This Week in Words: October 28 - November 3, 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. The various events of this week are a study in the contrast of fast and slow. The lives of eight people were taken in an instant in a heinous terrorist attack in New York City. After several slow months of investigation and rumor, the first indictments were handed down surrounding Russian interference in the presidential election. Faster than you can say “Twitter," the president was asserting in robust language that there was no collusion between his campaign and Russia to rig the election. Recovery from catastrophes like the recent hurricanes is usually incremental, but apparently with enough solar panels, an electrical grid can be restored rather quickly. Deciding on the exact nature of the exemptions allowed in the new tax plan is going to take Congress a very long time, but a Mississippi school board rapidly reversed its decision to ban To Kill a Mockingbird. Take a look back at the week that was, vocabulary style.

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. indictment
    a formal document charging a person with some offense
    The firm, the Podesta Group, was hired to do lobbying work on behalf of Ukraine, work that is at the heart of Mr. Manafort’s indictment. - The New York Times ( October 30, 2017)
    Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller handed down the first of what is expected to be several rounds of indictments this week. The most severe indictment issued was for Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman. Manafort has been charged with conspiracy against the United States and money laundering, among other crimes, and he will be questioned about his ties to Russian officials.
  2. collusion
    secret agreement
    Shortly after his former campaign chairman marched into an F.B.I. office to face criminal charges on Monday, President Trump took to Twitter to dismiss their relevance: “There is NO COLLUSION!” - The New York Times (October 30, 2017)
    President Trump’s reaction to the Manafort indictment was to assert that Manafort wasn’t representing the Trump campaign. Trump’s critics find the claim that this is all coincidental hard to swallow, while his defenders are waiting for what they regard as hard proof of collusion.
  3. asylum
    a shelter from danger or hardship
    The deposed leader of Catalonia said on Tuesday that he had traveled to Brussels to guarantee a fair trial for himself and other separatists who declared independence from Spain last week, but that they were not seeking asylum. - The New York Times (October 31, 2017)
    Spain took action late last week to quiet the secession movement in Catalonia when the central government deposed the leader of Catalonia's regional government. Carles Puigdemont, the Catalonian leader, went to Brussels and rumors quickly flew that he left Spain to seek asylum from prosecution.
  4. grid
    a system of cables by which electrical power is distributed
    Earlier this month, Tesla CEO Elon Musk reached out to Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Rosselló on Twitter about rebuilding the island’s electrical grid using a solar-powered energy system. - (October 28, 2017)
    There is some very encouraging news from the still-suffering island of Puerto Rico. A project using solar cells by the Tesla company has restored power to a significant section of the island, including a children’s hospital.
  5. incremental
    increasing gradually by regular degrees or additions
    Still, the decision, announced on Sunday, marks another incremental step toward greater women's rights in the kingdom. - The New York Times ( October 30, 2017)
    Saudi Arabia announced this week that it will begin allowing women to attend events held in stadiums. The country has strictly enforced gender separation in the past, and has a poor record on women’s rights. Earlier this year, Saudi Arabia revealed that it will let women drive unaccompanied starting next year. These changes indicate that the country's stance on gender equality is evolving.
  6. implore
    call upon in supplication
    They recalled their experiences reading the book in eighth grade at Tenafly and implored Biloxi to immediately put it back in the classroom for this school year. - (October 25, 2017)
    In a reversal of a previous decision, the Biloxi, Mississippi School Board decided to allow students to read Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird. Parents had complained about language in the story and the school board had banned the novel, which sparked a public outcry. The Biloxi School District has now restored the book as an option for eighth-graders.
  7. robust
    strong enough to withstand intellectual challenges
    “The prospect of Silicon Valley companies actively censoring speech, or the news content, is troubling to anyone who cares about a democratic process with a robust first amendment,” Mr. Cruz said. - The New York Times (October 31, 2017)
    Representatives from Twitter, Facebook and Google appeared before Congress this week to defend their ad policy, which has come under fire for enabling the foreign influence of American elections. The difficulty lies in striking a balance between weeding out this kind of activity and protecting freedom of speech.
  8. sanguine
    confidently optimistic and cheerful
    Among those less sanguine about the bill are small businesses, who said the bill does not go far enough to help them reduce their tax burden. - The New York Times ( November 2, 2017)
    The Republican Tax Plan was finally released this week. As all politicians do, the president made many promises about what the plan would offer. Will the promises be kept? Is there a way to deliver tax cuts without increasing the deficit? It may not sound like the most riveting topic, but economists live for this stuff. They’re a wild-'n-crazy bunch! Seriously, sweeping changes to the tax code affect us all, so it's not a bad idea to pay attention to this issue.
  9. deranged
    driven insane
    In NYC, looks like another attack by a very sick and deranged person,” the president tweeted. “Law enforcement is following this closely. NOT IN THE U.S.A.!” - ( October 31, 2017)
    Eight people were killed in what authorities are calling a terrorist attack in lower Manhattan on Tuesday. A man in a truck plowed into pedestrians and people on bikes. President Trump’s tweet uses a sense of the word deranged that is common today, where it means “insane”or “crazed,” without the added connotation of haven been transformed or “driven” to insane acts.
  10. ascent
    a movement upward
    Built on the skills of homegrown All-Stars Carlos Correa, Dallas Keuchel and more, and boosted by a late-season trade for Detroit Tigers ace starter Justin Verlander, general manager Jeff Luhnow completed the ascent that some predicted. - (November 2, 2017)
    The Houston Astros defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers to win the World Series in game seven on Wednesday night. It is the Astros’ first championship in the history of the franchise which has been in existence for more than 50 years. The city of Houston, severely affected by the recent hurricane season, was buoyed by the Astros' thrilling victory.
  11. heinous
    extremely wicked, deeply criminal
    This is a very heinous act,” Mr. Avila said. “It was certainly a terrible act.” - The New York Times (November 1, 2017)
    A gunman opened fire in a Colorado Walmart on Wednesday. Two people died instantly at the scene, and one was pronounced dead later at the hospital. The suspect is in custody, but no motive is known at this time.
  12. steward
    someone who manages property or affairs for someone else
    I am confident that with Jay as a wise steward of the Federal Reserve, it will have the leadership it needs in the years to come.” - The New York Times (November 2, 2017)
    President Trump announced that Jerome Powell will become the new Chairman of the Federal Reserve, the nation's bank, this week. The Federal Reserve sets monetary policy for the country and is in charge of setting interest rates. Powell replaces Janet Yellen, the first woman to hold the position. Yellen will have served eight years, which is considered a brief term for a the position.

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