In finance, short selling or "shorting" is a way to profit from the decline in price of a security, such as a stock or a bond, in contrast to the ordinary investment practice, where an investor "goes long," purchasing a security in the hope the price will rise.
The term "short selling" or "being short" is often also used as a blanket term for all those strategies which allow an investor to gain from the decline in price of a security. Those strategies include buying options known as puts. A put option consists of the right to sell an asset at a given price; thus the owner of the option benefits when the market price of the asset falls. Similarly, a short position in a futures contract, or to be short a futures contract, means the holder of the position has the obligation to sell the underlying asset at a later date.