Word of the Year 2007

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  • InternationalObserver,

    </off-topic>

    Not wishing to be too negative, I'll also throw my vote behind "sub prime". It just seems to mean anything below par, dodgy or all-round stupid. Like lending to people with insufficient funds.

    Just so we're clear - it wasn't 'stupid', just dodgy. Very dodgy. Capitalism at it's worst. You lend money at a discount to people who won't be able to afford the real interest rate when it kicks in, in 6/12/18 months time. You 'justify' this on the basis that the property market is rising and in 6/12/18 months they can probably sell the property at a higher price, pay off the loan, and maybe make some extra dollars for themselves in the process. In the meantime you've made money on Day One by charging them a range of fees for getting these no-hopers a loan.
    Then these dodgy loans are bundled together with other 'good' loans into what is called a CDO - a Collateralised Debt Obligation. And as if by magic these CDO's are given a positive risk rating, because for some reason the CDO is rated according to the strongest link in the chain, not the weakest. And those CDO's can be bought and traded on the International market, and down in little ol' NewZealand some fund managers decide to buy some because they're a new trading instrument, and they're hot.
    Until one day finance people start to notice that a lot of people are defaulting on their loans, and maybe these CDO's aren't as hot as they thought, and then they stink, and no-one wants them, and suddenly a lot of funds are writing off their CDO holdings. Which means all the mums and dads who invested in these funds because their financial planner/bank manager told them to, suddenly find their retirement savings is looking a little/lot thinner. Bummer.

    Since Jun 2007 • 909 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Andrew,

    Just so we're clear - it wasn't 'stupid', just dodgy.

    And as if by magic these CDO's are given a positive risk rating, because for some reason the CDO is rated according to the strongest link in the chain, not the weakest. And those CDO's can be bought and traded on the International market, and down in little ol' NewZealand some fund managers decide to buy some because they're a new trading instrument, and they're hot.

    And there's the point where dodgy crosses over into stupid...

    Hamiltron - City of the F… • Since Nov 2006 • 894 posts Report Reply

  • Matt Nippert,

    In honour of David Haywood (actually, ripping his wonderful child-birth novellas hardly is honourable, but...), I'd like to suggest: Breastapo.

    In a similar calcium-rich vein, I've always been tickled by: lactivist.

    But if you're wanting to describing the year of politics, the word must surely be dragonic

    Dragonic [drag-ON-ic]: Used to describe the numerous hysterical protests this year, all complaining about nanny or police-state government policy, that turn out to be more virulent and have longer half-lives than whatever Iran is apparently (now apparently not) fiddling with.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 20 posts Report Reply

  • Felix Marwick,

    "Mallardorous"

    - to be acting with either verbal or physical aggression
    - normally restricted to the species politicus ridiculous

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 200 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    "Mallardorous"

    Seriously, I think everyone in Labour must have had their head in their hands by yesterday. Watching it on the news, it seems only plain stubborn _and_ bad politics that he hasn't fronted up and said "sorry". This whole waiting for whatever inquiry they're having, is only going to lead to a week of bad publicity about him not saying sorry, and then him having to end up saying sorry anyway. Can Clark not get him back in his kennel?

    Since Nov 2006 • 6241 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    "down in little ol' NewZealand some fund managers decide to buy some"

    Have they though? I could be wrong but I haven't seen any reports of local institutions buying them.

    This is a rather good animation explaining how CDOs work.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3119 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    I was just looking at the Eggcorn site and thought it rather chideish but I did like "like a bowl in a china shop" It has such a good feel to it, it's like it's supposed to be there, like a fish in the water.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    John Key threw himself into policymaking like a bowl in a china shop, he sat there until someone turned up with enough money to buy him.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    I thought the word for this is was 'malapropism'.

    I suppose it's a species of malapropism (or possibly just a more homely version of the technical term).

    The best ones being so close you only notice when people get to writing them down, and being mostly non-standard versions of phrases or cliches rather than misunderstands of particular words - this might make a difference.

    Another game is phrases where the words have stayed the same but the meaning has migrated. For instance 'the exception that proves the rule', which Bierce(?) insists should be in the sense of being put to the proof - tested - and, probably, failing.

    I recall there's proverbs like that; for the time being they escape me.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1115 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    __But it did piss me off that it always pulled me up for using the passive voice, or any sentence with more than 15 words. Would have been good if you could turn certain warnings off, as 'my style' settings.__

    Umm, you can - Tools, Options, Spelling & Grammar, Grammar Settings.

    It never ceases to amaze me how much stuff you have to turn off in Word -- usually in two places for each "feature" -- to make it usable.

    Oh, and I'll work on a summary of candidates from this thread over the weekend, put them into Survey Monkey -- and see who gets the goodies ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22227 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    A classic one for me was the first line in a sales document I had to proofread:

    "The savings generated by our system cannot be underestimated".

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10488 posts Report Reply

  • Volnay,

    I hereby nominate: "my first life"

    Since Dec 2007 • 5 posts Report Reply

  • Sonia Braid,

    "Sub prime" does it for me

    Queen of the CBD • Since Nov 2006 • 9 posts Report Reply

  • InternationalObserver,

    "Sub prime" does it for me too!

    Since Jun 2007 • 909 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    "Sub prime" does it for me

    Not for me. It's just too, well, foreign. I mcuch preferred Emma's "underwhelming". Such an understated, NZ way of saying that it's been a poor year. Of course, if you were a cricket commentator, you would talk about it being "very average". I just don't understand that construction at all.

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1444 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Andrew,

    Of course, if you were a cricket commentator, you would talk about it being "very average". I just don't understand that construction at all.

    Its fairly simple. In fields where one is expected to excel, an average result is a bad thing.

    See the rugby world cup and americas cup for more detail. In both events 'our' teams performed well above the international average, but were seen to have failed.

    In sport average = bad.

    Hamiltron - City of the F… • Since Nov 2006 • 894 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Andrew,

    The Society of the German Language (GfdS) has picked “Klimakatastrophe” (climate disaster) as its “word of the year”, an annual honour awarded to the term the prestigious Wiesbaden-based group feels has captured the spirit or dominated the headlines and public discussion of the year.

    I do like the way the German language can pack a whole sentence into one word. It makes coining new words so much more fun, while us English speakers get stuck trying to nominate phrases for word of the year.

    Hamiltron - City of the F… • Since Nov 2006 • 894 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    The class might find it instructive to compare the 'average'/'very average' judgement - which had a far wider currency than sport commentators when I was yoof - to 'mediocre', both in terms of meaning and derivation.

    It might provide hope to people who think of NZ as a nation of tall-poppy-lopping sheep that we seem to have a disparaging view of the statistically ordinary.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1115 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    "Sub prime" does it for me too!

    I can report that "sub prime" is indeed in the leading group.

    Have you voted?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22227 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Of course, if you were a cricket commentator, you would talk about it being "very average".

    Ah, a sport I can care about in December... I wrote a blog once about the unique vocab of cricket commentary. I think we're beyond 'very average' and into 'decidedly average' at this point, 'decidedly average' meaning 'abysmal', and coming just above 'poor' meaning 'somebody's arm just fell off'.

    But I think it reflects a grain of laconic understatement in our game which compares very well (for vocab purposes, not game results) with Australia's brashness and England's formality before their players started forgetting words like 'bus' and calling Tony Blair a twat.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4618 posts Report Reply

  • Brent Jackson,

    Russell Brown wrote :

    I can report that "sub prime" is indeed in the leading group.

    Objection, your honour. Leading the witness !

    How come "underwhelming" didn't make the list - I thought it was the best on offer !

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 590 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    How come "underwhelming" didn't make the list - I thought it was the best on offer !

    Me too!

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1444 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    And I'm underwelmed by the list. I'd vote underwelming but I'm abstaining

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3845 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Aw, you guys are sweet. If'n any of you wanna send my whiskey, just let me know.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4618 posts Report Reply

  • Andy Milne,

    I know Im about a fortnight late with this, but I thought I'd chuck it in here anyway:

    McClarkthyism: a moral panic which causes the afflicted to suffer excessive fear of a minority group and see members of said group under every bed. In extreme cases, sufferers may use their fears to justify poorly-conceived laws. Famous sufferers include Annette King and Chris Carter.

    Christchurch • Since Aug 2007 • 58 posts Report Reply

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