All waves may be categorized by relative size, or degree. Elliott discerned nine degrees of waves, from the smallest wiggle on an hourly chart to the largest wave he could assume existed from the data then available. He chose the names listed below to label these degrees, from largest to smallest:
Cycle waves subdivide into Primary waves that subdivide into Intermediate waves that in turn subdivide into Minor and sub-Minor waves. It is important to understand that these labels refer to specifically identifiable degrees of waves. By using this nomenclature, the analyst can identify precisely the position of a wave in the overall progression of the market, much as longitude and latitude are used to identify a geographical location. To say, “the Dow Jones Industrial Average is in Minute wave 0 of Minor wave 1 of Intermediate wave (3) of Primary wave 5 of Cycle wave I of Supercycle wave (V) of the current Grand Supercycle” is to identify a specific point along the progression of market history.
When numbering and lettering waves, some scheme such as the one shown at right is recommended to differentiate the degrees of waves in the stock market’s progression. We have standardized the labels as follows: