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Monday, January 7, 2008

What's the Word (Again)?

Linguists: 'Subprime' is word of the year

'Tis the season to choose the word of the year. The American Dialect Association selected 'subprime' as 2007's Word of the Year at it's annual convention.

While acknowleding that 'subprime' has been a word used by bankers for awhile, a spokesman for the group said now everyone is talking about 'subprime,' which means a risky or less than ideal loan, mortgage or investment. People are using the word creatively to mean "below the best," saying things like, "I am going to subprime my test."

So what other words were considered for 2007's Word of the Year?

  • Facebook--as a noun, verb or adjective. (Just how do you facebook somebody?)
  • Green--denoting environmental concern. This word topped the associations 2007 Most Useful category.
  • Googleganger--a person with your name who shows up when you google yourself. This is a verbal twist on the idea that you have a doppleganger, an identical copy of yourself. And do you know I googled myself and found a Beth K. Vogt published in some engineering journal?

I admit I was caught off guard that 'subprime' showed up as the Word of the Year. Any thoughts? Any recommendations?


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4 comments:

anna j said...

I was caught off guard as well when I heard this story on NPR about the word of the year: frankly [that's another buzz-word, by the way :-) ], I'm a bit disappointed. As far as words go, "subprime" is an awfully dull one . . . I mean, if it's going to be a financial word, couldn't it at least have a bit more of a ring to it? Then again, I can't for the life of me think of a financial buzzword that is particularly intriguing to my literary sensibilities :-)

elizabeth said...

I don't think I've used the word 'subprime' very much, but I do facebook people (and get facebooked in return) quite often. ;-)

'Truthiness' still stands as my all-time favorite word of the year (from 2005).

Tiffany Stuart said...

Hmm, I don't like the word subprime. It does nothing for me. I don't think I will be adding it to my vocabulary...

I'll think about the other words.

Beth K. Vogt said...

I find "subprime" pretty boring too.
And somebody tell me what it means when you "facebook" somebody. I know what Facebook is because I've seen my daughters' Facebook pages ... but explain the verb usage of the term. Enlighten me.