This Week in Words: February 12 - 16, 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 was one where you could sense the beginning of things we will be talking about for a long time. After much deliberation, the president released his budget and infrastructure plans, but opponents are leery of both proposals. Snowboarder Chloe Kim took home her first Olympic Gold in what will likely be a long career full of watershed moments for her and her sport.

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

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. deliberation
    careful consideration
    Trump administration officials have shifted their tactical approach to North Korea after internal deliberations in recent weeks, senior officials said, closing ranks with Seoul and signaling a readiness to hold preliminary talks with Pyongyang. - The Wall Street Journal (Feb. 12, 2018)
    There are signs this week that the icy diplomatic relationship between the United States and North Korea may be thawing out. After months of threats on both sides last year, the Trump administration is said to be considering talks with North Korea to settle their differences and hopefully reduce the likelihood of military intervention in the area.
  2. mitigate
    lessen or to try to lessen the seriousness or extent of
    He said the president would again consider making the memo public if the committee, which had approved its release on Monday, revised it to “ mitigate the risks.” - The New York Times (Feb. 9, 2018)
    There had been a campaign to release a Democratic memo to correct some inaccuracies in the already released Republican memo about the FBI and the Russia investigation. Late last week, the president said that he would not release the Democratic response memo unless there were significant changes made to it. President Trump cited national security concerns as the reason for not releasing the Democratic memo.
  3. presage
    a foreboding about what is about to happen
    But his margin of victory over Mr. Zuma’s chosen successor was slim, indicating the deep party split and presaging the difficulties he would face in pressing Mr. Zuma to step down as the nation’s leader before his term expires in mid-2019. - The New York Times (Feb. 13, 2018)
    The African National Congress, the ruling party in South Africa, has asked the President, Jacob Zuma, to step down before his term is up. The ANC is worried about how continued corruption in the Zuma administration will effect the perception of the party and their candidate for 2019, Cyril Ramaphosa. Late Wednesday, President Zuma agreed to resign immediately, and on Thursday Ramaphosa was sworn in as president of South Africa.
  4. sequester
    set apart from others
    The congressional budget deal that lifted spending caps known as the " sequester" that Congress imposed in 2011 seems to already be making a difference. Both defense and non-defense spending would see a boost in Trump's proposal, though the president is not proposing to spend as much as the caps allow because of the increase to the national debt. - USA Today (Feb. 12, 2018)
    President Trump unveiled his $4.4 Trillion dollar budget proposal this week. Among the highlights of the proposal are building a border wall with Mexico and $1.5 Trillion dollars allocated to infrastructure improvements like new roads and bridges. To sequester something means to set it aside and not touch it. In this case reaching certain spending limits had triggered a sequester in an effort to control spending, but now that sequester has been removed.
  5. insulate
    place or set apart
    Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. has made a takeover approach to drug distributor AmerisourceBergen Corp. a move that could help boost profitability at the drugstore giant and insulate it against external threats in an increasingly competitive health-care landscape. - The Wall Street Journal (Feb. 12, 2018)
    Walgreen's pharmacy is in early discussion to buy Amerisource Corporation, a company that distributes pharmaceuticals. This transaction would be an example of vertical integration, wherein a company buys another company that supplies them with goods, "cutting out the middle man" (by buying him up) and expanding profit margin. Like sequester this definition of insulate means to keep separate and to protect from interference or harm.
  6. leery
    openly distrustful and unwilling to confide
    Mr. Trump could face resistance from Republicans leery of adding to the deficit, as well as moderate Republicans and Democrats who successfully blocked his proposals for deep cuts in transportation and infrastructure grant programs when he introduced in his first budget proposal last year. - The Wall Street Journal (Feb. 12, 2018)
    President Trump is facing some resistance to his proposed infrastructure plan, which was released as part of his budget this week. Opponents of the plan are concerned about where the money will be coming from. In addition, the federal government already made promises to fund projects that this new plan leaves up in the air. The infrastructure plan places the burden back on state and local officials to finance improvements, but there is a federal fund for assistance on specific projects.
  7. nascent
    being born or beginning Inc. is pushing to turn its nascent medical-supplies business into a major supplier to U.S. hospitals and outpatient clinics that could compete with incumbent distributors of items from gauze to hip implants. - The Wall Street Journal (Feb. 13, 2018)
    In the second bit of potentially big health care news this week, Amazon is expanding the medical supply side of its business. Under the proposed system, hospitals and care facilities would order their medical supplies on Amazon, instead of signing contracts with suppliers, which is the way much of this business is carried out now. Amazon has been expanding its reach beyond books, electronics and home goods recently, breaking into the food business by buying Whole Foods last year.
  8. erroneous
    containing or characterized by mistakes
    The committee said it's continuing to study the data, but noted that " erroneous data on the pilots' speed indicators may have been a factor that triggered the special flight situation." - Chicago Tribune (Feb. 13, 2018)
    A plane crash in Russia killed 71 people. Human error is being blamed for the crash. Apparently, the pilots did not turn on the separate system which warms up the aviation instruments in cold weather. The instruments were then too cold to function properly, gave faulty readings, and the result was a crash.
  9. watershed
    an event marking an important historical change of course
    Tuesday at Phoenix Snow Park was more than just a contest, it was a watershed moment in women's snowboarding. - L. A. Times ( Feb. 12, 2018)
    Seventeen-year-old Chloe Kim won a gold medal this week in half pipe, a snowboarding event, at the Olympics in South Korea. Kim has been a phenomenon in snowboarding for years. In fact, she qualified for the last Olympics in her sport but was too young to compete. A watershed moment is one where you can feel a change taking place , the point after which nothing will ever be the same again.
  10. regenerate
    form or produce anew
    However, stem cells have the ability to regenerate and repair tissue, Zuo said. - (Feb. 13, 2018)
    Stem cell research has been the source of controversy and hope for years. Now, scientists in China have successfully turned stem cell tissue into healthy lung tissue. The scientists have regenerated new lung tissue where there was only damaged lung tissue before, giving a patient a part of healthy organ without the risk of a transplant. This procedure promises to help many people and to prove the scientific effectiveness of procedures that use stem cells.
  11. frantic
    excessively agitated; distraught with violent emotion
    As word of the shooting spread, Ms. Udine took call after call from parents desperate for information about their children, she said, adding, “Everybody was frantic. No one knew what was going on.” - The Wall Street Journal (Feb. 14, 2018)
    There was a shooting at a school in Parkland, Florida on Wednesday afternoon. Seventeen people were killed. The shooter, who is in police custody, was identified as a nineteen-year-old former student at the school who had been expelled for disciplinary reasons. The shooter now faces seventeen counts of murder.

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