This Week in Pop Culture: February 9 - 15, 2019

We've scoured this week's entertainment news and rounded up our favorite vocab words from the stories that everyone's buzzing about.

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. accolade
    a tangible symbol signifying approval or distinction
    Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse, which has previously done well at earlier awards ceremony's, was given the Best Animation accolade at the glitzy awards ceremony.
    - The Daily Mail (Feb 11, 2019)
    The BAFTAs, which are essentially the British version of the Academy Awards, were awarded this week. The costume drama The Favourite took home seven awards. Awards and other official forms of recognition and praise are sometimes called accolades.
  2. bolster
    support and strengthen
    Bolstered by Gaga’s booming vocals and Cooper’s crooning intro, “Shallow” was an immediate hit when it first came out ahead of the movie’s October release.
    - People (Feb 10, 2019)
    The 61st annual Grammy Awards were also held this week. Lady Gaga won multiple awards, including one for Shallow, which is also up for an Oscar later this month. This sentence refers to the way that Gaga's voice bolsters, or gives power, to the song.
  3. disparate
    including markedly dissimilar elements
    He also helped oversee the shift in development philosophy that turned five disparate studios into a single operating studio with five locations that worked together on single games.
    - Variety (Feb 12, 2019)
    Can Rockstar still rock without its rockstar VP? Jeronimo Barrera was the Vice President of Development at Rockstar Games for 20 years before announcing this week that he's leaving. Barrera oversaw many disparate and hugely successful projects, including the Grand Theft Auto games and the recent Red Dead Redemption 2.
  4. margin
    the net sales minus the cost of goods and services sold
    A line extension gives a product more space on retail shelves. And flavors usually aren't discounted, so Coca-Cola can increase its margins by selling flavored versions of the product, he said.
    - Media Post (Feb 11, 2019)
    After testing many different flavors in limited release, Coke has announced that a new orange vanilla flavor will be for sale nationwide. The taste is intended to evoke the beloved ice cream treat the creamsicle. Here, the word margins refers to the amount of money that can be made from sales of the product.
  5. muster
    gather or bring together
    She then musters her courage and manages to run across the water by making a path of snowflakes and ice. However, she quickly falls into the surf. E News
    - E! Online (Feb 13, 2019)
    The teaser trailer for Frozen 2 was released this week. From what we can tell, it looks like the sequel be full of adventure, ice, facing your fears, and more ice. Shocking, right? What we're really holding our (cold) breath for is a song as memorable as “Let it Go.”
  6. propel
    cause to move forward with force
    With three weeks to go until “Captain Marvel” hits theaters on March 8, some box office watchers suggest enthusiastic word of mouth could propel that figure to north of $120 million.
    - Variety (Feb 14,2019)
    According to early estimates, Disney and Marvel’s first female-led superhero adventure is predicted to rake in an estimated $100 million on its opening weekend. This sentence is talking about how the fact so many people are talking about the film will create the kind of buzz that propels, or pushes up, ticket sales.
  7. prosthetic
    of or relating to artificial body parts
    Other Fashionista dolls sell for $9.99, including the doll with the removable prosthetic limb.
    - USA Today (Feb 11, 2019)
    Mattel announced that this year it's introducing two new Barbies. One Barbie uses a wheelchair, and her Dream House has a ramp for accessibility. The other new Barbie wears a removable prosthetic, or artificial, leg.
  8. relegate
    assign to a lower position
    But the open letter, signed by more than 50 directors, actors and filmmakers, accused the academy of " relegating these essential crafts to lesser status" and insulting the professionals who work in the four areas.
    - NBC News (Feb 14,2019)
    George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Robert de Niro joined a growing protest in Hollywood over plans to present certain Oscar awards during the commercials at next week's Academy Awards ceremony. The televised show runs late every year, and producers are under pressure to trim 40 minutes off the length of the broadcast.
  9. stimulus
    any information or event that acts to arouse action
    And then there’s the Grammys stimulus, which could lead to sales bumps for Sunday night’s stars, like Kacey Musgraves, Brandi Carlile, H.E.R. and Cardi B.
    - The New York Times (Feb 11, 2019)
    Exposure on the Grammys can help artists reach a whole new audience. Those in the music industry will be watching the charts this week to see if the artists who performed or won awards at this year's Grammy Awards show got a boost, or stimulus, in sales and downloads.
  10. subversive
    in opposition to an established system or government
    The movie, a subversive take on the building-block toys, collected a disappointing $35 million in the U.S. and Canada, according to preliminary box-office estimates.
    - The Wall Street Journal (Feb 10, 2019)
    The Lego Movie 2 opened in theaters this week and although it made $35 million, this was well below what it was expected to earn. Since the first Lego movie installment came out, both Lego Batman and Lego Ninjago have been released, and industry insiders are saying that moviegoers got tired of the whole animated-plastic-bricks-voiced-by-celebrities concept.

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.