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OUP UK’s Word of the Year is…


Drum roll please! Today sees the announcement of OUP UK’s Word of the Year, as chosen by Countdown’s Susie Dent. And, perhaps unsurprisingly given what is going on in the world’s economy at the moment, that word is credit crunch.

‘The world’s financial markets have been one of the biggest generators of vocabulary in the past year,’ says Susie, who is also the author of a new book for OUP, Words of the Year. ‘Specialized vocabulary is now firmly on the British public’s radar. As fears of a recession escalate, it may be productivity of the linguistic kind that is the safest bet. Credit crunch is an example of an established term – it was already in currency back in the 1960s – being resurrected as circumstances change’.

In addition to the now familiar financial terms such as Ninja loans, stagflation, funts or jingle mail, Words of the Year also looks at expressions from other areas of our lives – including online social networking, ethical living, and the world of styling – that have been ‘bubbling under’ in 2008.

It was a year when the traditional Olympic torch-bearers had to become flame attendents, when run-off – first recorded in the Oxford English Dictionary from 1873 – became synonymous with events in Zimbabwe, when Google increased its linguistic dominance thanks to our quest for Googleability, and the newer moofer (an acronym for a movile out-of-office worker) and scuppie (an acronym for a ‘socially conscious upwardly-mobile person/urban professional’) came to reflect our modern working lives.

But ultimately, 2008 is shaping up to be the year of the credit crunch, and so here’s your handy guide to just some of the entries in the 2008 bank of credit crunch Words of the Year:

NINJA LOAN – a loan or mortgage made to someone who has ‘No Income, No Job, No Assets’

JINGLE MAIL – the practice of sending back one’s house keys to the mortgage company because of negative equity, or the inability to keep up with payments

IPOD – acronym for ‘insecure, pressured, overtaxed, and debt-ridden’

HOMEDEBTOR – homeowner with a very large mortgage, particularly one that they are unlikely to ever pay off

SPEED MENTORING – a style of career- or life-coaching modelled on speed dating, in which each participant has a few minutes to seek advice on career-related questions

FUNT – someone who is Financially UNTouchable

EXPLODING ARM – variable rate mortgage with rates that soon rise beyond a borrower’s ability to pay

GOING UNDERWATER – falling into negative equity

STAGFLATION – stagnant growth and rising inflation

Recent Comments

  1. […] University Press have announced their word of the year. It’s … credit crunch! (Word of the year? Term, surely? It’s two words!) […]

  2. […] University Press, rappresentata da Susie Dent, vede e prevede con qualche mese in anticipo he la parola del 2008 sarà………. credit crunch. ‘The […]

  3. Charles Pennington

    Stagflation? Been around for years.

  4. […] you to vote for, though, are the words you love to hate from 2008. Susie Dent has revealed the UK word of the year already but is there a word that has been everywhere that you would quite happily never see […]

  5. […] appears that Susie Dent has a better flair for words of the year than the Americans. Ms. Dent has selected “credit crunch” — far more applicable to our everyday world than “hypermiling.” Indeed, such is […]

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