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South Sea Bubble

(Brit, history) the financial crash that occurred in 1720 after the South Sea Company had taken over the national debt in return for a monopoly of trade with the South Seas, causing feverish speculation in their stocks
Word Origin
so named because the rapid expansion and sudden collapse of investment resembled the blowing up and bursting of a bubble
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Examples from the Web for south sea bubble
Historical Examples
  • In thirty years he made a large fortune, in spite of losing 20,000 in the south sea bubble.

    Haunted London Walter Thornbury
  • Paterson died in 1719, on the eve of the fatal south sea bubble.

    Old and New London Walter Thornbury
  • England had its "south sea bubble," with the same madness of speculation, vanishing fortunes, and blasted reputations.

  • Mushroom companies sprung up in a single night like the prophet's gourd, and flourished like the south sea bubble.

    India Under British Rule James Talboys Wheeler
  • The old companies, which we may justly consider the directors of a south sea bubble in miniature, sunk the price from 84l.

  • We save all our lives to invest in a south sea bubble; and in skimping and scheming, we have grown mean, and narrow, and hard.

  • Every reader has heard of the infamous speculation which is still known by the name of the south sea bubble.

  • The history of the south sea bubble has been told, before, but it is too prominent a case to be entirely passed over.

  • It was the moment of the south sea bubble, and speculation had become the universal fashion.

    Handel Edward J. Dent
  • Perhaps the "south sea bubble" is one of the most widely known of my father's pictures.

    Forty Years of 'Spy' Leslie Ward

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