sub·​prime | \ ˈsəb-ˌprīm How to pronounce subprime (audio) \

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

Lenders are pulling back in certain areas, lowering credit limits for subprime consumers and tightening auto-loan underwriting. Annamaria Andriotis, WSJ, "U.S. Economy Fuels Boom in Consumer Debt," 28 Dec. 2018 Harra was one of a handful of high-ranking bank officials indicted in connection with the crash of the U.S. real estate market that began in 2008 and was sparked by problems with subprime mortgages. Jef Feeley,, "Delaware Bankers Guilty of Fraud Tied to Subprime-Era Loans," 3 May 2018 Early-stage mortgage delinquencies started piling up in 2006, with the delinquency rate on subprime ARMs going from roughly 12 percent at the beginning of 2006 to well over 20 percent by 2008. Jeff Andrews, Curbed, "10 years after the financial crisis, is the housing market still at risk?," 29 Aug. 2018 As competition between fintech lenders and banks intensifies, more subprime borrowers are receiving these loans. Peter Rudegeair, WSJ, "Lenders Shunned Risky Personal Loans. Now They’re Competing for Them.," 24 Aug. 2018 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

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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Last Updated

17 Feb 2019

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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 How to pronounce subprime (audio) \

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

Comments on subprime

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