Words-worth: Analyst

No business-page story is complete without a quote from an analyst, second-guessing what's going on inside a company.

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Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

An analyst in this sense is an investment expert, whose job is to examine the figures before making buy or sell recommendations. An analyst 'analyses' or conducts an 'analysis'. All these words came into English from French or Latin in the 16th century. Their ultimate source is a Greek verb meaning to undo or loosen. To analyse is to study something complex, usually immaterial, by breaking it down into simple elements. The first analysts were mathematicians, skilled in geometry and algebra. More recently, they've been chemists, music critics, philosophers and, above all, those who practise psychoanalysis, in which the mysteries of the psyche are probed. In the business world, aside from investment analysts, we bump into accounting analysts, cost analysts, business analysts, systems analysts and many more. That's a lot of people taking things apart. It's easier than putting things together.

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