WHAT IS 'On Stream'

On stream as a phrase refers to an investment that is on track to earn its expected return. Stocks, funds or any other investment vehicle that is presently performing in a way that allows it to reach the same target that was initially set can be referred to as on stream. However, just because these investments are on their way to reach their targets doesn't mean they actually will hit the goal, so the term on stream should not be taken as predictive of future success.

In the non-financial sense, on stream means something that is in progress or available, or something that is in regular rotation or is in use. It has the sense of “online” or “in circulation,” whether the item being discussed is mechanical in nature or not.


On stream has a specific and limited meaning in the financial sense. Despite these investments being on stream, there is no guarantee that the targets will be achieved, so all the phrase can say is that at this moment the investments still have the possibility to pay off at the expected rate. Whether or not investments are currently on stream, investors looking to invest in stocks, bonds or funds have to research these thoroughly and make sure they are prepared to withstand drops and potential losses in their investments, due to price fluctuations or other mitigating factors. Past performance does not guarantee future returns, and on stream status does not indicate an estimated return on an investment.

The non-financial meaning of on stream has more reliability, since all it indicates is availability and presence. There is no implied promise in the general meaning of on stream, and no pressure on future outcomes.

Use of On Stream

On stream is considered to be jargon from business or manufacturing. Since there is no literal stream involved in an investment’s progress to earning a given amount of interest, the phrase is an idiom at best and jargon at worst. Plain language would use the words “available” or “in use” to express the same idea more clearly, so on stream is seen as unnecessary business jargon. In general, jargon should be avoided, at least in written use. It could be argued that in order to be jargon a word or phrase must be indecipherable to a person not familiar with the field, and on stream does not fit this qualification. However, most linguists do not require a word to be incomprehensible by outsiders to qualify as jargon.

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