This Week in Words: July 21 - 27, 2018

News flash! 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.
Read more...

Start learning with an activity...

  • Practice

    Answer a few questions on each word. Get one wrong? We'll ask some follow-up questions. Use it to prep for your next quiz!
  • Spelling Bee

    Test your spelling acumen. See the definition, listen to the word, then try to spell it correctly. Beat your last streak, or best your overall time. Spellers of the world, untie!
  • Vocabulary Jam

    Compete head-to-head in real-time to see which team can answer the most questions correctly. Start a Jam and invite your friends and classmates to join!

Explore the Words

definitions & notes only words
  1. demented
    affected with madness or insanity
    "WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!," Trump wrote in his latest verbal barrage against Iran. - USA Today ( July 23, 2018)
    The war of words between the United States and Iran has escalated. On the eve of new sanctions against Iran, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani tweeted that war with Iran "is the mother of all wars." In response President Trump fired off a tweet that warned Rouhani to "NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN." Critics speculate that the President is ratcheting up the rhetoric with Iran to distract from from other issues, while supporters see a strong leader who will not be bullied.
  2. prosthetic
    of or relating to artificial body parts
    Chris and Laura are the founders of the Million Waves Project, a charity that recycles ocean plastic into 3D-printed prosthetic limbs for needy people around the world. - goodnewsnetwork.org ( July 21, 2018)
    A couple with no experience, just determination and drive to help others, have begun a charity which recycles plastic and turns it into prosthetic limbs. With just a supply of plastic from the ocean and a 3-D printer, Laura and Chris Moriarty have already created 18 limbs for people in dire need. The limbs cost about $45 dollars each to produce, and the Moriartys depend on donations to cover their costs.
  3. leverage
    strategic advantage; power to act effectively
    U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III has questioned Mueller’s probe and said Manafort’s indictment appeared aimed at leveraging him to provide information on Trump. - cnbc.com ( July 23, 2018)
    Paul Manafort, Donald Trump's former campaign manager, was in court this week on charges unrelated to the Mueller probe into Russia's involvement in the 2016 election. Manafort sought a delay to the start of his trial for bank fraud, which was granted. The threat of bank fraud charges could be used as leverage against Manafort, and the judge in the case openly questioned whether Manafort was indicted to ensure his cooperation in the Russia investigation.
  4. anecdotal
    based on stories rather than data or scientific observation
    Though Indian teachers only have anecdotal evidence of the course’s success since its recent implementation, a similar US-based meditation program has experienced dramatic success amongst at-risk students. - goodnewsnetwork.org ( July 25, 2018)
    There’s a new class being offered in schools in parts of India — How To Be Happy. Educators noticed that the notoriously difficult Indian curriculum was stressing out their students, and have started a class which involves coping techniques such as meditation as relaxation exercises. What we want to know is if you don't get an "A" in How To Be Happy class, will it bring your GPA down?
  5. raze
    tear down so as to make flat with the ground
    But it still remained unclear whether North Korea planned to raze the entire Sohae site in the country’s northeast, which has been vital to its space program. - The New York Times ( July 23, 2018)
    This week brought the first visual evidence of North Korea dismantling a facility with the capability of producing nuclear weapons. Satellite photos show that the North Koreans have been taking apart a missile engine test site, which is one of the things they promised to do at Kim Jong-Un's summit with President Trump in Singapore in June.
  6. abject
    of the most contemptible kind
    Saying that the Executive Order is an end to family separation is a cynical misrepresentation that has nothing to do with the well-being of families and is another act of abject cruelty towards immigrant children." - USA Today ( July 24, 2018)
    More than 450 immigrant parents have been returned to their country of origin while their children remain in the United States. The reasons vary and the cases are under review, but this development is a major obstacle to the goal of reuniting all the families that were separated upon entry. Critics say that the Executive Order that mandated reunification is not enough, that the administration must follow through in the effort to bring these families back together.
  7. turmoil
    a violent disturbance
    The administration’s proposal will rely on commodity support programs as well as the Agriculture Department’s authority to stabilize farmers during times of turmoil, according to Politico. - USA Today ( July 24, 2018)
    Farmers affected by the U.S. tariff war with China will be getting some assistance from the government. President Trump has pleaded for patience, and promised that ultimately farmers will benefit from a victory in the trade war. Until then however, farmers who raise produce certain commodities, like soybeans and pork, will be getting $12 billion dollars in aid. Some Republicans in Congress have criticized the proposal and asked why the President doesn't just end the trade war.
  8. mired
    entangled or hindered
    Ivanka and her company have been mired in controversy since Ivanka campaigned for her father wearing Ivanka Trump products during high-profile interviews and speeches. -cnn.com ( July 24, 2018)
    Presidential daughter Ivanka Trump has decided to close down her clothing line. She had previously given up her role as president of the company when she went to work as an advisor to her father, but now the company will shutter completely. This may be a signal that Ivanka would like to stay in public service even after her father's term in office is over.
  9. pathology
    any deviation from a healthy or normal condition
    The researchers conclude that their study, recently published in the journal Brain Stimulation, provides the first experimental evidence that whole-brain LIPUS therapy markedly improves cognitive dysfunctions without serious side effects by enhancing specific cells related to dementia’s pathology. -goodnewsnetwork.org ( July 24, 2018)
    Researchers in Japan are using new techniques to combat memory loss and dementia. The ultrasound waves applied to the head during the treatment are intended to stimulate blood vessel growth and have even been shown to positively affect nerve cell regeneration. The drug therapies for dementia that are currently available have shown limited effectiveness, so this technique, which has no known side effects, shows great promise in slowing the progress of the disease.
  10. auditor
    a qualified accountant who inspects accounting records
    A California Department of Motor Vehicles employee slept thousands of hours on the job since 2014, a report released Tuesday from the state's auditor says. - USA Today ( July 24, 2018)
    A California Department of Motor Vehicles data entry operator was found to have slept more than 2000 hours on the job since 2014. This employee cost the DMV more than $40,000 in lost productivity. Supervisors had to wake this worker three to four times a day, and they now believe that a medical issue was the underlying cause of nodding off on the job.
Created on July 23, 2018 (updated August 1, 2018)

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.