(general) (a) A right to take up an offer. (b) The right to choose from several different possibilities. (c) A privilege to buy or sell, receive, or deliver property, given in accordance with the terms stated, with a consideration for price. This privilege may or may not be exercised at the option holder’s discretion. Failure to exercise the option leads to forfeiture of the option.
(securities) A contract giving the holder the right to buy or sell a stated number of shares of a particular security at a fixed price within a predetermined period.
(foreign exchange) The contractually agreed upon right to buy (call option) or sell (put option) a specific amount of an underlying instrument at a predetermined price on a specific date (European option) or up to a future date (American option).
See call option; put option; American option; European option.

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