday, July 13, 2006

What is a Dead Cat Bounce?

(image from Earl the Dead Cat)

From World Wide Words:

Paul McFedries found an early example of its use in one of his WordSpy columns, from an Associated Press newswire piece dated February 1986:

One of the most vivid, if a bit indelicate, word pictures painted by the bears on oil comes from Raymond F. DeVoe Jr. at the investment firm of Legg Mason Wood Walker. DeVoe suggests the printing of a bumper sticker reading: “Beware the Dead Cat Bounce.” “This applies to stocks or commodities that have gone into free-fall descent and then rallied briefly,” he says. “If you threw a dead cat off a 50-story building, it might bounce when it hit the sidewalk. But don’t confuse that bounce with renewed life. It is still a dead cat.”

This may well be the first example extant: neither I nor the researchers at the Oxford English Dictionary have found an earlier one. The phrase gradually caught on during the 1990s but has become especially common—for obvious reasons—in the past couple of years.

No comments: