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banksters = ληστοτραπεζίτες


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Έμαθα σήμερα ότι ο όρος bankster δεν είναι νεολογισμός, κι ας τον βρίσκω μόνο στο Urban Dictionary. Σας μεταφέρω την αρχή από προπέρσινο άρθρο του Χάρολντ Έβανς στο BBC.

Banker + gangster = bankster
Harold Evans (30/1/2009)

It seems timely to resurrect this Americanism from the 1930s - one of many evocative words the United States has contributed to the English language, says Harold Evans.

Americans are pretty good at adding words to the English language. We owe them pin-up girls, highbrows, killjoys, stooges, hobos, drop-outs, shills, bobby-soxers, hijackers, do-gooders and hitchhikers who thumb a ride.

The Americanisms are so much more concise and vivid. Instead of saying "sorry we're late but drivers ahead of us slowed us down when they craned their necks to look at a crash" you can say "we were held up by rubberneckers".

Words pop in and out of our language as social conditions change. The American gangster, which is still with us, has been around as a noun and a reality since 1896 according to my Shorter Oxford, but it seems to have dropped another Americanism from the 1930s and I think now is the time to revive it.

The word is bankster, derived by a marriage of banker and gangster.

It was coined, as far as I can deduce, by an American immigrant, a fiery Sicilian-born lawyer by the name of Ferdinand Pecora. He was the chief counsel to the US Senate Committee on Banking set up in the early 30s to probe the origins of the Crash of 1929.

He exposed quite a lot of the Wall Street practices that Harvard's Professor William Z Ripley had condemned in 1928. The believable Ripley called them - get ready for these Americanisms - "prestidigitation, double-shuffling, honey-fugling, hornswoggling and skullduggery".

The professor had vainly tried to warn President Calvin Coolidge that Wall Street was full of gas and was bound to blow up. To great discomfort all round, Pecora identified Coolidge himself, by then out of office, as one of those who'd been in on the honey-fugling.

The great banking house of JP Morgan had the president on a "preferred list" by which the bank's influential friends were given a chance to buy stock at half price. Shall we say, they made out like bandits?

Today the term bankster perfectly fits Bernard Madoff, whose crooked Ponzi scheme lost $50 billion of what the trade calls OPM - other people's money - invested with him.

Το κείμενο συνεχίζει με ιστορίες για διάφορους ληστοτραπεζίτες. Αυτός θεωρώ ότι είναι ο πιο διαδεδομένος αντίστοιχος όρος στη γλώσσα μας.

Τώρα και σε βιβλίο...


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