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"Rescue package" named Word of the Year

"Rettungspaket" (rescue package) has been selected from over 2,000 suggestions as Word of the Year in German-speaking Switzerland.

It beat off competition from other terms linked to the financial crisis such as Boni (bonuses), Finanzspritze (cash injection) and Liquiditätsengpass (liquidity squeeze).

Rettungspaket underwent a significant change in meaning during 2008, explained the jury of journalists. Before the crisis it referred to famines and natural catastrophes, whereas now people think of state intervention to save economies.

Other words that made an impression on the year were "botellón", the Spanish phenomenon of mass drinking that had Swiss politicians and tabloid newspapers up in arms in August, and "Raser" (street racer).

Accidents involving young male drivers, who race each other along Swiss roads, have increased this year. Several members of the public have been killed.

"Unword of the Year" was "Europhoria", an attempt by advertisers and the media to tap into the excitement surrounding the Euro 2008 football championship, co-hosted by Switzerland and Austria in June. The term never caught on, reflecting in the jury's eyes the fact that "the Swiss won't be told to be happy".