Ten Words from Today's NY Times - Feb. 20, 2013 10 words

  1. unconstitutional
    not consistent with or according to a constitution; contrary to the U.S. Constitution
    Should the court agree that those overall limits are unconstitutional, however, its decision could represent a fundamental reassessment of a basic distinction established in Buckley v. Valeo in 1976, which said contributions may be regulated more strictly than expenditures because of their potential for corruption.
  2. discern
    detect with the senses
    “Although we acknowledge the constitutional line between political speech and political contributions grows increasingly difficult to discern,” Judge Janice Rogers Brown wrote for the court, “we decline plaintiffs’ invitation to anticipate the Supreme Court’s agenda.”
  3. validity
    the quality of having legal force or effectiveness
    In a brief concurrence, Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. said there was no reason to address the continuing validity of Buckley v. Valeo in that case, suggesting that a later case might present the question directly.
  4. contraband
    goods whose importation or exportation or possession is prohibited by law
    A police dog named Aldo alerted his human partner to contraband in Mr. Harris’s pickup truck.
  5. relic
    an antiquity that has survived from the distant past
    Many consider leprosy, formally called Hansen’s disease, a relic of the past, but annually about 250,000 people worldwide get it; Brazil is among the hardest-hit countries, as are India, the Philippines, Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
  6. atrophy
    any weakening or degeneration (especially through lack of use)
    As the bacteria kill nerves, muscles atrophy and those digits curl into claws.
  7. infiltrate
    pass into or through by filtering or permeating
    Economists have referred to this phenomenon as “degree inflation,” and it has been steadily infiltrating America’s job market.
  8. couture
    high fashion designing and dressmaking
    She graduated from the Art Institute of Atlanta in 2011 with a degree in fashion and retail management, and spent months waiting on “bridezillas” at a couture boutique, among other stores, while churning out office-job applications.
  9. reckon
    expect, believe, or suppose
    Of the three daughters in her family, Ms. Burnett reckons that she has the best job.
  10. menagerie
    a collection of live animals for study or display
    And this year the office’s Christmas tree ornaments were a colorful menagerie of college mascots — Gators, Blue Devils, Yellow Jackets, Wolves, Eagles, Tigers, Panthers — in which just about every staffer’s school was represented.