Posted by ESC on May 14, 2003
In Reply to: Bean counter posted by R. Berg on May 13, 2003
: : : Where did the phrase "bean counter" come from and what is it's exact meaning?
: : A bean counter considers only quantities when
: : qualities should be considered. Suppose an
: : editor of a newspaper gives pay raises to staff
: : members on the basis of the number
: : of articles written rather than the quality of
: : the articles. The editor is a bean counter.
: "Bean counter" is often used as a disparaging term for an accountant.
BEAN-COUNTER - "n an accountant, especially one who compiles statistical records or accounts. Hence widely used as a term of contempt for financial planners or statisticians, viewed as being more interested in figures than in the creative aspects of the businesses they serve, or anyone excessively concerned with accounts or figures." "20th Century Words: The Story of New Words in English Over the Last 100 Years" by John Ayto (Oxford University Press, New York, 1999).