BRAIN FOOD: Words-worth - Due diligence

BRAIN FOOD: Words-worth - Due diligence - In the thrill-seeking world of US accountancy, 'due diligence' is the procedure of scrutinising the books before any corporate transaction.

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Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

In the thrill-seeking world of US accountancy, 'due diligence' is the procedure of scrutinising the books before any corporate transaction.

Originally, 'diligence' meant a task you 'delight' in, but by the 17th century lawyers were using it to mean the opposite: 'obligation'. An alliterative, tautologous catchphrase first recorded in Shakespeare's Pericles, it became a staple of British and US law courts. It now constitutes a defence against charges of negligence - the real reason for all those due diligence meetings.

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