This Week in Words: April 6–12, 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.
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Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. berate
    censure severely or angrily
    Last May — six months after taking over at the department — The New York Times reported that Ms. Nielsen had drafted a resignation letter after being berated for what the president called her failure to help stop illegal immigration.
    - The New York Times (Apr 7, 2019)
    Secretary of Homeland Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen resigned this week. Nielsen was responsible for overseeing the immigration crisis on the southern border. President Trump had a history of publicly criticizing the Secretary, publicly berating her on Twitter and to the press.
  2. comply
    act in accordance with someone's rules, commands, or wishes
    If the Treasury directs the Internal Revenue Service to ultimately comply with the request, documents that the president has long sought to keep private would be turned over to Mr. Neal, though they couldn’t be revealed publicly without a committee vote.
    - The Wall Street Journal (Apr 10, 2019)
    House Democrats have subpoenaed the I.R.S. for the release of President Trump’s tax returns, but the Treasury Department says it will not deliver them any time soon. While presidential candidates are not required to release their tax filings, it has been customary for nominees to make these records available to the public so that voters can see what financial interests their potential president may have.
  3. degeneration
    the process of declining from a higher to a lower level
    Astronauts are currently required to fight the negative effects of weightlessness by spending the bulk of their days on the space station exercising – but if the study proves to be successful, then researchers could develop a less exhausting method of fighting physical degeneration.
    - Good News Network (Apr 7, 2019)
    German researchers are paying people to stay in bed for two entire months. Hold on! Before you ask where you can apply for this gig, there’s a catch — subjects of the scientific study cannot get up for any reason (although the bed does tilt to different positions). The purpose of this experiment it to imitate the muscle degeneration that happens to astronauts when they experience extended periods of weightlessness in space.
  4. endemic
    native; originating where it is found
    While Barr said that he did not view surveillance abuse as "a problem endemic to the FBI," he suggested that there was likely "a failure among a group of leaders there."
    - USA Today (Apr 10, 2019)
    U.S. Attorney General William Barr testified before Congress this week and answered extensive questions about the Mueller report, which he said would be released in about a week. Barr also expressed an interest in opening an investigation into the investigation, which he believes may involve the F.B.I. spying on the Trump campaign. When something is endemic it is tightly linked to the place or culture it comes from.
  5. extradite
    hand over to the authorities of another country
    WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was arrested Thursday to face a U.S. charge that he conspired to hack military computers after Ecuador's government ended his seven years of self-imposed exile and expelled him from its London embassy. Assange, 47, was arrested by authorities in the United Kingdom to be extradited to the United States.
    - USA Today (Apr 11, 2019)
    Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, was arrested this week after eluding authorities for seven years by holing up at the Ecuadorian embassy in London. Assange is accused of conspiring to obtain and release classified U.S. military documents, which he gave to journalists and published on his website. British authorities now have Assange in custody, and he is expected to be extradited to the U.S. to face prosecution on computer hacking charges.
  6. fraught
    marked by distress
    Netanyahu has won his fifth term as Israel's Prime Minister, ringing in a victory for the country's right wing and religious community and threatening an even more fraught relationship with the Palestinians.
    - CNBC (Apr 10, 2019)
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was reelected to a fifth term in office. During the last days of the campaign, Netanyahu proposed the annexation of the West Bank, an area where many Palestinians live. If Netanyahu were to follow through on this, it would almost certainly escalate tensions in a region that has already experienced much violence over the years. When a situation is fraught, things are very tense, and there doesn’t seem to be a solution.
  7. recrimination
    mutual accusations
    With less than 48 hours before Britain’s scheduled departure, the European Union extended the exit deadline early Thursday until the end of October, avoiding a devastating cliff-edge divorce but settling none of the issues that have plunged British politics into chaos, dysfunction and recrimination. - The New York Times (Apr 10, 2019)
    After months of negotiations and multiple failed attempts at an orderly exit from the European Union, Britain has been granted an extension to work out a plan for Brexit. The new deadline is October 31, but skeptics are already saying that this may not be enough time to work out a deal that all parties can agree to.
  8. rite
    any customary observance or practice
    In a rite of spring for Colorado, temperatures in Fort Collins are plummeting from Tuesday's high of 77 degrees to the 20s by Wednesday night, the weather service predicts.
    - USA Today (Apr 10, 2019)
    A bomb cyclone is bearing down on the United States, bringing blizzard conditions to six states, including Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska and Kansas. Meteorologists are warning people of huge temperature drops and all kinds of precipitation, including thunder snow. A rite is a custom or occurrence that is repeated and becomes a tradition.
  9. streamline
    contour economically or efficiently
    Aiming to streamline oil and gas pipeline projects, President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed two executive orders making it harder for states to block construction because of environmental concerns.
    - USA Today (Apr 11, 2019)
    President Trump signed executive orders to undo environmental regulations that were put in place to protect the environment, but also have the effect of making new energy projects more difficult and expensive. Critics call this an abuse of the President's power and bad policy, while supporters see this as Trump following through on campaign promises.
  10. visceral
    obtained through intuition rather than from reasoning
    On Wednesday morning that dark vision became a visceral reality. When the image was put up on the screen in Washington, cheers and gasps, followed by applause, broke out.
    - The New York Times (Apr 10, 2019)
    Astronomers released the first picture of a black hole that's located in the Virgo constellation. While it’s impossible to actually see the hole itself, the image captured the dust and matter right at the event horizon of the black hole, and the shadow cast by the black hole in that material, thereby making it visible. The circular shape of the shadow that can be seen in the image is considered preliminary confirmation of Einstein’s theory of black holes.

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