This Week in Words: July 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.
definitions & notes only words
  1. acrimony
    a rough and bitter manner
    Lawmakers return to the Capitol this week, with lingering acrimony among Democrats and Republicans expected to hover over debates on legislation and passage of spending bills needed to avoid a government shutdown.
    - The Wall Street Journal (July 7, 2019)
    Congress is back in session this week, but the chances of real progress being made on the issues before it seem slim. Democrats and Republicans are still bitterly divided over funding to improve the conditions at immigrant detention centers. The rift is unlikely to be healed, especially in light of the news that the President will order raids on undocumented immigrants very soon. Acrimony is resentment, ill will, bad blood.
  2. acumen
    shrewdness shown by keen insight
    But, later it was his business acumen that landed him the CEO job for a home improvement company in California.
    - Good News Network (July 7, 2019)
    Billionaire Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus has pledged to give 80 to 90 percent of his fortune away. Marcus will distribute the money through a foundation he has already established that awards grants for medical research and is involved in improving the lives of veterans. Acumen is mental ability and talent suited to a particular task.
  3. breach
    act in disregard of laws, rules, contracts, or promises
    Iran said on Sunday that within hours it would breach the limits on uranium enrichment set four years ago in an accord with the United States and other international powers that was designed to keep Tehran from producing a nuclear weapon.
    - The New York Times (July 7, 2019)
    Iran has resumed enriching uranium in large enough quantities that it is now in violation of the treaty in entered with several nations, including the U.S. The treaty was signed under President Obama, but President Trump recently pulled the U.S. out of the agreement. Although Iran is still several steps away from creating a nuclear bomb, the fact that it is getting closer has the international community worried.
  4. deluge
    a heavy rain
    The deluge triggered flash flooding and raised fears about the even heavier rains on the way.
    - Los Angeles Times (July 11, 2019)
    Tropical Storm Barry is wreaking havoc on the Gulf Coast of the United States. Before the storm even made landfall, it dumped eight inches of rain on New Orleans in only three hours. When the storm does hit, it could turn into a full-fledged hurricane. There have already been evacuation orders issued for parts of the city, and authorities are preparing for terrible flooding and other consequences of the deluge, or downpour.
  5. disingenuous
    not straightforward or candid
    “It is disingenuous to both celebrate the decline in U.S. CO2 emissions at the same time that one promotes the use of coal power,” he said. “You can’t have both.”
    - The New York Times (July 8, 2019)
    President Trump has recently been highlighting his record on environmental issues, but his critics say that he has nothing to brag about. They question the President’s endorsement of coal power and point out that he remains skeptical of climate change. Supporters of the President often avoid commenting on his environmental record, but point out that by promoting the coal industry, he has fulfilled another campaign promise. To be disingenuous is to be dishonest and insincere.
  6. epicenter
    a point on the Earth's surface directly above an earthquake
    The estimated $100 million in damage would have been much higher had the epicenter been in an area such as Los Angeles, rather than the remote Ridgecrest area, he said.
    - USA Today (July 9, 2019)
    Parts of California are still recovering from the terrible earthquakes that struck on the July 4th weekend. The city of Ridgecrest is located at the epicenter of these quakes and much damage has been reported, but thankfully there have been no fatalities caused by the natural disaster. These earthquakes were the most powerful ones California has experienced in twenty years, and they left cracks in the earth so big that they can be seen from space.
  7. foster
    help develop or grow
    With public officials across the country increasingly using social media to communicate with and foster debate among their constituents, today’s decision should make them think twice before hitting the block button when they don’t like what someone has posted.
    - The Wall Street Journal (July 9, 2019)
    A Federal Court has ruled that it is illegal for President Trump to block people on Twitter. The court ruled that blocking people infringed on their First Amendment right to free speech. The court said that Trump (and all other public officials) forfeits the right to block people because he uses the account to conduct official government business. To foster means to encourage or strengthen.
  8. intractable
    difficult to manage or mold
    "Almost every major single intractable problem, at the back of it, you see a big money interest for whom stopping progress, stopping justice is really important to their bottom line," he said.
    - USA Today (July 9, 2019)
    This week, billionaire Tom Steyer became the latest candidate for the Democratic Nominee for President. Steyer is a harsh critic of President Trump and leads an “Impeach Trump” movement. When something is intractable it is a frustrating challenge, one that does not seem to have a solution.
  9. mandate
    make obligatory
    If the mandate is indeed unconstitutional, the next question is whether the rest of the Affordable Care Act can function without it.
    - The New York Times (July 9, 2019)
    A panel of federal judges held that a main provision of The Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. The A.C.A. or “Obamacare”), the requirement that everyone be required to have health insurance, is unconstitutional. This requirement is vital to the plan, and some experts say the entire A.C.A. is likely to fall apart if this provision is removed.
  10. quixotic
    not sensible about practical matters
    Though he made his fortune in computers, Perot earned his largest platform with a quixotic run for president in 1992, against incumbent George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
    - People (July 9, 2019)
    Former Presidential candidate H. Ross Perot died this week at the age of 89. Perot ran against Bill Clinton and George H. W. Bush in 1992. The Texas billionaire prided himself on being upfront with the American people, and was famous for his entertaining campaign infomercials that touted his political message and economic views. Although some saw Perot’s run for president as a worthwhile pursuit, it was also seen by many as quixotic and out of touch with practical matters.

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