This Week in Words: November 24 - 30, 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.
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Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. asphyxiate
    deprive of oxygen and prevent from breathing
    “We ran, but when you run the gas asphyxiates you more,” she told the AP while cradling her 3-year-old daughter Valery in her arms.
    - USA Today (Nov 25, 2018)
    The saga of the Central American immigrant caravan making its way to the U.S. reached a crisis point this week. Several protestors, angry with the policy change that has made it more difficult and time-consuming to claim political asylum, tried to break through the U.S. border near San Diego and were tear-gassed. President Trump has sent over 5,000 U.S. troops to the border and had previously warned that any violence on the part of the migrants would be met with aggression by the military.
  2. burnish
    polish and make shiny
    Caruana is trying to become the first American champion since Bobby Fischer in 1972, while Carlsen is hoping to burnish his legacy as one of the game’s all-time greats.
    - The Wall Street Journal (Nov 27, 2018)
    Magnus Carlsen defended his title at the World Chess Championship held in London this week. Carlsen's match with Fabiano Caruana was tied after the twelve games, and had to be settled by a round of speed chess. While Carlsen and Fabuana are both exceptionally gifted players, Carlsen is stronger at speed chess and won three games in a row to keep his title.
  3. dogged
    stubbornly unyielding
    But she is dogged, and, with Britain scheduled to leave the European Union on March 29, she appears to be relying on giving legislators a stark choice: her deal or a chaotic exit without any deal.
    - The New York Times (Nov 25, 2018)
    British Prime Minister Theresa May's British exit, or "Brexit," deal has been approved by the European Union. Twenty-seven E.U. countries signed off on the plan. May must still get approval from the British Parliament, however. This will not be easy, as there are many voices in the U.K. who are unhappy with the details of the agreement. It may be helpful to think of dogged as determined and stubborn, like a dog with a bone if you try to take it away from them.
  4. ephemera
    something transitory or not of lasting significance
    Also up for grabs are sketches and ephemera from other Mollo movies including “Barry Lyndon,” “Alien,” “Chaplin” and “Gandhi,” for which Mollo won his second Oscar.
    - The New York Times (Nov 25, 2018)
    Are you still looking a holiday gift for the Star Wars fanatic on your list? Do you have an extra $100,000 lying around to spend on this person? The sketchbooks of Star Wars costume designer John Mollo are going up for auction this week, and they contain the original concept art for the costumes of Han Solo, Chewbacca and all the other beloved characters from the first two chapters of the original trilogy. Mollo won an Oscar for his costumes designs at the 1978 Academy Awards.
  5. ingenuity
    the power of creative imagination
    This accomplishment represents the ingenuity of America and our international partners, and it serves as a testament to the dedication and perseverance of our team.
    - CNN.com (Nov 27, 2018)
    NASA landed its InSight vehicle on Mars this week. This marks only the eighth time in human history that we have landed an object on the Red Planet. Unlike other missions to Mars, which explored its surface, InSight is scheduled to dig deep into the planet to collect data on seismic activity and geological formations. These discoveries should help scientists develop a better understanding of how Mars was formed, and may give us some insight into how Earth was formed as well.
  6. mandate
    commission given to a government through electoral victory
    Democrats believe they have a broader mandate to question everything from foreign business dealings by Ms. Trump and the Trump Organization to the administration of security clearances at the White House, including the one given to Mr. Kushner.
    - The New York Times (Nov 25, 2018)
    The first effects of the Democratic election victory in the House of Representatives are beginning to be felt. Democrats have announced their intentions to investigate the business dealings of the Trump Organization, including the behavior of the President's daughter Ivanka Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner. Various committees in the House of Representatives have the power to hold hearings and subpoena witnesses to testify before them.
  7. monopoly
    a market in which there are many buyers but only one seller
    But in this case, the equivalent party — the app developers — are innocent, potentially even victims of the alleged monopoly.
    - CNBC (Nov 26, 2018)
    A legal case involving the relationship between app developers and Apple's App Store will appear before the Supreme Court. Apple's position is that it cannot be sued by customers unhappy with an app because the App Store is merely a bridge that connects developers to consumers, and that customers must sue app developers directly. The developers claim that the App Store is much more than a clearing house for apps, setting rules and price guidelines for developers.
  8. seizure
    the taking possession of something by legal process
    President Trump on Thursday canceled a planned meeting with Russian leader Vladimir Putin set for this weekend, citing Russia’s recent seizure of three Ukrainian naval ships.
    - The Wall Street Journal (Nov 29 2018)
    Russian ships collided with and fired on Ukrainian ships in the Black Sea over the weekend. The Russian forces captured 24 Ukrainian sailors and 3 vessels. As a result of this hostile seizure, President Trump has cancelled his scheduled meeting with Vladmir Putin at the upcoming G20 meeting of world leaders in Buenos Aires. Experts are worried that this maritime incident could lead to a full-scale military conflict between Russia and the Ukraine.
  9. solicitous
    showing hovering attentiveness
    But Mr. Trump has signaled a new willingness to make a deal with Mr. Xi, a leader he has treated solicitously and will meet over dinner on Saturday in Buenos Aires, after a summit meeting of leaders of the Group of 20 industrialized nations.
    - The New York Times (Nov 27, 2018)
    President Trump of the United States and President Xi Jinping of China, who have been locked in a trade war for months now, will meet in Buenos Aires this weekend. Speculation is that the President will seek to ease tensions between the two nations because he is worried about the effects of tariffs on the larger economy.
  10. stark
    complete or extreme
    The moves reflect the stark consumer shift to SUVs, crossovers and pickups. All of the GM plants on the chopping block make passenger cars.
    - USA Today (Nov. 26, 2018)
    Low sales have forced General Motors to eliminate several of its passenger car models. The automaker announced that it will close plants in three states and cut about 15% of its salaried workforce. This blow to the economies of Michigan, Ohio and Maryland is seen as a setback for President Trump, who previously hailed the return of car manufacturing to the United States. The President has threatened GM on Twitter over this planned action, saying that he would cut subsidies to the company.

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