This Week in Words: June 25 - 30, 2017

No time to scour the headlines or watch the news? No problem! We’ve rounded up the top ten words heard, read, debated, and discussed this week. Washington's wrangling over health care legislation dominated the news cycle, with Republican leadership attempting to cajole intransigent colleagues into supporting the bill. But this week wasn’t all about politics: we were also intrigued by resentful royals, apprehended fugitives, and a 90s hip hop group reminiscing about their past. Take a look back on the week that was, vocabulary-style.

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. subsidy
    a grant paid by a government to an enterprise
    "Older people who are now getting premium subsidies would get substantially less help, but younger people would get more."Time (Jun 24, 2017)
    The details of the latest attempt at a new health care bill were released this week by the Senate, and much of the discussion was taken up with a back and forth about what the proposal would or would not accomplish. The only thing anyone's sure of is that the other side is wrong, particularly when it comes to subsidies. Subsidies are payments made by the government, and a real sticking point in the health care conundrum.
  2. resentful
    full of or marked by indignant ill will
    I felt very resentful. Being in the Army was the best escape I’ve ever had. I felt as though I was really achieving something
    - Prince Harry,
    Prince Harry made the news when Newsweek published an interview with the young royal. In this quote, Prince Harry discusses being resentful of being pulled out of the army because it was deemed too dangerous for him to serve. Prince Harry is royal and rich beyond imagination, yet even he gets frustrated with his lot in life. We can't decide if that's depressing or somehow uplifting.
  3. savant
    a learned person
    I feel blessed just being part of the ride from day one and before. But he did something pretty remarkable. But I don’t profess to be a political savant.
    - Ivanka Trump, about the President, her father on Fox News
    First daughter Ivanka Trump gave another widely watched interview this week, in which she distanced herself from the political aspects of her family's dealings. She's another impossibly wealthy person who seems less than thrilled with life these days. Maybe being rich and powerful isn't as easy and fun as it looks?
  4. injunction
    a judicial remedy to prohibit a party from doing something
    We grant the government’s applications to stay the injunctions, to the extent the injunctions prevent enforcement of” Mr. Trump’s executive order, the ruling said, “with respect to foreign nationals who lack any bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States"
    - The Supreme Court, as reported in The NY Times
    "Injunction" was the big surprise on our vocabulary countdown this week, as the Supreme Court decided the cases it will and will not hear in the upcoming session. The bench issued a preliminary ruling on President Trump's travel ban, upholding parts of it. Supreme Court Justices have a lot of power, so maybe that's a future career if Prince or First Daughter doesn't sound so appealing anymore.
  5. cajole
    influence or urge by gentle urging, caressing, or flattering
    With criticism mounting over their bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, top Republicans are cutting deals and cajoling members to get to 50 votes.
    - The New York Times
    In the context of politics in Washington, cajole is a word that conjures images of back-room dealings. People cajole others to get what they want, and it's a polite way to describe what probably went on behind the scenes in the Senate this week to make a deal on the latest health care bill.
  6. reminisce
    recall the past
    Don't you ever wish
    One day we could reminisce
    It feels like, we were just together
    Cause we go way back
    -TLC, "Way Back"
    When a girl-group as huge as TLC releases a new album, especially when that release is accompanied by the announcement that it'll be their last, it's (at least in pop culture) newsworthy. The self-titled "TLC", the first release since their lead singer's tragic death in 2002, is full of throwback hip hop and R&B tracks. If TLC hadn't decided to name the album after themselves, "Reminisce" might have been a good alternative.
  7. reconciliation
    getting two things to correspond
    The Better Care Reconciliation Act would start cutting Medicaid by the year 2021 if passed.New York Times (Jun 26, 2017)
    In this sense, reconciliation implies fixing something that was wrong in order to get two things to come together better. The Senate's proposed Better Care Reconciliation act is intended to "repeal, replace and fix" what many view as a broken health care system, the one that's come to be known as "Obamacare".
  8. intransigent
    impervious to pleas, persuasion, requests, or reason
    Facing intransigent Republican opposition, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, has told senators he will delay a vote on his legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act, dealing President Trump an embarrassing setback on a key part of his agenda.
    - The New York Times
    Intransigent is a good word to use when it becomes clear that nothing is going to change, like when opponents on each side of a dispute have dug in their heels and will not budge. Apparently, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell saw the writing on the wall when it came to getting (or not getting, in this case) enough support for the Senate's health care bill this week and decided to delay the vote until after the July 4th holiday break. More time for cajoling between now and then!
  9. retract
    formally reject or disavow
    The retracted story appeared on CNN’s website and did not air on television.Los Angeles Times (Jun 26, 2017)
    Three CNN staffers resigned this week when a story they reported about a connection between an associate of President Trump and a Russian investment fund "did not meet editorial standards." That's a nice way of saying that they are not sure if what these reporters said happened actually happened. CNN decided to retract the article, which is the media's way of saying, "We take it back."
  10. apprehend
    take into custody
    Arkansas authorites said Sunday that they had apprehended an inmate who had been on the run for more than three decades.
    The story of an Arkansas convict being apprehended after he escaped from prison in 1985 certainly captured people's attention this week. How did authorities catch him? A tip came in after the fugitive visited his mother. You might not necessarily think of an escaped felon as being a good son, but depending on how you look at it, being a good son might just be the reason this guy was caught. Think he'll send a Mother's Day card next year?

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