This Week in Words: October 1 - 6, 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. Tragedy topped the headlines this week, with the mass shooting in Las Vegas leaving the nation in a state of shock and grief. At horrible times like these, especially after watching a barrage of images on the news, people look for solace wherever they can find it. Some turned to an enigmatic internet distraction named Ramona, while others reveled in the music of Tom Petty, who died this week. Take a look back at the week that was, vocabulary style.

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. bemoan
    regret strongly
    Speaking less than an hour before the resignation was announced, Trump bemoaned the optics of the matter, which he said obscured what otherwise had been a cost-saving tenure. – (Sep 29, 2017)
    Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price resigned after being caught in a scandal involving his excessive use of a private plane. Because taxpayers foot the bill for such travel, Price apologized and said he would pay back some of the money, but none of his offers seemed to fly. Price resigned so as not to be “a distraction” to the administration.
  2. barrage
    the heavy fire of artillery to saturate an area
    A gunman at a Las Vegas hotel rained a rapid-fire barrage on a huge outdoor concert festival on Sunday night, sending thousands of people fleeing. – The New York Times (Oct 2, 2017)
    Tragedy struck at a country music festival in Las Vegas when a heavily-armed gunman opened fire into a crowd of concertgoers. 58 people were killed, and more than 500 were injured in the deadliest mass shooting in the history of the United States.
  3. solace
    comfort in disappointment or misery
    But we can take solace knowing that even the darkest space can be brightened by a single light and even the most terrible despair can be illuminated by a single ray of hope. – The New York Times (Oct 2, 2017)
    These words are from President Trump’s address to the nation after the Las Vegas shooting.
  4. contraption
    a device or control that is very useful for a particular job
    It took nearly a century to confirm these distortions exist, a feat that required huge contraptions in two locations to detect an ultra tiny ripple in fabric of space. – The Washington Post (Oct 3, 2017)
    Three scientists at American universities won the Nobel Prize for Physics this week. The prize was awarded to Kip Thorne, Rainer Weiss and Barry Barish for their work confirming the existence of gravitational waves. Gravitational waves were predicted by the work of Albert Einstein, but only now does the scientific community have concrete data to confirm their existence.
  5. revel
    take delight in
    Somewhere, somehow, somebody must have kicked you around some
    Tell me why you want to lay there, revel in your abandon
    - Refugee, by Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers
    Rocker Tom Petty died on October 2, 2017 at the age of 66. With his band The Heartbreakers, Petty found success with a sound that was at once modern and classic. Songs like "Refugee" and "Free Fallin'" are among his many unforgettable hits. Petty’s career spanned five decades, and he continued to find ways to put a new spin on the tried-and-true rock and roll formula of straightforward lyrics and great guitar riffs.
  6. unprecedented
    novel; having no earlier occurrence
    Ohio State University announced an unprecedented offer to make tuition affordable for all Ohio students. – (Oct 2, 2017)
    Ohio State University announced this week that, beginning next year, the institution will fill in any financial aid gaps for state residents so that middle and low income students won't be prevented from attending due to an inability to pay tuition and fees. The cost of a college education became an issue during the 2016 Democratic primary, and while a few schools have started to experiment with solutions, Ohio State’s program is the largest to date.
  7. ingrate
    a person who shows no gratitude
    Trump came face to face Tuesday with the “politically motivated ingrates” he slammed on Twitter just days before, landing in Puerto Rico after spending much of the past week boasting about a wildly successful response effort that hasn’t matched the reality of the hurricane-ravaged island — and after picking a fight over the weekend with the San Juan mayor. – (Oct 3, 2017)
    President Trump traveled to Puerto Rico this week as the island continues to recover from Hurricane Maria. Prior to the president’s arrival, he criticized Puerto Rico in general and the mayor of San Juan in particular, and the mood of the visit was tense at times. President Trump handed out paper towels and other supplies to a crowd gathered in a church and met with several local officials. He congratulated these officials on the relatively low death toll.
  8. entourage
    the group following and attending to some important person
    But he and his entourage have a reputation of trashing his rental homes and then being difficult where it comes to paying for the repairs. – (Oct 2, 2017)
    Justin Bieber was in the news again this week. He wants to rent a home in Beverly Hills, but he and his entourage have such a bad reputation that no one will rent to him, so the poor guy is stuck living in a luxury hotel. These are the consequences of living a rock star lifestyle and refusing to pay for the damage when you destroy other people's stuff.
  9. acquiesce
    agree or express agreement
    Ramona gets a hug: Acquiesces momentarily, squirms to be put down. –
    An NPR staffer’s personal blog was accidentally posted on the station’s site for all to see this week. The blog was full of cuteness but short on details and left many wondering, is Ramona a cat? Thousands of people took comfort in these anecdotes during a tough week until the mistake was caught and the blog removed. Public outcry was so great that the staffer felt compelled to give a "Ramona update" the next day. Ramona was, in fact, a human baby.
  10. derail
    cause to run off the tracks
    But the deal was nearly derailed by the disclosure of the breaches and $350 million was cut from Verizon’s original offer for the internet company. – The New York Times (Oct 3, 2017)
    Weeks after the revelation of the Equifax breach comes startling new revelations about a previous breach at another huge company entrusted with sensitive personal data. We now know that in the Yahoo! breach of 2013, everyone who had a Yahoo! account was at risk of having their personal information stolen. That amounts to 3 billion accounts. These revelations have come to light now because they affected the sale price of Yahoo to Verizon and nearly derailed the deal altogether.
  11. subversion
    the act of overthrowing or destroying, as a government
    The English novelist Kazuo Ishiguro, known for his spare yet emotionally resonate prose style and his inventive subversion of literary genres, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature on Thursday. – The New York Times (Oct 5, 2017)
    Kazuo Ishiguro was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature this week, one year after the man he calls his hero, Bob Dylan, won the same award. Ishiguro is the author of such novels as The Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go. His work combines a classical English sensibility with a modern, and sometimes futuristic, perspective.

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