This Week in Words: February 9 - 15, 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. covet
    wish, long, or crave for
    As a group, terriers have a record at Westminster that even the most storied sports dynasties would covet. The terrier group has been awarded best in show 47 times, making them the New England Patriots of the dog show world.
    - The New York Times (Feb 12, 2019)
    The intrigue at the annual Westminster Dog Show was as thick as a bowl of wet kibble (or a winning dog’s lustrous coat). A handsome fella named King was the 15th wire fox terrier to be awarded Best in Show. Like any big sporting event, the show was not without controversy. The final Best in Show group was missing a competitor after Colton the schipperke was disqualified because his owner had distant business dealings with the judge.
  2. demise
    the time when something ends
    Several reasons contributed to the demise of Toys "R" Us, but an unaffordable debt load was at the top of the list. The new company has an advantage, since it doesn't have that burden.
    - CNN (Feb 12, 2019)
    When Toys ‘R Us declared bankruptcy and closed all their stores in the United States last year, it looked like the iconic company would be gone forever. However, it now looks poised to make a comeback under a new name: Tru Kids Brands. The initial plan calls for expanding into Asia. If that goes well, Tru Brand Kids is expected to return to the U.S. with stores in key cities and a new e-commerce presence. We just hope they bring back Geoffrey the Giraffe!
  3. divulge
    make known to the public information previously kept secret
    The bill was passed in a 92-8 vote, and White House officials have divulged that the president has agreed to sign it, according to The Washington Post.
    - Good News Network (Feb 13, 2019)
    The senate has passed a major conservation and preservation bill designating 1.3 million acres of land as nationally-protected wilderness. Six national parks will be expanded by this legislation. In addition, the Land and Water Conservation Fund will be permanently funded under this proposal using money obtained from off-shore drilling projects.
  4. durable
    capable of withstanding wear and tear and decay
    The LEGO arm worked, but it wasn’t very strong. 9 years later, he built another model arm that was so durable, Aguilar could use it to do pushups.
    - Good News Network (Feb 11, 2019)
    Our inspirational story this week comes all the way from Spain. David Aguilar was born with only the upper part of his right arm. As a kid, he built a prosthetic arm for himself out of Legos, and kept refining the design until it actually functioned. Today, as a bioengineering student at a university, David continues to develop new prosthetic technologies.
  5. elusive
    skillful at evading capture
    Conservationists have captured their first ever high-quality images of the elusive black leopard in Kenya, confirming previous reports of sightings and proving that the rare creatures do indeed reside in the East African country.
    - Time (Feb 14, 2019)
    Scientists have captured video footage of the black leopard in Kenya, confirming years of rumors and stories about the animal’s presence in East Africa. The animal, also known as the black panther, was once thought to reside only in Southeast Asia. The animal’s dark color obscures a rosette pattern in its hide, similar to the spotted coat of other leopards.
  6. myriad
    too numerous to be counted
    Jurors heard about the myriad ways Mr. Guzmán smuggled drugs through Mexico and into the U. S.—by underground tunnel, car, truck, plane, ship and train.
    - The Wall Street Journal (Feb 12, 2019)
    After a three-month trial, a jury has convicted notorious drug lord Joaquin Guzman, better known as El Chapo, on all ten counts of drug trafficking. Guzman faces a sentence of life in prison. Myriad here emphasizes the wide variety of methods that El Chapo used in his criminal smuggling operation.
  7. poised
    marked by balance or equilibrium and readiness for action
    President Trump appeared poised on Tuesday to end two months of scorched-earth confrontation without the money he demanded for a border wall as Republicans pressured him to accept a bipartisan spending deal rather than close the government again on Friday.
    - The New York Times (Feb 12, 2019)
    The White House has announced that President Trump is poised, meaning ready, to sign the government spending bill that will avoid another government shutdown. The bill that hits the President’s desk includes some funding for border fencing, but the amount falls well short of what the President was asking for. The President has said he will explore other ways to fund the wall, including declaring a state of emergency at the U.S.-Mexico border.
  8. ripple
    stir up so as to form small waves
    The higher rates can ripple through the economy, nudging up rates for mortgages, corporate bonds and other types of consumer and business loans.
    - USA Today (Feb 12, 2019)
    The national debt passed $22 trillion dollars this week. Economists worry that debt this high is a sign of an unstable economy. Analysts say that the recent tax cuts put into effect by the Trump administration have greatly increased the debt. In this case, ripple is used metaphorically to describe how the effects of the debt can spread and influence other parts of the economy.
  9. susceptible
    yielding readily to or capable of
    Unable to activate its battery-powered heaters, the robot was susceptible to the intense Martian cold and likely froze.
    - USA Today (Feb 13, 2019)
    After fourteen years of sending data and photographs back to Earth, the Mars rover known as Opportunity has stopped functioning. Opportunity was only supposed to last three months, but it just kept on going until the Martian cold finally did it in. The fourteen-year "life span" makes Opportunity the longest operational roving robot ever sent to another planet.
  10. swath
    a path or strip
    Amy Klobuchar, the third-term Minnesota senator, entered the race for the Democratic presidential nomination on Sunday, hopeful that her moderate politics, Midwestern roots and carefully cultivated history of bipartisanship can appeal to a broad swath of voters in contentious times.
    - The New York Times (Feb 10, 2019)
    Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar has officially thrown her hat into the ring by announcing her candidacy for President. Klobuchar has a reputation as someone who can reach across the political aisle to make deals with her adversaries. Along with Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren, Klobuchar is the third Democratic woman to announce that she is seeking her party’s nomination in 2020. Klobuchar is widely viewed as a more moderate force in the Democratic Party than her current opponents.

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