"That's a great deal to make one word mean," Alice said in a thoughtful tone. "When I make a word do a lot of work like that," said Humpty Dumpty, "I always pay it extra."

Monday, 25 March 2013

Fornale and subprime

   Fornale is an obsolete Scottish word.  It was an adjective and meant having spent one's money before it had been earned.  Surely it should be revived!  As Ammon Shea writes in 'Reading the Oxford English Dictionary' -  "We live in a nation that is overwhelmingly and crushingly in debt, awash in credit card debt and subprime mortgages.  How is it possible that the only word for 'spending money before it is earned' is an obsolete Scottish one?"

Interestingly, the word subprime was not one I had come across before.  It is an adjective referring to credit or loan arrangements for borrowers with a poor credit history. Typically subprime borrowing has unfavorable conditions such as high interest rates.

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