This Week in Words: April 1 - 6, 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 proved that Isaac Newton's Third Law of Motion (for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction) applies to everyday life. China slapped tariffs on U.S. pork, fruit and other exports to retaliate against tariffs the U.S. recently imposed on Chinese goods. Experts fear this could expedite a trade war between the two countries. In what some see as a reaction to the unfavorable opinions held by many judges on Trump's immigration policy, the Justice Department set new quotas for immigration judges to meet. Are these unprecedented quotas a sign that the administration holds a grudge, or just a natural response as dictated by Newton's law?

Take a look back at the week that was, vocabulary style.
definitions & notes only words
  1. retaliate
    make a counterattack and return like for like
    China imposed tariffs on a range of U.S. goods, following through on a promise to retaliate against the Trump administration’s penalties on imports of Chinese steel and aluminum. - The Wall Street Journal (Apr. 1, 2018)
    After President Trump enacted tariffs on Chinese steel and aluminum, the Chinese responded with tariffs of their own this week. Among the goods affected by these extra fees are pork and fruit. Analysts worry that this could set the stage for a full-scale trade war between China and the U.S.
  2. fickle
    liable to sudden unpredictable change
    Whatever his intention, Mr. Trump’s Twitter outburst captured the fickle tendencies that have driven his policy positions on immigration. - The New York Times ( Apr. 1, 2018)
    President Trump stepped up his attacks on illegal immigration this week on Twitter, as he seemed to call off any potential deal on DACA and reiterated his promise of a border wall with Mexico. Later in the week he called for sending the National Guard to patrol the Mexican border while the wall is built, to address the problem "militarily."
  3. composure
    steadiness of mind under stress
    Notre Dame regained its composure offensively and went on a 16-1 run over the final six minutes of the third quarter to tie the game 41-41 heading into the fourth. - USA Today (Apr. 1, 2018)
    Notre Dame beat Mississippi State this week on a last-second shot to win the Women's NCAA Basketball Championship. It was Arike Ogunbowale's second amazing game-winning shot in a few days, as similar heroics led her team to beat perennial powerhouse UConn earlier in the tournament. This is the Notre Dame women's first championship since 2001.
  4. imminent
    close in time; about to occur
    Astronomers say the imminent arrival of new, more powerful telescopes like the James Webb Space Telescope will make it possible to study the evolution of the earliest stars in greater detail than ever expected. - USA Today (Apr. 2, 2018)
    Astronomers announced this week that they had located a star nine billion light years away from Earth. That is the farthest away an individual star has ever been detected. It is usually impossible to see individual stars at this distance but a naturally occurring phenomenon called gravitational lensing, wherein the gravity of galaxies bends the light from the star, and the power of the Hubble Telescope, made detection possible.
  5. unprecedented
    novel; having no earlier occurrence
    “Every patient with a TRK fusion-positive solid tumor treated on this study had their tumor shrink. The nearly universal response rate seen with larotrectinib is unprecedented,” Dr. Laetsch said. - ( Apr. 2, 2018)
    There is now hope of a treatment for a type of gene fusion found in many pediatric cancers. Larotrectinib interferes with the gene fusions which cause many different types of cancer in young people and has been shown so far to be 93% effective. Because it deals with a mechanism of cancer expression and growth and not the specifics of an individual disease, the medicine can be widely used for many different kinds of cancer.
  6. sham
    something that is a counterfeit; not what it seems to be
    The president drew bipartisan criticism for his call, both because he congratulated Putin after an election widely seen as a sham and because he didn’t mention either a recent nerve-agent attack in England blamed on Russia or its interference in the 2016 U.S. election campaign. - St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Apr. 2, 2018)
    Russia announced this week that President Trump had invited Vladimir Putin to the White House for a summit. The president said the invitation was made during a phone call placed to Putin to congratulate him on his recent Presidential victory. Many observers see that victory as phony, a sham, because Putin was running essentially unopposed. The White House later downplayed talk of any invitation.
  7. expedite
    speed up the progress of; facilitate
    The new quotas for judges to meet—laid out in a memo sent Friday to immigration judges—follow other directives by the department to expedite handling of cases. - The Wall Street Journal (Apr. 2, 2018)
    The Trump administration's overhaul of the immigration system continued this week with the Justice Department providing new guidelines for judges hearing immigration cases. Essentially, a quota system has been set up concerning how many cases a judge must hear in a given year. Critics of the plan contend that this interferes with the judges' ability to do their job, while supporters claim that speeding the process gets potentially dangerous illegal immigrants out of the country sooner.
  8. juggernaut
    a massive inexorable force
    Juggernauts are not supposed to look like this, without a superstar, a catchy nickname, a lineup of future N.B.A. All-Stars or the air of intimidation that is palpable even in layup lines. - The New York Times (Apr. 3, 2018)
    Villanova beat Michigan this week to win the Men's NCAA basketball tournament. Villanova was a dominating force in all of its games in the tournament, finding different ways to beat their opponent each time. This championship marks Villanova's second in three years and solidifies their status as a powerhouse basketball program.
  9. eschew
    avoid and stay away from deliberately
    To flip itself public, Spotify executed a rare move called a direct listing, eschewing investment-banking underwriters and opting not to raise any money for itself. - The Wall Street Journal (Apr. 3, 2018)
    The world's most popular streaming music service, Spotify, has gone public and shares are now available for purchase on the New York Stock Exchange. Spotify has about 70 million paid subscribers worldwide and is currently valued at a little over $26.5 Billion dollars.
  10. intersect
    meet or cross at a point; overlap
    The criminal case against van der Zwaan is not directly related to Russian election interference, the main focus of Mueller's probe. But it has revealed new details about the government's case against Manafort and opened a window into the intersecting universes of international law, foreign consulting work and politics. -The Chicago Tribune (Apr 3, 2018) .
    The first jail sentence has been handed down in the Mueller investigation surrounding Russian interference in the 2016 election. One of the people being investigated is Paul Manafort, a former Trump advisor. Alex van der Zwaan, who was questioned in regards to Manafort, has been sentence to 30 days in jail and fined $20,000 for lying to investigators under oath. Both supporters and critics of the Mueller probe have noted that this event highlights the investigation's long reach.
  11. grudge
    a resentment strong enough to justify retaliation
    While Ms. Aghdam appeared to have a long-running grudge against the company, the Police Department said that it did not appear that she knew any of the three shooting victims. - The New York Times (Apr. 4, 2018)
    Nasim Najafi Aghdam opened fire on the YouTube campus in California on Tuesday. Aghdam injured three people before killing herself. It seems that Aghdam was upset about what she perceived as censorship of her YouTube channel and practices by YouTube that she believes cheated her out of advertising revenue.

Sign up, it's free!

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