I Type of mortgage (i.e.: loan) generally conceded to high-risk borrowers, with larger-than-average risk of defaulting on the loan. Being the interest rate highly volatile, and having borrowers very limited capacity of payment, subprime mortgages have been the main cause of the U.S. (and European) recession in 2007-2008 (see also: housing bubble). II The term subprime is used as the opposite of prime (referring to a loan), categorising a portion of debtors whose credit history has been marked with foreclosure, non-fulfillment, bankruptcy or delay in payments. III Subprime mortgages have been used as narrative expedient by media, identifying them as toxic, infectious elements able to generate economic epidemics. The attribution of the status of virus to subprime credit instruments constitutes the focal point of governmental strategies, developed to escape from the emergency of an economic collapse through the mediation of television, newspapers and magazines.

//synonyms: contagious; speculative; skating on thin ice.
// antonyms: secured; within the law; mortgage-backed securities.

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