This Week in Words: June 25 - 29, 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.

Take a look back at the week that was, vocabulary style.
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definitions & notes only words
  1. decorum
    propriety in manners and conduct
    For all the angst that evening, Wilkinson said, everything had taken place with decorum. She had been polite; Sanders had been polite; the press secretary’s family had been polite as they followed her out the door. - The Washington Post ( June 23, 2018)
    Sarah Huckabee Sanders and her dining companions were asked to leave a Virginia restaurant this week because of Sanders' role as Press Secretary in the Trump Administration. Although Sanders and her party left quietly that evening, the incident has caused an uproar over the boundaries between political and private life, and whether an establishment has the right to refuse service to someone they have sharp differences with.
  2. stifle
    smother or suppress
    New women come and go. All go.
    The pretty lover who announces
    that she is temporary
    is temporary. The bold woman,
    middle-aged against our old age,
    sinks under an anxiety she cannot withstand.
    Another friend of decades estranges himself
    in words that pollute thirty years.
    Let us stifle under mud at the pond’s edge
    and affirm that it is fitting
    and delicious to lose everything.
    - From "Affirmation" by Donald Hall
    Donald Hall, the former Poet Laureate of the United States, died this week at the age of 89. Hall's poems focused on rural life, but his ability to richly evoke feelings of loneliness and longing made his gift into a universal one.
  3. authoritarian
    characteristic of an absolute ruler or absolute rule
    The election is seen in large measure as a referendum on his rule, with many voters expressing concerns about what they say is his growing authoritarian streak and a struggling economy, which they blame on corruption and mismanagement - The New York Times ( June 24, 2018)
    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was re-elected this week. Due to legislation passed earlier, Erdogan will have greatly expanded powers when he begins his 15th year in office. Critics are worried that Erdogan will abuse his new-found power and become an authoritarian ruler.
  4. vindication
    the justification for some act or belief
    “This ruling is also a moment of profound vindication following months of hysterical commentary from the media and Democratic politicians who refuse to do what it takes to secure our border and our country,” the president said in a statement issued by the White House soon after the decision was announced. - The New York Times ( June 26, 2018)
    The Supreme Court decided that there was nothing unconstitutional about President Trump's travel ban. Lower courts had found the travel ban unconstitutional, so this is a major victory for President Trump.
  5. biodegradable
    capable of being decomposed
    Currently, dirty diapers make up between 3 and 5% of the world’s garbage. Some diapers can take up to 400 years to decompose – and even “ biodegradable” diapers take 50 years to fully degrade. -goodnewsnetwork.org ( June 25, 2018)
    The fact that diapers are not very biodegradable has been a significant environmental problem for years. Taiwanese researchers have invented a machine which cleans and recycles diapers. The material which results can be used in many applications, including the production of new diapers.
  6. practicable
    capable of being done with means at hand
    Mr. Sessions announced the zero-tolerance policy in early April, telling prosecutors on the southwestern border to charge every illegal entry offense “to the extent practicable.” - The New York Times ( June 25, 2018)
    The Trump Administration announced this week that it will no longer be targeting for prosecution those who illegally cross into the country. The administration said that such a policy is a drain on resources that it can no longer afford. Last week, President Trump signed an executive order ending the practice of separating families that seek asylum in the United States. Practicable is a word related to its more common cousin practical.
  7. detrimental
    causing harm or injury
    "The tremendous cost increase, if passed onto its dealers and retail customers, would have an immediate and lasting detrimental impact to its business in the region," the company said. - money.cnn.com ( June 25, 2018)
    Harley-Davidson Motorcycles became the first major company to announce a change in strategy based on the President's tariff policy. The company will move production of some of its motorcycles out of the United States and build them in Europe instead, thereby avoiding the retaliatory tariffs that were levied against the United States.
  8. cajole
    influence or urge by gentle urging, caressing, or flattering
    We have a lot of diplomatic muscle memory for urging, cajoling, negotiating with our partners to reduce their investments to zero,” - L.A. Times ( June 26, 2018)
    The Trump Administration is threatening to sanction any country which uses Iranian oil. China, India, South Korea, Japan, France and Italy are some of the countries that use oil from Iran, and the administration says that it wants the number down to "zero." Punishing Iran and the countries it does business with is part of the policy towards Iran that the Trump Administration began by pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal several months ago.
  9. wanton
    unprovoked or without motive or justification
    The lawsuit calls Boucher's actions "unnecessarily cruel, malicious, willful, wanton" with total disregard for Paul's "rights, life and liberties." - cbsnews.com ( June 26, 2018)
    A few months ago, Senator Rand Paul was attacked on his lawn by a neighbor during a dispute over gardening. Now Paul is suing the neighbor because he has "been deprived of his enjoyment of life."
  10. imperil
    pose a threat to; present a danger to
    A Trump appointee would very likely create a solid five-member conservative majority that could imperil abortion rights and expand gun rights. - The New York Times ( June 27, 2018)
    Supreme Court justice Anthony Kennedy, 81, announced his retirement from the court this week. His retirement will take effect at the end of July. Kennedy has been on the court since 1988, when he was nominated by President Ronald Reagan. Kennedy is viewed as a moderate conservative voice who will most likely be replaced by a more conservative justice.

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