Cooking The Books Meaning

cooking the books meaning

The Meaning Of The Phrase “Cooking the Books”

It seems odd that cooking is a word used to communicate fraud. There are about a dozen meanings to the verb “to Cook”, according to Oxford English Dictionary. These include ‘prepare opioids for use’,’make the call a cuckoo, and, obviously, ‘prepare heat food’. Hidden at the bottom is the meaning of “present in a secretly altered form”, which was what led to the creation of the phrase “cook the books”. The meaning of the allusion is to change one thing into the other, like the conversions of food items into meals. The Earl Of Strafford, in his Letters & Dispatches (1636), used the term to refer to Stuart England and Tudor England.

“The Proof was once clear, however they have cook’d it since.” The verb was in common use by the 18th century and Tobias Smollett’s The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle, 1751, made the link to finance explicit:

Some falsified printed accounts were artfully made up to trick and deceive. Apart from the expression ‘cooking the books’ this use of ‘cook’ has become less common in the 19th and 20th centuries. Creative accounting is now the preferred way to refer to manipulation of financial records. This phenomenon was first reported in 1960s. The US comedian Irwin Corey is the one who penned it. See this Middlesboro Daily News May 1968 illustration.

Corey, a pseudo-Professor claims that his CPA (Certified Public Accountant) isn’t really crooked – however the government has begun questioning him regarding his “creative” accounting.

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Public opinion was turned against the semi-adoring tone of “creative accounting” in the 1990s by the numerous cases of corporate fraud. Journalists stopped using the term. That, and the transformation of bookshops, which now seem to sell more coffee and cakes than they do books, has brought about a revival of the term ‘cooking the books’, which looks like staying with us for some years to come.

.Cooking The Books Meaning

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