Often, speculator is perceived as someone who takes big risks, gambling on the future success of a stock. Thanks to Google, today I unintentionally found out the original definition of speculator.
According to Merriam-Webster, Speculate was adopted into English in the late 16th century from Latin speculatus, the past participle of the verb speculari. In Latin, definitions of speculari are as follow:
- examine, explore
- spy out
- watch, observe
Therefore, by Latin definitions, a speculator is a person who observes and acts before occurs. I thought this is precisely investors or traders should be doing: watching the market and individual stocks to determine what they are doing now, and then acting on that information.
In English, somehow, the definition of speculator is changed to “to invest money in ways that could produce a large profit but that also involve a lot of risk”.