sub·​prime | \ˈsəb-ˌprīm \

Definition of subprime 

1 : having or being an interest rate that is higher than a prime rate and is extended chiefly to a borrower who has a poor credit rating or is judged to be a potentially high risk for default (as due to low income) subprime mortgages a subprime loan

2 : extending or obtaining a subprime loan subprime lenders subprime borrowers

Examples of subprime in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

As demand grows, a combined gauge of both prime and subprime auto bonds shows spreads have dropped to the lowest 4th percentile of their seven-year ranges, according to Goldman Sachs research. Cecile Gutscher, Houston Chronicle, "Subprime auto defaults infect some bond pools, yet sales boom," 3 Feb. 2018 While subprime lending is declining, some banks are turning to consumers whose credit scores are neither high nor low. Christina Rexrode, WSJ, "Auto Lenders Ramp Up Risk to Win More Customers," 10 June 2018 The United States subprime crisis erupted in a night. New York Times, "What Keeps Xi Jinping Awake at Night," 11 May 2018 Barack Obama recognized Schneiderman as he was seated behind Michelle at his 2012 State of the Union, and announced that the New York attorney general would lead a group investigating fraud during the subprime mortgage crisis. David Freedlander, Daily Intelligencer, "Eric Schneiderman Is N," 8 May 2018 In November, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York reported increases in the delinquency rates of several consumer debt types, particularly subprime auto loans. David Lyons,, "Plantation subprime car loan firm files for bankruptcy, blames Hurricane Irma," 27 Mar. 2018 This increases demand, pushes prices higher, and makes subprime lending even riskier. Jeff Andrews, Curbed, "Subprime mortgage bonds are making a comeback," 30 Mar. 2018 Years of loose lending have resulted in growing numbers of subprime borrowers falling behind on their bills., "Smaller Subprime Auto Lenders Are Starting to Fold," 6 Apr. 2018 The company owns Credit One Bank, a mostly subprime credit-card issuer that’s the fastest-growing among the nation’s 15 largest card providers., "Bashful Billionaires Battle to Own NFL Team," 12 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'subprime.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of subprime

1995, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of subprime was in 1995

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More Definitions for subprime


sub·​prime | \ˈsəb-ˌprīm \

Legal Definition of subprime 

1 : having or being an interest rate that is higher than a prime rate and is extended especially to low-income borrowers subprime mortgages

2 : extending or obtaining a subprime loan subprime lenders subprime borrowers

More from Merriam-Webster on subprime

Nglish: Translation of subprime for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of subprime for Arabic Speakers

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