Wall Street


DEFINITION of 'Wall Street'

1. A street in lower Manhattan that is the original home of the New York Stock Exchange. The street is the historic headquarters of the largest U.S. brokerages and investment banks. Many have since relocated to other areas of Manhattan and the United States. Wall Street was named after the wooden wall Dutch colonists built in this area in 1653 to defend themselves from the British and Native Americans.

2. The collective name for the financial and investment community, which includes stock exchanges and large banks, brokerages, securities and underwriting firms, and big businesses. Some people believe that the interests of these big firms contrast those of smaller businesses, or "Main Street."


1. Today, the Southern tip of Manhattan is known as New York's financial district, which covers Wall Street, the New York Stock Exchange, Battery Park, the Southstreet Seaport, Trinity Church and the Woolworth Building.

2. Because of their ability to quickly raise capital through the investment community, some argue that big businesses have an unfair advantage over small businesses. Outsiders feel that Wall Street businesses are an exclusive circle made up of the powerful, greedy and corrupt. Others believe that this view is outdated. Today, there are brokerages all over the country, allowing investors free access to the same information available to Wall Street's tycoons.

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  1. How did Bernard Baruch attain his wealth?

    Bernard Baruch obtained his fortune by investing in profitable stocks on Wall Street. Baruch is known as a legendary stock ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Why was Bernard Baruch known as the "Park Bench Statesman?"

    As someone who preferred to conduct his meetings in informal settings and was led by persuasion rather than pressure, Bernard ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What is Bernard Baruch's most lasting legacy?

    Although a wealthy financier and broker on Wall Street, Bernard Baruch's most lasting legacy is that of a public servant ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Where does the name "Wall Street" come from?

    As with many of the famous streets and roads in the world, Wall Street's origins have historical significance. Its name is ... Read Full Answer >>
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