blue chip


blue chip (metaphor)
/ˈbluː ˌtʃɪp/


  • blue-chip stock
  • blue-chip company
  • blue-chip investment


  • a stock issued by a well-established, financially sound company with a history of reliable earnings and regular dividend payments.
  • a company recognized for its financial stability, strong market presence, and ability to endure economic downturns while consistently paying dividends to shareholders.
  • a term originally derived from poker, where blue chips are of the highest value, used to describe stocks of leading companies known for their high value and reliability.
  • a business or undertaking with a strong track record of profitability and stability, often considered a safe investment due to its solid financial history.


Example Sentences

  1. Investors often seek out blue-chip stocks like Coca-Cola and IBM for their portfolios.
  2. Blue-chip companies are known for their resilience during economic downturns.
  3. Adding blue-chip investments to your portfolio can help reduce overall risk.
  4. The firm is considered a blue chip due to its consistent financial performance over decades.
  5. Even in volatile markets, blue-chip stocks are seen as safe havens for investors.

Origin and History

The metaphor “blue chip” has a rich history rooted in gambling and finance, with several theories explaining its origin. It vividly captures the essence of high value and reliability, drawing from its gambling origins and evolving through its financial applications. It remains a key term in finance, symbolizing the pinnacle of stability and quality in investments.

Poker and High-Value Chips

The most widely accepted origin of the term “blue chip” comes from the game of poker. In poker, chips are used to represent money, and they come in different colors, with blue chips traditionally having the highest value. The term’s first use in gambling contexts dates back to the 19th century. For instance, in the card game Faro, blue chips were noted for their high value as early as the 1860s.

Transition to Stock Market

The transition of “blue chip” from gambling to the stock market occurred in the early 20th century. It is commonly believed that Oliver Gingold, an employee at Dow Jones, popularized the term in the 1920s. Gingold reportedly observed several high-priced trades and referred to them as “blue-chip stocks” due to their high value, similar to blue poker chips. This reference was initially about stocks trading at $200 or more per share, symbolizing high-quality and reliable investments.

Broader Financial Application

Over time, the metaphor extended beyond individual stocks to describe companies known for their stability, reliability, and consistent performance. The term “blue chip” now generally refers to large, well-established, and financially sound companies that are leaders in their industries. Major stock indices such as the Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500, and FTSE 100 often include these companies as safe investments.

Other Theories and Beliefs

While the most recognized origin is poker, some suggest that the broader financial landscape and investment strategies may have reinforced the metaphor. As blue-chip stocks began to represent safe and reliable investments, the term solidified in financial jargon, symbolizing the highest quality in a variety of contexts, including art and property investments.

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