Show Me the Money! Phrasal Verbs for Business and Investing  

water coolerModern investment capitalism is its own little world. And just like any world, it has its own language, its own“water cooler lingo” (jargon and idioms). This entry’s phrasal verbs will give you a taste of the rich linguistic tradition of our economics professors and CEOs. Read on to learn more about phrasal verbs for business and investing:

Pay … Down/ – to make payments in order to reduce debt

  • I’ve been paying down my student loans steadily for ten years, and I’m very close to being debt-free.

Note: This verb is used primarily for large amounts of debt, such as that incurred by many college students in the US, or debt from buying a house or car.

Buy … Out/ – To purchase the part of a business or property owned by another person in order to eliminate their participation (and take more ownership for yourself)

  • When Pfizer Pharmaceuticals received a tax holiday from the US government, they used the money they saved to buy out small shareholders and consolidate ownership of the company.

Note: Like many other phrasal verbs, this one may be combined to form the noun “buyout,” which can be used as follows:

  • After the buyout, the company’s stock was concentrated among only 10 shareholders, the fewest since it went public.

Sink money into/ – to make a (usually bad or unproductive) investmentof  significant size

  • They’ve been sinking money into that project for years, but I don’t think it will ever enter the production phase. It’s too impractical.

Note: This verb is related to the economics concept of “sunken costs,” or money that cannot be recuperated from an investment, like in the example of unsuccessful research and development investments shown above.

Bail … Out/ – to rescue someone from a debt crisis

  • Governments around the world bailed out the big banks during the financial crisis of 2008, but many economists think that they should have let the banks fail.

Note: “Bail out” originates from a maritime context, where it means,“to remove water from a sinking boat.”

Remember that you our phrasal verbs homepage is always available for more practice!