This Week in Words: February 5 - 9, 2018

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 week saw the triumph of the underdogs. The Philadelphia Eagles finally got the recognition they had sought for so long, as they thwarted the plans of the heavily favored New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII. While it may seem strange to call a billionaire an underdog, Elon Musk's SpaceX has been vigilant in refuting the naysayers who claimed that only governments can conquer space travel. This week, the company successfully launched a rocket into orbit.

Take a look back at the week that was, vocabulary style.

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. thwart
    hinder or prevent, as an effort, plan, or desire
    The win isn’t just the Eagles’ first ever—it also thwarted football’s greatest modern dynasty in New England, which was aiming for its sixth Lombardi Trophy during the reign of coach Bill Belichick and Brady. - The Wall Street Journal (Feb 4, 2018)
    The Philadelphia Eagles won their first Super Bowl ever this week, beating The New England Patriots by a score of 41-33. The game was an offensive battle, with Nick Foles out-throwing Tom Brady to secure the victory.
  2. recognition
    the state or quality of being acknowledged
    “At the same time, this is a recognition for women’s football in general, and it’s amazing to see how much this means to the players and what enormous attention the issue has gained internationally.” - (Feb 4, 2018)
    The players on the men's Norwegian soccer team, who used to get paid more than double what their counterparts on the women's team made, have signed an equal pay agreement. The players on both teams will now make the same amount. The men's team has several lucrative endorsement deals despite the fact that the women's team traditionally does better in international competition. It is believed that this equal pay arrangement is the first of its kind in the world of sports.
  3. vigilant
    carefully observant or attentive
    Jerome H. Powell was formally sworn in Monday as chairman of the Federal Reserve and vowed to remain vigilant about risks to the financial system. - The Los Angeles Times (Feb 5, 2018)
    Jerome Powell became Chairman of the Federal Reserve this week, replacing Janet Yellen. Powell was greeted by one of the most volatile weeks for the stock market in recent memory. Market watchers are wondering if the recent activity is a normal correction or a sign of bad things to come, and what, if anything, Powell's Federal Reserve can do to prevent or lessen a crisis.
  4. refute
    prove to be false or incorrect
    Democrats have been anxious to formally refute the four-page GOP memo, which was written by the committee's Republican staff at the direction of Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., and released Friday after President Trump signed off on it. - USA Today (Feb 5, 2018)
    The saga of the competing memos continued this week with the House of Representatives approving the release of a Democratic memo that is supposed to correct certain inconsistencies in, and impressions left by, the previously released GOP memo. President Trump has not yet agreed to release the Democrat's memo, but he previously hailed the Republican memo as "completely vindicating" him in the matter of the ongoing Russian investigation.
  5. probe
    question or examine thoroughly and closely
    Schiff's committee is probing whether Trump and his associates colluded with Russians who sought to interfere in the 2016 election through cyberattacks and fake news. - USA Today (Feb 5, 2018)
    In the midst of the memos mess, the president has engaged in a war of words with Representative Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. That committee is also looking into possible ties between Russia and the Trump campaign. The president accused Schiff of being "one of the biggest liars and leakers in Washington” and claimed he "must be stopped." Schiff responded by asking the president to "turn off the TV and help solve the funding crisis."
  6. rout
    defeat with dire consequences
    The long-running global stock rally turned into a rout Monday as the Dow Jones Industrial Average posted its largest-ever, single-day point decline and major indexes in the U.S., Europe and Asia gave up their gains for the year. - The Wall Street Journal (Feb 5, 2018)
    The bad news is that the Dow Jones Industrial Average had its largest ever single-day point decline this week. The good news is that because the stock market has grown so much over the past few years, the point drop when compared to the total value of the market isn't that terrible, and doesn't necessarily mean that a crisis is on the way like in 2008 or 1987. After the huge drop early in the week, the market recovered some by midweek, then plunged again on Thursday.
  7. debilitating
    impairing strength and vitality
    Parkinson’s disease is a debilitating neurodegenerative disorder that currently has no objectively approved screening method. - (Feb 4, 2018)
    One of the most important tools in battling a disease is establishing an effective test for that disease. Parkinson's is a disease without a reliable test, but now some progress is being made in that area, in the most unusual of ways. In some preliminary trials, dogs have been able to detect Parkinson's through smelling the clothes of an affected person. The dogs have been over 90% effective in telling the difference between the clothes of Parkinson's patients and those without the disease.
  8. incentive
    a positive motivational influence
    Under those requirements, people in the program already must pay monthly insurance premiums into Personal Wellness and Responsibility (POWER) accounts intended as incentives for them to stay healthy and use cost-effective care - or risk losing eligibility or certain benefits. - The Chicago Tribune (Feb 2, 2018)
    Indiana is now requiring its low-income residents on Medicaid to work in order to receive health benefits. The program is intended to transform Medicaid into a "path out of poverty" by training and teaching poor people the skills necessary to hold a job so they can hopefully one day support themselves without government assistance.
  9. integrity
    moral soundness
    He said that the advertisement was reviewed to ensure it met "standard integrity clearances." - The Chicago Tribune (Feb. 5, 2018)
    One of the controversies to emerge from Super Bowl Sunday was the RAM Truck ad which used a speech by Martin Luther King, Jr. Many felt that the ad was in poor taste and cheapened Dr. King's message. In fact, in another part of the speech, not included in the ad, Dr. King warned against overspending on luxury items, specifically mentioning cars.
  10. libel
    a false and malicious publication
    Polish President Andrzej Duda approved a libel law imposing up to three years in jail for accusing the Polish people of assisting in the Holocaust, overriding the objections of the Auschwitz memorial council, the Israeli government, the U.S. State Department and some Holocaust survivors, all of whom expressed worry it would gag a discussion over how 6 million Jews were murdered during World War II. - The Wall Street Journal (Feb 6, 2018)
    An interesting law was passed this week in Poland. A person can now be prosecuted for libel in that country for saying that the Polish people assisted in the Holocaust. The law is intended to highlight the good works of the Polish people and the Polish government in exile during World War II. The law includes exemptions for academic discussion, but opponents say a law like this, which carries jail time, can only serve to silence debate in a country that needs to remember its past.
  11. plausible
    apparently reasonable and valid, and truthful
    The success gives SpaceX momentum to begin developing even larger rockets, which could help fulfill Mr. Musk’s dream of sending people to Mars... The Falcon Heavy’s maiden flight makes pursuit of the goal more plausible. - The New York Times (Feb 6, 2018)
    Elon Musk's SpaceX successfully launched a rocket into orbit this week. The rocket is carrying a cherry red Tesla convertible, a car produced by Musk's automobile company. Research will be conducted on this flight with the ultimate goals of developing civilian space travel to Mars. Private business ventures into space travel are seen as the wave of the future.
  12. accord
    concurrence of opinion
    The accord between Senators Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, and Chuck Schumer of New York, his Democratic counterpart, would raise strict caps on military and domestic spending that were imposed in 2011 as part of a deal with President Barack Obama that was once seen as a key triumph for Republicans in Congress. - The New York Times (Feb 7, 2018)
    In the wee hours of Friday morning, lawmakers struck a deal that to solve the budget crisis that has been facing Congress in the last few months. The deal increases military and domestic spending over the course of two years. Crucially, this deal separates the budgetary issues from the issue of immigration, which Congress will try to deal with as a stand-alone matter. This budget deal ends the overnight government shutdown that began at midnight and lasted only a few hours.

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