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 The removal of the Lenape people from their home, on what is now the island of Manhattan, by Dutch colonists mirrors the removal of a Lenape family from their home in the wake of the subprime mortgage crisis of 2008. oregonlive, "9 theatrical experiences to add to your calendar: Portland spring arts guide," 23 Mar. 2021 Consumer advocates claim the practice continues in a different form — reverse redlining, which targets minorities with predatory lending, such as subprime mortgages. Ramishah Maruf, CNN, "Amalgamated becomes the first major US bank to endorse reparations," 17 Mar. 2021 The original rules were fully set into place in 2012 and were tied to the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, legislation that was passed to address the subprime mortgage crisis that led to the Great Recession. Fortune, "The COVID relief bill doesn’t raise taxes on gig workers," 13 Mar. 2021 In 2008, in the aftermath of the subprime mortgage crisis, non-business bankruptcy filings exceeded 1 million and reached a high of 1.5 million in 2010. Whizy Kim,, "Why Declaring Bankruptcy Can Be Good, Actually," 1 Mar. 2021 John Paulson made billions of dollars by anticipating the subprime mortgage crisis, but his returns have been lackluster this decade. John Detrixhe, Quartz, "Is this the world’s best stock picker?," 27 Feb. 2021 Experian defines credit scores of 600 and below to be subprime. Jim Henry, Forbes, "Auto Industry Message To New-Car Shoppers With Subprime Credit: Forget It," 26 Feb. 2021 Even though non-QM loans are considered riskier than QM loans, they should not be confused with the subprime loans that were at the center of the housing crisis. Washington Post, "Good news for self-employed borrowers: Nonqualifying mortgages are staging a comeback," 4 Jan. 2021 The concern therefore is that, like subprime-mortgage originators in America in the early 2000s, Ant does not have enough skin in the game. The Economist, "Free exchange Is China right to tame Ant?," 30 Dec. 2020

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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Time Traveler for subprime

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The first known use of subprime was in 1995

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Last Updated

4 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Subprime.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Apr. 2021.

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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

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