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UPDATE

No mutant turtles with this NINJA

January 27, 2008|Chicago Tribune

The American Dialect Society picked "sub-prime" as its word of the year for 2007. It may seem the obvious choice. But what the language group also noted was that the 2007 housing woes created a new category, solely of real-estate-related words, that rose in prominence in the American lexicon.

Among the winners: exploding ARM (an adjustable-rate mortgage whose rate rises beyond a borrower's ability to pay); liar loan (stated-income or no-documentation loans that permit borrowers to exaggerate income); NINJA (no income, no job or assets -- a poorly documented loan made to a high-risk borrower); and scratch-and-dent loan (one that has become a risky debt investment, especially one secured with minimal documentation or made to a borrower who has a history of missed payments).

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