The word "Bluechip" is used to refer to large cap companies which are in existence for at least 10 years. But why are they called Bluechips? What does the word denote?

  • Could you link the source where "Bluechip" has the definition you mentioned? – Vilmar Dec 27 '13 at 10:40
  • It was told by a Mutual Funds advisor that these companies pay regular dividends and their stock prices do not fluctuate too much and are very stable companies. – Mohan Pednekar Dec 27 '13 at 10:56
  • General Reference. From Wikipedia Blue chip stock market As befits the sometimes high-risk nature of stock picking, "blue chip" derives from poker. – FumbleFingers Dec 27 '13 at 14:20
up vote 7 down vote accepted

The dictionary

In gambling and poker, a blue-coloured counter represents a large amount of money. This meaning goes back to at least 1873, according to the OED:

1873 J. D. McCabe Behind Scenes in Washington xx. 507 He holds in his hand a stack of blue chips, worth twenty-five dollars apiece.

1904 S. E. White Blazed Trail Stories viii. 146, I reckon I don't stack up very high in th' blue chips.

Later, and interestingly the OED's first example is but one year later (suggesting there are earlier examples to be found), it was used for companies or stocks having high market values.

Also interestingly, the first few examples draw a direct parallel between playing poker and gambling on the stock exchange:

1874 San Francisco Chron. 5 Jan. 2/2 If times are good and the market flourishing, the game may be played with ‘blue chips’, as a gambler would say, the very high-priced stocks being the favourites.

1892 Los Angeles Times 12 Feb. 1/7 ‘What's bid for 100?’ cried a broker... ‘Run away, little boy,’ answered another..; ‘we are playing with blue chips only today.’


Antedatings

Unsurprisingly, as the two senses above are so closely dated, we can find earlies examples of the gambling one by searching old newspapers.

The Memphis daily appeal of October 13, 1862 has an example of blue chips used for the card game of faro:

We have had another descent by the police upon the faro banks, and the capture of an indefinite quantity of red, white and blue chips, card boxes, faro tables, playing cards, etc, etc.

This 1866 newspaper writes of a man of "most luxurious habits":

Languidly and with a becoming blase air he would walk up to the faro table of a gaming room and invest a few hundreds in "blue chips" just as a starting "stake."

  • I've sent these antedatings to the OED. – Hugo Dec 14 '15 at 22:51

A Bluechip refers to a blue-colored poker chip of high value.

Please, also refer to the following link:

http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=blue+chip

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