2007 Word of the Year

The American Dialect Society (founded in 1889) voted subprime as the word of the year for 2007.

Subprime is an adjective used to describe a risky or less than ideal loan, mortgage, or investment. Subprime was also winner of a brand-new 2007 category for real estate words, a category which reflects the preoccupation of the press and public for the past year with a deepening mortgage crisis.

Contrary to the Academie Française, the Dialect Society, comprised of lots of word people such as linguists, librarians, writers, and grammarians, do not judge whether a word should enter the English language. They simply note the appearance of a “new word” that is being used often and in different ways. For instance, a worker would say “I subprimed that project”, meaning that it came out less than best. Here are some other words the ADS felt were worthy of mention, with the number of votes for each word:

WORD OF THE YEAR

  • WINNER subprime, an adjective used to describe a risky or lessthan ideal loan, mortgage, or investment. 79
  • green– prefix/compounding form Designates environmental concern, as in greenwashing. 9
  • surge an increase in troops in a war zone. 1
  • Facebook all parts of speech. 11
  • waterboarding an interrogation technique in which the subject is immobilized and doused withwater to simulate drowning. 1
  • Googlegänger A person with your name who shows up when you google yourself. 7
  • wide stance, to have a To be hypocritical or to express two conflicting points of view. When Senator Larry Craig was arrested in a public restroom and accused of making signals with hisfoot that police said meant he was in search of a anonymous sex, Craig said it was a misunderstanding and that he just had a wide stance when using the toilet. 2

MOST USEFUL

  • WINNER green– prefix/compounding form Designates environmental concern, as in greenwashing. 43/59
  • bacn Impersonal email such as alerts, newsletters, and automated reminders that are nearly as annoying as spam but which one has chosen to receive. 14
  • celebu– prefix Indicates celebrity, as in celebutard. 13
  • connectile dysfunction Inability to gain or maintain a connection. 5
  • wrap rage Anger brought on by the frustration of trying to open a factory-sealed purchase. 39/55

MOST CREATIVE

  • WINNER Googlegänger Person with your name who shows up when you google yourself. 84
  • boom An instance of a military explosion in the phrases left of boom, which describes the US military’s efforts to root out insurgents before they do harm, and right of boom, which describes efforts to minimize attacks with better equipment, systems, and medical care. 1
  • lolcat On the Internet, an odd or funny picture of a cat given a humorous and intentionally ungrammatical caption in large block letters. From LOL + cat. 20
  • tapafication The tendency of restaurants to serve food in many small portions, similar to tapas. 4 ó

MOST UNNECESSARY

  • WINNER Happy Kwanhanamas! [Kwanza + Hanukka + Christmas] Happy holidays! 63
  • ruther Someone who espouses a conspiracy theory about the events of 9/11. 5
  • vegansexual A person who eats no meat, uses no animal-derived goods, and who prefers not to ave sex with non-vegans. 35

MOST OUTRAGEOUS

  • WINNER toe-tapper A homosexual. Senator Larry Craig was arrested in June for an encounterin a public restroom in which toe-tapping was said to have been used as a sexual come-on. 70
  • nappy-headed ho An expression used on the Don Imus radio show, and repeated by the host,about the women’s basketball team at Rutgers University. 27
  • make it rain To drop paper money on a crowd of people, especially in strip clubs, nightclubs, or casinos. 2

MOST EUPHEMISTIC

  • WINNER human terrain team A group of social scientists employed by the US military toserve as cultural advisers in Iraq or Afghanistan. 60
  • shmashmortion/smushmortion Abortion. 8
  • va-j-j Also va-jay-jay or vajayjay The vagina. 30

MOST LIKELY TO SUCCEED

  • WINNER green- prefix/compounding form Designates environmental concern, as ingreenwashing. 70
  • global weirding An increase in severe or unusual environmental activity often attributed toglobal warming. This includes freakish weather and new animal migration patterns. 3
  • Super-Duper Tuesday Feb. 5th, the day 23 US states will hold primary elections. Also knownas Tsunami Tuesday. 1
  • wide stance, to have a To be hypocritical or to express two conflicting points of view. WhenSenator Larry Craig was arrested in a public restroom and accused of making signals with hisfoot that police said meant he was in search of a anonymous sex, Craig said it was amisunderstanding and that he just had a wide stance when using the toilet. 13
  • locavore someone who eats food that is grown or produced locally. Nominated by Dick Bailey.13
  • texter a person who sends text messages. 5

LEAST LIKELY TO SUCCEED

  • WINNER strand-in Protest duplicating being stranded inside an airplane on a delayed flight.31/74
  • Billary/Hill-Bill Bill and Hillary Clinton. 1
  • earmarxist A congressman or senator who adds earmarks–money designated for a particular person or group–to legislation. Coined by the blog Redstate to refer to Democrats. 32/2
  • quadriboobage The appearance of having four breasts caused by wearing a brassiere that is too small. 40/19

NEW CATEGORY: REAL ESTATE/MORTGAGE/LOAN WORDS

  • WINNER subprime Used to describe a risky or poorly documented loan or mortgage. 65
  • exploding ARM An Adjustable Rate Mortgage whose rates soon rise beyond a borrowerís abilityto pay. 10
  • liar’s loan/liar loan Money borrowed from a financial institution under false pretenses,especially in the form of a ìstated incomeî or ìno-docî loan which can permit a borrower toexaggerate income. 1
  • NINJA No Income, No Job or Assets. A poorly documented loan made to a high-risk borrower.34
  • 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. 2
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