Buying a stock option is quite similar. Options are contracts that give the holder the right to buy or sell a fixed amount of a certain stock at a specified price within a specified time. A put option gives the holder the right to sell the security, a call option gives the right to buy the security. However, this type of contract gives the holder the right, but not the obligation to trade stock at a specific price before a specific date. Several individual investors find options useful tools because they can be used either as:
A) A type of leverage or
B) A type of insurance.
In short An option which conveys the right to buy something is called a call; an option which conveys the right to sell is called a put. The reference price at which the underlying may be traded is called the strike price or exercise price. The process of activating an option and thereby trading the underlying at the agreed-upon price is referred to as exercising it. Most options have an expiration date. If the option is not exercised by the expiration date, it becomes void and worthless.