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An SEC rule mandating that several days transpire between the filing of a new issue's prospectus and the actual offering of the issue. This allows potential buyers and the seller to have a final chance to investigate the new issue and attempt to determine if there will be any previously unforeseen problems. The cooling off period is usually 20 days, but the SEC may change that for individual offerings at its discretion. It is also called the waiting period.
See cooling-off period.