Ten Words from Today's NY Times - Jan. 2, 2013

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. fiscal
    involving financial matters
    Ending a climactic fiscal showdown in the final hours of the 112th Congress, the House late Tuesday passed and sent to President Obama legislation to avert big income tax increases on most Americans and prevent large cuts in spending for the Pentagon and other government programs.
  2. culmination
    a concluding action
    In approving the measure after days of legislative intrigue, Congress concluded its final and most pitched fight over fiscal policy, the culmination of two years of battles over taxes, the federal debt, spending and what to do to slow the growth in popular social programs like Medicare.
  3. nominal
    existing in name only
    Democrats, while hardly placated by the compromise, celebrated Mr. Obama’s nominal victory in his final showdown with House Republicans in the 112th Congress, who began their term emboldened by scores of new, conservative members whose reach to the right ultimately tipped them over.
  4. fulminate
    criticize severely
    In that showdown, Senate Democrats and Republicans passed legislation, and while House Republicans fulminated, they were eventually forced to swallow it.
  5. matriarchy
    social organization in which a female is the family head
    When they are all sworn into office on Thursday, New Hampshire will become the first state in the nation’s history to send an all-female delegation to Washington. And the matriarchy does not end there.
  6. bolster
    support and strengthen
    While New Hampshire is doing more than its share of bolstering the number of women on Capitol Hill, six states — Alaska, Delaware, Iowa, Mississippi, North Dakota and Vermont — have never elected a woman to the House.
  7. happenstance
    an accidental event that seems to have been arranged
    Although the women in New Hampshire are serving all at once by happenstance, women have long held prominent positions in New Hampshire government.
  8. scythe
    cut with an edge tool for cutting grass
    He watched in dismay as Latvia’s misery deepened under a harsh austerity drive that scythed wages, jobs and state financing for schools and hospitals.
  9. orthodox
    adhering to what is commonly accepted
    Now its abrupt turn for the better has put a spotlight on a ticklish question for those who look to orthodox economics for a solution to Europe’s wider economic woes: Instead of obeying any universal laws of economic gravity, do different people respond differently to the same forces?
  10. compatriot
    a person from your own country
    Daniels Pavluts, Latvia’s economics minister, recently visited Dublin and London and met with émigré associations to encourage his compatriots to come home.

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.