This Week in Words: September 17 - 24, 2017

No time to scour the headlines or watch the news? No problem! We’ve rounded up the top words heard, read, debated, and discussed this week. This was a week of bold moves. Whether you agree with him or not, President Trump gave an audacious speech at the U.N. General Assembly, taking the initiative to emphatically point an accusatory finger at countries like North Korea and Iran. Whether his words will exacerbate tensions and further imperil our relationships with these countries remains to be seen. Football player J.J. Watt was also bold in his charity work, obliterating bureaucratic red tape and raising over $37 million dollars for hurricane victims. Less successful, but just as bold, was the release of the audacious film "Mother!" Also exhibiting initiative was the state of Rhode Island, which decided not to wait for Congress to act to save the "Dreamers" and resolved to pay all the registration fees for the affected immigrants out of state funds. Take a look back at the week that was, vocabulary style.
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definitions & notes only words
  1. bureaucratic
    of or relating to unnecessary procedures and red tape
    In a meeting with counterparts from around the world, Mr. Trump said the United Nations had grown too bureaucratic and ineffective and should reorient its approach. - The New York Times (September 18, 2017)
    President Trump was in New York this week, at the meeting of the United Nations General Assembly. In brief remarks the day before his official address, Mr. Trump criticized the United Nations itself as bloated and not efficient or effective.
  2. obliterate
    remove completely from recognition or memory
    Just when the effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act appeared to be dead, a last-ditch push to obliterate the law could be nearing a showdown vote in the Senate, and a handful of Republicans insist they are closing in on the votes. - The New York Times (September 18, 2017)
    Republicans in Congress have put together another bill to repeal "Obamacare," as it is known. Some senators, like Rand Paul of Kentucky, have already stated they will not support the bill. A big factor working against this new bill is time — the Office of Management and Budget, which evaluates the plan in terms of cost and people affected, will not have time to "score" the bill prior to the scheduled vote and Senators will therefore not have a clear sense of what they are voting on.
  3. resonate
    evoke or suggest a strong meaning or belief
    A wide range of shows telling honest stories about a wide variety of people won Emmys on Sunday night, showing that diversity not only works but resonates. - businessinsider.com (September 18, 2017)
    The Emmy Awards for excellence in television were presented on Sunday night. The annual event continued its recent trend of awarding diversity in the art form, and thereby awarded many "firsts." This year marked the first win by an African American woman for writing on a sitcom, Lena Waithe, for the show "Atlanta."
  4. audacious
    disposed to venture or take risks
    “It’s big, bold and audacious. We always knew it wouldn’t be for everybody.” - The New York Times (September 17, 2017)
    "It" was number one at the box office again this week, but that wasn't the big box office story. The buzz this week was the poor performance of "Mother!" starring Jennifer Lawrence. It earned less than $10 million dollars, and when people leaving the theater were asked what they thought of the film, it scored a grade of "F" in the polling. Since 1986, only 18 other movies have received that grade.
  5. emphatically
    without question and beyond doubt
    When times are the toughest, humanity stands at its strongest and you have all helped to prove that emphatically. - goodnewsnetwork.org (September 16, 2017)
    Houston Texans defensive star J.J. Watt had a goal. He wanted to raise $200,000 for Hurricane Harvey relief for Texas and the surrounding area. Watt's charity has succeeded beyond anyone's wildest dreams, and so far the organization has raised $37.1 million dollars. This generosity is a true testament to the good spirit of people across the country who respond in times of crisis.
  6. dissolution
    the termination or disintegration of a relationship
    Now Ward is back with Sing, Unburied, Sing. Again, she tells a tragic story about an African American family challenged with dissolution, but the threats here are more complex and even more tenacious than Katrina. - philly.com (September 17, 2017)
    The National Book Award nominees were announced this week. One of the serious contenders this year is Jesmyn Ward's Sing, Unburied, Sing. The final nominees will be announced on October 4th and the winners will be revealed on November 15th.
  7. initiative
    the first of a series of actions
    "I'm proud to announce an initiative to pay DACA renewal fees for every Rhode Island DREAMer who is eligible to apply for renewal by Oct. 5," - thehill.com (September 18, 2017)
    The fallout from the movement to repeal DACA continued this week. With DACA no longer in place, the children of illegal immigrants have to pay a registration fee by a certain date. The state of Rhode Island announced that it is not waiting for a congressional plan; it will pay that fee for all of Rhode Island's "Dreamers." Rhode Island currently has about 3,000 people who were covered by DACA and are therefore eligible for this new program.
  8. exacerbate
    make worse
    But the financial plight of Toys“R”Us was exacerbated by a heavy debt load that has weighed on the company for years. - The New York Times (September 19, 2017)
    That paradise of play, that fantasyland of fun, Toys"R"Us, has filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The store has been greatly impacted by the online sales of other retailers. It is unclear whether the chain will have to close some stores nationwide as a result of this financial trouble, but a huge giraffe mascot named Geoffrey may soon be out of a job.
  9. imperil
    pose a threat to; present a danger to
    It is an outrage that some nations would not only trade with such a regime, but would arm, supply and financially support a country that imperils the world. - The New York Times ( September 19, 2017)
    President Trump addressed the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday. On the topic of North Korea, the president threatened to "totally destroy" that country, referred to its leader Kim Jong-un as "Rocket Man," and questioned the ethics of countries that trade with North Korea on the first place.
  10. guise
    an artful or simulated semblance
    The Iranian government masks a corrupt dictatorship behind the false guise of a democracy. - The New York Times (September 19, 2017)
    President Trump regards the deal that the Obama administration made with Iran as a terrible step backward in dealing with that country. He does not trust any of the promises Iran made in that deal to curb its nuclear weapons program. This is one of the reasons he suggested in his speech to the U.N. General Assembly that Iran hides behind a "false guise." He feels that the country's representatives will say one thing and turn around and do the opposite.
  11. epicenter
    a point on the Earth's surface directly above an earthquake
    Its epicenter was in the state of Puebla, about 80 miles southeast of the capital, Mexico City. - nbc news.com (September 19, 2017)
    Another earthquake hit Mexico this week, measuring 7.1 on the Richter scale. This earthquake comes less than two weeks after an 8.1 earthquake hit that country and killed one hundred people. Although this week's quake was less severe in magnitude, its epicenter was closer to the densely populated metropolis of Mexico City.
  12. echelon
    level of authority in a hierarchy
    "Hurricane Maria is really scraping the upper echelon of what's possible with hurricanes, (with) 175 mph sustained winds right around the center of the storm," Van Dam said Tuesday. - cnn.com (September 20, 2017)
    Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico this week. This hurricane season has been terrible for the Caribbean islands, and Maria only made things worse. 155 mile-per-hour winds and flash flooding destroyed much of Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory. At last report the entire island was without power.
  13. dotard
    someone whose age has impaired his or her intellect
    That Mr. Kim would call Mr. Trump a “mentally deranged U.S. dotard” on Friday was something more of a surprise.New York Times (Sep 22, 2017)
    On Friday, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un delivered a biting comeback to Trump's "Rocket Man" insult that has brought a lot of attention to this little-know word.

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