This Week in Words : December 29, 2018 - January 4, 2019

We’ve rounded up the top words heard, read, 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. acumen
    shrewdness shown by keen insight
    The blowback over the DNA test has caused some longtime supporters to question Ms. Warren’s political acumen, since any Democratic nominee seeking to oppose Mr. Trump would have to deftly navigate his constant barbs and often inflammatory rhetoric.
    - The New York Times (Dec 31, 2018)
    Elizabeth Warren, Democratic Senator from Massachusetts, announced that she is exploring a run for President in 2020. She is the first major Democratic contender to announce a probable candidacy. Warren is expected to face a crowded field of contenders who also want the Democratic nomination and a chance to unseat President Trump. Warren was a law school professor before she entered politics.
  2. barrage
    the rapid and continuous delivery of communication
    Yet Mr. Trump has indicated that he might revise the original 30-day timeline after a barrage of criticism, including from his own party.
    - The Wall Street Journal (Dec 31, 2018)
    President Trump is reconsidering his decision to abruptly withdraw all American troops from Syria. Trump says that ultimately the troops will come home, but he is thinking about slowing down the withdrawal process. Theoretically, a more gradual removal will give the U.S. military time to make sure the region is relatively stable.
  3. emulate
    strive to equal or match, especially by imitating
    “We want other people to emulate the habit of people from Kudanden, to learn from them. To live in peace with one another.”
    - Good News Network ( Jan 2, 2019)
    Nigeria is a country torn apart by violence, with much of the conflict between warring religious groups. In the suburb of Kudanden, however, a mosque and a church stand right beside one another and the worshippers are safe, no matter which service they attend.
  4. endemic
    native to or confined to a certain region
    Xi came to power in late 2012 as China struggled with reckless economic growth, a backward military and endemic corruption.
    - Los Angeles Times (Dec 31, 2018)
    The relationship between China and the United States is turning colder by the minute. China has the second biggest economy in the world, just behind the U.S., but recent Senate hearings have looked into claims that the Chinese economy is supported by illegal activities including cyber attacks and other forms of digital theft.
  5. entrepreneur
    someone who organizes a business venture
    “Through the Girl Scout Cookie Program, cookie customers help fund life-changing Girl Scout experiences while building the next generation of female entrepreneurs,” Girl Scouts of the USA CEO Sylvia Acevedo said in a statement.
    - USA Today ( Jan 2, 2019)
    There's big news in the world of cookies. This year, the Girl Scouts are featuring a new, gluten-free caramel chocolate chip cookie. The old favorites like Thin Mints, Samoas, and Trefoils will still be sold by these young businesswomen. This development comes on the heels of Oreo's announcement that it will make a new dark chocolate variety. Mmm... cookies.
  6. exasperation
    a feeling of annoyance
    Trump has expressed exasperation at the criticism he has received for his plans to withdraw from the conflicts, which he says are costly and unpopular.
    - The Chicago Tribune ( Jan 2, 2019)
    President Trump attacked his former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis this week, claiming that Mattis’ resignation was essentially “a firing.” The President also wondered aloud “What’s he done for me?” Some White House watchers felt that Mattis brought a level of organization and seriousness to an administration that often operates chaotically. White House spokespeople publicly dismissed this view as "fantasy."
  7. fraught
    marked by distress
    The temporary glitch exacerbated an already fraught process, which creates uncertainty for companies needing to make staffing plans or bid contracts ahead of the upcoming busy season.
    - The Wall Street Journal ( Jan 2, 2019)
    The system for granting temporary worker visas was recently changed to a first-come, first-served basis, and this week was the first week businesses could apply for visas for the busy Spring and Summer months. There were so many requests, about 100,000, that the system crashed.
  8. garner
    assemble or get together
    The larger figure refers to the amount Mr. Trump has demanded for the wall, which the House endorsed in a vote last month, but which failed to garner even majority support in the Senate, where it would need 60 votes to prevail. - The New York Times ( Jan 2, 2018)
    The government shutdown continued this week, and it is unclear exactly what will get the two sides back to the negotiating table. Democrats have proposed a bill that reopens the federal government and keeps it open until February 8th, allowing time for further negotiation. President Trump has said that he will not sign any spending bill unless it includes $5.4 billion for a southern border wall.
  9. gregarious
    temperamentally seeking and enjoying the company of others
    David Whelan described his brother as "a very kind person. He's very generous with his time; he's funny. He's a gregarious sort of person."
    - USA Today ( Jan 2, 2019)
    An American businessman and former Marine was detained in Russia on charges of espionage. Paul Whelan’s family says that he was in Russia for a friend’s wedding and is not a spy. U.S. Ambassador Jon Huntsman was able to visit Whelan, but has not secured his release. On Thursday, Whelan was indicted in a Russian court and faces twenty years in prison if he is convicted.
  10. mantle
    the cloak as a symbol of authority
    The 2012 GOP presidential nominee—who failed to defeat Barack Obama in his re-election bid—said that “on balance, his (Mr. Trump’s) conduct over the past two years…is evidence that the president has not risen to the mantle of office.”
    - The Wall Street Journal ( Jan 2, 2019)
    Former Republican nominee for President and current Utah Senator Mitt Romney wrote an opinion piece this week criticizing President Trump’s job performance and his character. What makes this notable is that both men are members of the same party, and attacks such as this one usually come from across the political aisle. Mantle is used here as a metaphor, to symbolize the high stature and honor of the office of President of the United States.

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