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The most popular words of 2007

Updated on February 7, 2008

"Subprime" has been voted word of the year for 2007

According BBC article, subprime has been voted word of the year for 2007 by linguists of the American Dialect Society. Used to describe a risky loan, the word burst out of the banking sector as the home loan crisis in the US turned into a global credit squeeze.

It beat competition from Facebook, water-boarding and Googleganger.

Subprime means literally "less than ideal" and is the technical term used to describe loans - especially mortgages - made to borrowers with poor credit histories.

A series of defaults on such loans spread panic through much of the banking sector in 2007 as financial institutions realised they had bought many of these loans from one another without knowing how risky they were.

American Dialect Society spokesman Wayne Glowka said: "When you have investment companies losing billions of dollars over something like bundled subprime loans, then you have to consider whether it's important.

"You probably also want to think about paying off that third mortgage."


Googleganger: most creative word of 2007

The society gave its "most creative word" award to "Googleganger" - meaning a person thrown up by a Google search on your name, but who is not you.

The term Googleganger is a play on the German word doppelganger, literally "double-goer," suggesting a physical twin or an eerie similarity in appearance or identity. A Googleganger may share the same name as the searcher, but thankfully not the same lifestyle. Part of the fun of researching a Googleganger is discovering how different two or more people with identical names can be. A Googleganger may be significantly older or younger than the searcher, for example.

Not everything about a Googleganger search is positive, however. Some Internet twins may have their names connected with criminal behavior or other negative acts. There may even be some identity issues with a Googleganger's name becoming confused with the searcher's own identification. If a person finds themselves on a "no fly" list or receives an unsolicited call from creditors or law enforcement officers, it may be the result of a Googleganger's bad acts.

Finding a Googleganger online can be an interesting experience, especially if the Internet twin has an unusual career or lifestyle. Friends and family may not even realize a Googleganger exists, which could lead to some interesting questions if the Internet twin happens to be an exotic dancer or a notorious celebrity.

kchristieh told his experience in googleganger search, he give us a very interesting search result, here's a partial list of who or what he's NOT:

  • I'm not a Scientologist or a preacher
  • My son's neither a brutal killer nor a military casualty
  • I didn't receive the "Excellence in Riparian Management" award
  • I don't sleep during the day and lie awake at night
  • I'm married in California, not divorced in New York
  • I definitely didn't give to the California Republican Party
  • I don't sell real estate in Texas, heal people in Wisconsin, do PR in Florida, or attend Darien High School reunions
  • You're all lucky I didn't sing with Philip Wang in the UCSD talent show
  • I'm not a Tasmanian Polynesian dancer

Who are your Googlegangers?

Most Shocking Word: Water-boarding is not an Olympic game

If you don't know what is water-boarding, this word sound so romantic, something like water skiing to my imagination. But actually its a torture, use Water-boarding has been used in interrogations at least as early as the Spanish Inquisition in western world. I don't know if this interrogation technique has been used by Chinese or Japanese, etc., but I do know there is one torture used by Japanese during WWII which is much more horrible. Japanese poured burning hot chili water and cool water alternatively into his subject's mouth or nostrils. I suspect that Japanese or Chinese may think "the feeling of drowning" is somewhat too soft and kind.

I don't know which one is more effective. But CIA is not fool, if they can let terrorists open their mouth by only pouring cool water, then why hot chili pepper?


Other words nominated for the award included "water-boarding" - a form of interrogation involving simulated drowning, that was much discussed in recent confirmation hearings - and "Facebook", a popular social networking website.

Among other citations this year:

  • Ninja - a poorly documented loan made to a high-risk borrower - someone with No Income, No Job or Assets
  • Wrap rage - anger brought on by the inability to open a factory-sealed package
  • Tapafication - the tendency of restaurants to serve food in many small portions, like tapas.


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    • LdsNana-AskMormon profile image

      Kathryn Skaggs 

      11 years ago from Southern California

      I must confess...

      I have a problem with.... "wrap rage"! (i love new words)



    • MrMarmalade profile image


      11 years ago from Sydney

      I guess it is not hard to appreciate why. That word is going to ruin many people in the Australian society of living.

      4 of our 5 major banks have put their rates in the last week. their excuse the American Subprime loans.


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