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THE BBC hit back last night after being named as the people behind the weirdest politically correct phrase of the year.

The American Global Language Monitor said the phrase "misguided criminals" - used to describe the July 7 bombers - topped their Politically inCorrect poll.

GLM president Paul Payack said: "The BBC attempt to strip away all emotion by using what it considers 'neutral' descriptions when describing those who carried out the bombings in the London tubes."

But a BBC spokesman said: "We would welcome the full context of Mr Payack's comments, as his assertion that we labelled the July 7 perpetrators 'misguided criminals' appears to be complete nonsense to us They challenged GLM to prove the term had been uttered by one of their news staff.

The phrase is on the BBC's website - in a comment piece by world affairs editor John Simpson on the terror attacks.

Second place in the poll went to "intrinsic aptitude", coined at Harvard University to tip-toe around the idea that many women don't have natural ability in science and engineering.

Third was "thought shower" - invented to replace brainstorm to avoid upsetting people with brain injuries.

Others in the top 10 included "deferred success" for failure and "womyn" for women