This Week in Words : January 19 - 25, 2019

News flash! 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. assuage
    cause to be more favorably inclined
    But not everyone agrees that Ms. Harris can easily assuage Democrats worried about her record as a prosecutor and district attorney.
    - The New York Times (Jan 21, 2019)
    California Senator Kamala Harris announced that she is running for President. Harris made the announcement on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. If elected, she would be the second African-American and the first woman elected President. Harris already faces stiff competition in the race to become the Democratic nominee. The Democrats hope to oust President Trump in 2020. Three other Senators have already declared their candidacy, and several others are expected to do so in the coming weeks.
  2. begrudge
    be envious of or feel annoyance toward
    It's a tough one to call. Both women have been playing some of their best tennis and many neutrals wouldn't begrudge either player of victory. We're just edging towards Kvitova in three.
    - The Telegraph (Jan 24, 2019)
    The women’s final at the Australian Open tennis tournament is shaping up to be quite a battle. Czech Petra Kvitova will take on Japan's Naomi Osaka. Kvitova hasn’t lost a set for the entire tournament. She returned to tennis after she was stabbed in the hand in 2016 and underwent hours of surgery. Osaka beat Serena Williams to win the U.S. Open in September, and has now accomplished the rare feat of reaching the finals of the next major tournament on the pro tennis tour.
  3. castigate
    censure severely
    Before the letter from Mrs. Pelosi last week, White House aides had started preparations for the State of the Union speech, and some aides wanted to use the captive audience to castigate lawmakers over the shutdown and press his case for $5.7 billion in funding for building hundreds of miles of a border wall.
    - The Wall Street Journal (Jan 23, 2019)
    Things have escalated in the battle between President Trump and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi over the State of the Union address. Technically speaking, the President has to be invited to the House of Representatives to give the speech. Most of the time this is just a formality, but Pelosi says that she will not invite the President while the government is shut down. In response, President Trump announced late Wednesday that he would not deliver the address until the government reopens.
  4. endemic
    native to or confined to a certain region
    Immigrant advocates have countered that the journey is no less dangerous than the minors remaining in their home countries, amid endemic violence and poverty.
    - The Wall Street Journal (Jan 22, 2019)
    Two bills will be presented in Congress this week in hopes of ending the government shutdown. The bill endorsed by the Democrats gives President Trump all the money he was originally asking for, but none of the money can go towards a border wall. President Trump and the Republicans that support him may reject the bill because of this stipulation. Immigration policy is at the heart of the disagreement between the two political parties.
  5. ensue
    take place or happen afterward or as a result
    Panic-buying ensued from shoppers in March 2018 after the news broke that Necco may be folding, with sales jumping more than 50 percent.
    - USA Today (Jan 23, 2019)
    If you want to say "Be Mine" to someone this Valentine's Day, you'll have to text them. Those famous pastel-colored candy hearts with the cliche sayings on them will not be on the shelves again until 2020. Things could be worse. The Necco candy company went bankrupt last year, and for a while there it looked like the hearts were gone forever.
  6. hearten
    give encouragement to
    Wagner has already started reviewing letters for the contest, and she says she has been heartened by the submissions.
    - Good News Network (Jan 21, 2019)
    After unsuccessfully trying to sell her house, a Canadian woman says she will give it away to the person who writes the best letter about why they want to live in her home. There is an application fee of $25, and the current homeowner plans to accept up to 68,000 entries. The seller plans to donate 5% of her proceeds to the Calgary Women's Shelter.
  7. plethora
    extreme excess
    Even though she was placed on a plethora of medications and spent endless hours in the hospital undergoing different treatments, she quickly started to suffer from bladder problems and loss of motor function, which made it especially difficult for her to raise her young son.
    - Good News Network (Jan 22, 2019)
    A woman in Anchorage, Alaska underwent an experimental treatment for her Multiple Sclerosis (MS). The treatment involved destroying her immune system with chemotherapy and using stem cells to effectively give her an entirely new immune system. Seven years after the treatment, she has no symptoms of MS and is training to run a marathon. Here, a plethora describes the huge amount of medication she had to take before her successful treatment.
  8. strident
    being sharply insistent on being heard
    For years, Cohen worked as Trump's most strident defender in legal, business and political matters yet turned on him as federal prosecutors honed in on his business and legal dealings.
    - USA Today (Jan 23, 2019)
    Michael Cohen, the President's former lawyer, was supposed to testify before Congress next month about his illegal actions on behalf of the President. This week, Cohen indefinitely postponed his testimony, saying that Mr. Trump and his lawyer, Rudolph Giuliani, have been threatening Cohen and his family. Strident describes something loud and persistent, a noise that just won't go away, or a person who won't be quiet until they get what they want.
  9. unconscionable
    greatly exceeding bounds of reason or moderation
    The unions that represent the nation’s air traffic controllers, pilots and flight attendants issued a dire warning on Wednesday, calling the government shutdown an “unprecedented” and “ unconscionable” safety threat that is growing by the day and must end.
    - The New York Times (Jan 23, 2019)
    The aviation industry is feeling the effects of the government shutdown. Air traffic controllers and Transportation Security Administration workers are federal employees, and they have been working without pay for a little over a month. Many have called in sick and are looking for other work to pay the bills. Now their unions are speaking out about the danger to the public that results from a shortage of TSA workers.
  10. usurper
    one who wrongfully seizes and holds the place of another
    He called the government response “repression by the usurper Nicolás Maduro,” and said the Venezuelan people “are demanding their freedom from tyranny.”
    - The New York Times (Jan 23, 2019)
    A popular leader of the growing opposition to Venezuelan President Maduro has declared the elected government illegitimate and claimed the presidency. Juan Guiado has the support of a large portion of the international community, including the United States. Deciding who is the usurper and whose power is be usurped, depends on your point of view.

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