This Week in Words: November 10 - 16, 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. bolster
    support and strengthen
    The satellite images suggest that the North has been engaged in a great deception: It has offered to dismantle a major launching site — a step it began, then halted — while continuing to make improvements at more than a dozen others that would bolster launches of conventional and nuclear warheads. – The New York Times (Nov 12, 2018)
    Some evidence came to light which suggests that North Korea hasn’t kept its word about abandoning its nuclear program. New satellite images suggest that some facilities have been enhanced since Kim Jong Un met with President Trump months ago and pledged to dismantle missile sites. If this evidence turns out to be accurate, it would mean that diplomacy alone was not enough to stop the threat of a nuclear North Korea.
  2. capitulation
    the act of surrendering, usually under agreed conditions
    Mrs. May’s former Brexit secretary, David Davis, described the deal on Twitter as “EU domination, imprisonment in the customs union and 2nd class status,” and adding that “Cabinet and all Conservative MPs should stand up, be counted and say no to this capitulation.” – The New York Times (Nov 14, 2018)
    Theresa May, Prime Minister of Britain, has come up with a plan to handle Britain’s exit from the European Union, which honors the results of the so-called Brexit vote. The plan had been approved by May’s cabinet, but then, just as things were looking up for the Prime Minister, two of her cabinet members resigned in protest. When someone accuses you of capitulation, they are questioning your strength and resolve. The word suggests giving in as a sign of weakness and lack of confidence.
  3. comity
    a state or atmosphere of harmony or mutual civility
    In an interview, Schiff insisted that his first priority is to restore “ comity” to what is arguably the most fractious committee in Congress. – LA Times (Nov 14, 2018)
    With the new Democratic majority in the House of Representatives, the House Intelligence Committee is sure to be a battleground between those who want to protect Mueller's investigation of Trump and those who do not. Rep. Adam Schiff will head the committee. This week he called for calm on both sides and used a very interesting word, comity, to do it. Comity is from the Latin for friendliness and kindness, two words that are not often associated with congressional committees.
  4. discretion
    power of making choices unconstrained by external agencies
    The "First Step Act," developed by Kushner and a bipartisan group of lawmakers, is designed to improve rehabilitation programs for former prisoners and give judges more discretion in sentencing offenders for nonviolent crime, particularly drug offenders. – USA Today (Nov 14, 2018)
    President Trump has expressed support for a sweeping bipartisan crime reform bill. The bill focuses on rehabilitation and flexible sentencing guidelines for non-violent offenders. One of the main architects of the bill is Jared Kushner, the President’s son-in-law.
  5. extensive
    large in spatial extent or range or scope or quantity
    We used observations from seven different instruments, spanning 20 years of measurements, making this one of the largest and most extensive data sets ever used," Ribas said. – USA Today (Nov 14, 2018)
    A planet has been discovered orbiting around the star closest to our solar system. This type of planet is called a super-earth, and is about three times the mass of Earth. It is also believed to be much colder than our planet.
  6. fractious
    stubbornly resistant to authority or control
    Mr. McCarthy now enjoys one of the closest relationships of GOP lawmakers with President Trump and supporters said he has gained experience leading the often fractious group of House Republicans. – The Wall Street Journal (Nov 13, 2018)
    Kevin McCarthy, Republican From California, will be the Minority Leader in the House of Representatives come January, when the new congressional term begins. A fractious atmosphere is one that lacks comity — it suggests a total breakdown of authority and lack of constructive communication.
  7. metabolism
    the organic processes that are necessary for life
    All of them are photosynthetic, but unlike plants and algae, they use infrared light as the energy source for their metabolism. – Good News Network (Nov 14, 2018)
    Scientists have discovered a type of bacteria that recovers carbon from its surroundings and produces hydrogen gas, and it may be the next new source of clean energy. This bacteria could potentially use the carbon in organic waste materials as a source for hydrogen gas production, solving two problems — waste management and an energy shortage. The bacteria uses infrared light as an energy source and seems to get extra-efficient in the presence of an electric current.
  8. oust
    remove from a position or office
    The Justice Department’s opinion is likely to further the debate that has surrounded Mr. Whitaker since President Trump named him to replace Jeff Sessions, whom the president ousted last week – The Wall Street Journal (Nov 14, 2018)
    Last week Attorney General Jeff Sessions resigned at the request of President Trump, and the President appointed Mark Whitaker to be interim A. G. There was some legal and political controversy over the appointment, but this week the Department of Justice affirmed that the President was within his rights to appoint Whitaker. Even though nominees to the Attorney General position have to be approved by Congress, the President is allowed to make temporary appointments to fill vacancies.
  9. revocation
    the act of annulling something previously done
    "The wrongful revocation of these credentials violates CNN and Acosta’s First Amendment rights of freedom of the press, and their Fifth Amendment rights to due process," – USA Today (Nov 13, 2018)
    After a bizarre and combative White House press conference last week, a CNN reporter's press pass was revoked. The President claimed that Jim Acosta was being “rude.” This week, CNN sued the White House to restore Acosta's credentials, claiming that the network’s First Amendment rights are being infringed on. In response, the White House has pointed out that there are many other reporters covering the President, including CNN employees, so First Amendment rights are not in danger.
  10. steadfast
    marked by firm determination or resolution; not shakable
    Ms. Ricardel “will continue to support the president as she departs the White House to transition to a new role,” Ms. Sanders said, adding Mr. Trump was grateful for “her steadfast pursuit of his national security priorities.” – The Wall Street Journal (Nov 14, 2018)
    Tension between the First Lady and a member of National Security Advisor John Bolton’s staff has led to the firing of that staff member. Rumor has it that the relationship really soured when Mira Ricardel would not approve spaces on helicopters for the First Lady’s aides during her humanitarian trip to Africa. Steadfast describes people who hold firm to their beliefs.
  11. triage
    sorting and allocating aid on the basis of need
    Adventist Health doctors and nurses, along with paramedics, firefighters and other emergency workers, set up a triage center in the hospital parking lot. – The New York Times (Nov 12, 2018)
    California is experiencing the worst wildfires in its history. The death toll stands near 50, with the missing numbering more than 200. Property is being destroyed on a massive scale and thousands of people have evacuated their homes to escape from the fire and the smoke. Through it all, firefighters and medical professionals are on the front lines, trying to contain the blazes and escort residents to safety.

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