The definition of subprime is not clear and because of the word's ambiguity, former Freddie Mac executives believe a Securities and Exchange Commission securities fraud case filed against them should be dismissed, according to the Washington Business Journal.

The case is capturing headlines, with the Wall Street Journal saying the dismissal battle is a fight over semantics.  And that big semantics fight played out in court Monday.

The question that U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan must answer is whether his interpretation of the word subprime would summarily lead him to conclude that there's a possibility three former Freddie Mac executives misled investors about the underwriting quality of loans backing mortgage securities.

In the original case, the SEC went after former Freddie executives saying they made false and misleading statements about mortgages packed into securities sold off to investors.  

The definition of subprime is key in the case because the executives claim they never used the words subprime or prime to identify the quality of loans, the WSJ reported.

Click here to read more in the Washington Business Journal.