To truly understand meme stocks, you have to know where it all began, and that story really starts with WallStreetBets.
WallStreetBets is an internet community where retail investors come together to discuss the stock market and other investing topics. It was founded on Reddit in 2012, and while it’s been around for about a decade, it really took center stage in early 2021. WallStreetBets became the face of the surge of GameStop (GME) and AMC Entertainment (AMC), and today, has more than 12 million members.
One thing you’ll notice about WallStreetBets and other similar retail investing communities is that they seem to have a language of their own. Just as fancy financial jargon has long made the stock market feel inaccessible to many people, the language used in WallStreetBets can make retail investing feel inaccessible to visitors and new members, too. In this article, we’re breaking down some of the meme stock trading slang you’ll find on WallStreetBets and similar retailing investor communities.
Because meme stocks see an increase in trading volume as a result of social media attention rather than a company’s performance, in most cases, the risks of investing in this space are very high. Meme stocks are prone to high volatility and spikes of rapid growth, followed by dramatic drops in price and value. They are heavily dependent on investor opinion, which often causes them to be overpriced in comparison to the company’s fundamentals, often resulting in losses.
"Stonks" is an intentional misspelling of the word “stocks,” and it is often used in online memes or investing internet forums such as WallStreetBets. The term “stonks” dates back to 2017 when it was used in a stock market meme that circulated online. “Stonks” is a term that’s often used to humorously describe extraordinary stock market behavior, such as large gains or losses.
Apes Together Strong
The phrase “apes together strong” originally comes from the movie “Rise of the Planet Apes,” but has since become popular stock trading slang. Just as in the movie where it was used to represent solidarity among the apes, WallStreetBets members use it to represent solidarity with one another.
For example, in January 2021, some investors used the phrase “apes together strong” in Reddit posts when sharing their latest investments during the GameStop stock surge.
Diamond Hands and Paper Hands
WallStreetBets members use the term “diamond hands” to say they plan to hold their stock for the long term. These individuals have a high risk tolerance and can withstand the volatility of the market. Many Redditors and retail investors also use the term “diamond hands” in reference to especially volatile stocks or those that have declined in value.
On the other hand, “paper hands” describes someone who sells a stock at the first sign of trouble rather than holding it for the long term. “Paper hands” is usually an insult Redditors use to describe investors who aren’t standing in solidarity with them by holding a stock. For example, inventors who sold their GameStop stock in 2021 rather than holding it for the long term may have been described as having paper hands.
We Like the Stock
The phrase “we like the stock” can be attributed to Jim Cramer, a CNBC media personality who discusses investing. Cramer originally said this phrase in a mocking manner to imitate GameStop investors, and it has since become a popular meme on the forum.
Hold the Line
Similar to diamond hands, an investor might say “hold the line” when they plan to hold a stock for the long term and are encouraging other investors to do the same. Investors might be especially likely to use this phrase when a particular stock is down and they’re encouraging others not to exit their positions.
A bagholder is an investor who has held their stock position, even as the stock drastically dropped in value or even became worthless. The term describes someone who held a stock long after they likely should have sold. And while the term “bagholder” can be used as an insult—and sometimes is in the WallStreetBets forum—many people are also self-described bagholders in reference to those meme stocks they’ve purchased and don’t plan to sell.
When planning to sell a stock, it’s important to look ahead and at the bigger picture. Typically, if a stock you own becomes the focus of media hype, it may be time to consider taking a profit. Waiting too long can force you to sell on a loss, which is risky.
On the WallStreetBets forum, “tendies” is simply another term for gains or profit made from an investment. Investors on WallStreetBets often use the term when talking about big wins in the stock market.
You’re probably already familiar with the acronym YOLO, which stands for “you only live once.” In the world of WallStreetBets, investors might describe a YOLO trade, where they invested a significant amount of money in a high-risk trade. According to one user in the WallStreetBets forum, “A YOLO should be at least four digits and represent 98% to 100% of your account.”
“DD” refers to due diligence, which means that you’ve done your research into a particular stock or the overall market before investing. Redditors might use DD in the title of the post if they’re sharing research they’ve done or if they’re sharing a recent investment they made that stemmed from doing due diligence beforehand.
No matter what type of investments you are making, it is recommended to perform due diligence before going into the market. If you look at possible warning signs, the potential risks, and every aspect of a company, you're much less likely to be surprised by any individual event that afflicts the business.
JPOW is a slang nickname for Jerome Powell, the chairman of the Federal Reserve. Investors on WallStreetBets generally refer to Powell as JPOW when discussing current Federal Reserve events or what’s going on in the economy.
“GUH” is an internet term used to mean someone is annoyed or upset. In the context of WallStreetBets, GUH is likely to be used when someone has lost a lot of money on an investment. For example, someone might use GUH in the title of a Reddit post where they show a stock chart that’s sloping severely downward.
BANG is an acronym used to describe four stocks that are popular in the WallStreetBets community: BlackBerry (BB), AMC Entertainment (AMC), Nokia (NOK), and GameStop (GME).
These four stocks are a large part of what helped the Reddit forum gain popularity in early 2021. These are the stocks that Redditors on the forum often discuss when talking about “diamond hands” and “holding the line.”
To the Moon
“To the moon” is a phrase that’s often used in WallStreetBets to describe the performance of a stock. When a stock is going “to the moon,” it means it’s increasing in stock price. In the Reddit forum, the phrase “to the moon” is often accompanied by a rocket emoji.
Meme stocks and WallStreetBets have often been popularized by mainstream media and famous individuals. On June 24, 2021, Jim Cramer used the phrase “to the moon” in a Tweet referring to meme stocks.
ATH is simply an acronym for “all-time high.” WallStreetBets Redditors might use ATH to describe a particular stock that’s reached an all-time high.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is WallStreetBets?
WallStreetBets is an internet community housed on the popular website Reddit. Founded in 2012, it’s a place for retail investors to share investing wins and losses, ask for advice, and discuss current market events.
What is a meme stock?
A meme stock is a stock that’s gone viral on forums such as WallStreetBets and on social media. The stock might see a surge in its stock price, not because of the company’s performance, but because of this viral attention. An example of a meme stock is GameStop, which went viral in early 2021 after being featured in WallStreetBets.
What does “stonks” mean?
“Stonk” is a slang term used to refer to stock. It’s an intentional misspelling that’s often used in internet memes or online investing forums.
The Balance does not provide tax, investment, or financial services or advice. The information is being presented without consideration of the investment objectives, risk tolerance, or financial circumstances of any specific investor and might not be suitable for all investors. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Investing involves risk, including the possible loss of principal.