This Week in Words: September 22 - 28, 2018

News flash! We’ve rounded up the top words heard, read, debated and discussed in the news this week. Take a look back at the week that was, vocabulary style.

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. aficionado
    a serious devotee of some activity, genre, or performer
    Since the company stopped operations in July, Necco Wafers have been hard to come by with aficionados hoarding the candy. - Toledo Blade (Sept. 25, 2018)
    Necco Wafers and those valentine heart candies with the sayings on them were in danger of being lost forever because the company that made these chalky candies went out of business. This week a company called Spangler Candy bought the old company and announced that they will continue to produce the classic candies Spangler produces other classics sweet treats like orange-colored circus peanuts and Dum-Dum lollipops.
  2. autonomy
    political independence
    The co-founders—Kevin Systrom, Instagram’s chief executive, and Mike Krieger, chief technology officer—clashed with Facebook FB executives over the extent of Instagram’s autonomy in recent months, according to people familiar with the matter. - The Wall Street Journal (Sept. 25, 2018)
    The two founders of Instagram who sold their app to Facebook in 2012 for about $1 billion dollars are now leaving Facebook. It has been reported that the Instagram founders were having trouble giving up their autonomy as Instagram was enfolded into Facebook's culture and corporate structure.
  3. eradicate
    destroy completely, as if down to the roots
    According to the Agence France Press news agency, the lead funder of the research was the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which has poured close to $100 million into the development of gene drive technology — especially via the research consortium Target Malaria — with the aim of eradicating the disease. - USA Today (Sept. 25, 2018)
    Scientists have discovered a way to prevent the mosquitoes that carry malaria from reproducing and transmitting the virus. By manipulating the mosquito's DNA, scientists found that they can cause an entire generation to become infertile, so when that generation dies off, there is no next generation to take its place. This method, which has yet to be tried outside of a lab setting, is potentially a huge step in the fight against malaria, which kills almost 500,000 people each year worldwide.
  4. grapple
    work hard to come to terms with or deal with something
    The deal comes as the radio industry grapples with digital competition in the form of streaming music apps and podcasts. -USA Today (Sept. 24, 2018)
    Sirius XM radio is buying the Pandora streaming music service for $3.5 billion. Pandora was losing its battle against the other streaming services, like Spotify and Apple Music. While it is unclear how Sirius will use Pandora’s resources, reports suggest that Sirius may want to move beyond the subscription radio service, which has been its main focus up to this point.
  5. methodical
    characterized by orderliness
    Finally, Woods triumphed in vintage form, owning the course at East Lake Golf Club from Day 1 with a performance that was equal parts magical and methodical. -The New York Times (Sept. 23, 2018)
    For the first time since 2013, Tiger Woods won a major professional golf tournament. Many thought Woods’ career was over after a series of back injuries and personal scandals, but this week he won the PGA Tour Championship by two strokes. Woods was near tears after winning, saying that even he did not think that a tour victory was possible so soon after his fourth back surgery.
  6. repercussion
    a remote or indirect consequence of some action
    Language that makes someone less than human can have repercussions off the service, including normalizing serious violence,” the company said in a blog post. - (Sept. 25, 2018)
    Twitter announced this week that it is banning what it calls “dehumanizing language.” This includes direct insults that compare people to animals or crude references to body parts. As with all of its rule changes, Twitter is asking for feedback from its users to refine and clarify the policy. Twitter has been under a lot of pressure from various groups to do a better of monitoring offensive content.
  7. reprieve
    postpone the punishment of a convicted criminal
    What happened in between was a confusing drama in which buzzy news reports of Mr. Rosenstein’s imminent departure set in motion a dash to the White House, an offer to resign, Capitol Hill speculation about Mr. Rosenstein’s successor and, finally, a reprieve from an out-of-town president. - The New York Times (Sept.24, 2018)
    Early in the week, it seemed that Justice Department Official Rod Rosenstein, who is in charge of the Mueller Russian investigation, was either going to be fired by President Trump or resign. A story in the New York Times claimed that Rosenstein had discussed invoking the 25th Amendment, which allows for the Cabinet to remove the President if he is deemed “unfit.” Rosenstein denied the report and still has his job. He is scheduled to meet with the President at the end of the week.
  8. repute
    the state of being held in high esteem and honor
    However, to claim the prize, the solution must appear in a mathematics journal of "worldwide repute" and be generally accepted by the math community two years after publication. - USA Today (Sept. 25, 2018)
    Michael Atiyah, a retired Math professor, announced at a conference that he has a solution to the Riemann Hypothesis. That problem is over a century old and concerns the distribution and frequency of prime numbers. The Riemann Hypothesis is so important that there is a prize of a million dollars offered to anyone who solves it. Some mathematicians are skeptical of Atiyah’s proposal because it has not yet been reviewed by a panel of academic experts.
  9. sovereignty
    government free from external control
    Speaking for a second time to the United Nations General Assembly, Mr. Trump said, “We will never surrender America’s sovereignty to an unelected, unaccountable global bureaucracy. We reject the ideology of globalism and we embrace the doctrine of patriotism.” -The New York Times (Sept. 25, 2018)
    The U.N. General Assembly met in New York this week. Leaders from around the world were addressed by President Trump. When the president made reference to what he described as his “accomplishments”, there was audible laughter in the hall. In his speech, the President again emphasized his policy of “America First” and downplayed America’s role in the global community.
  10. trove
    a valuable collection or treasure found hidden
    Scientists believe that asteroids contain a treasure trove of information about the solar system’s evolution and history. - (Sept. 24, 2018)
    The Japanese space agency has successfully landed two rovers on the surface of an asteroid. This is the first successful landing of this kind. By studying the makeup of asteroids, scientists believe they can get a better sense of the composition of the solar system, both presently and from an historical perspective. The drones are able to take pictures and take samples from the asteroid for later analysis.

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