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Old 01-08-2008, 12:00 PM
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Default ?Subprime? is the word of the year

Edging out an elite list of words and phrases, subprime?a risky loan, mortgage, or investment?has been selected by the American Dialect Society as the word of the year for 2007. ?When you have investment companies losing billions of dollars over something like bundled subprime loans, then you have to consider whether [a word is] important,? said Wayne Glowka, dean of Arts and Humanities at Reinhardt College and chair of the New Words Committee of the American Dialect Society. ?You probably also want to think about paying off that third mortgage.? Not surprisingly, in a year when the housing market plunged, subprime was not the only home-finance-related finalist. In fact, the 118-year-old ADS has added a new category of real-estate-industry words that include: Exploding ARM: An adjustable-rate mortgage whose rates have risen beyond the borrower?s ability to pay. Liar?s loan/liar loan: Money borrowed from a bank or other lender under false pretenses, especially in the form of a ?stated income? or ?no-doc? loan, says the ADS. These moves allow borrowers to exaggerate their actual income. NINJA (No Income, No Job or Assets): A poorly documented loan made by a lender to a high-risk borrower. Scratch-and-dent loan: A loan or mortgage that has become a risky debt investment, especially one secured with minimal documentation or made by a borrower who has missed payments. You?ll find all the 2007 finalists here. This is the 18th year the ADS has named a word of the year; recent past winners include plutoed (2006), truthiness (2005), red state, blue state, purple state (2004), metrosexual (2003), and weapons of mass destruction/WMD (2002). Merriam-Webster named woot as its word of the year for 2007.?Steven H. Saltzman

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