This Week In Culture: October 12–18, 2019

From a hip-hop festival to running a 1:59 marathon to Simone Biles becoming the G.O.A.T., we've collected the choicest words from this week's entertainment, tech, and sports stories. Enjoy!

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definitions & notes only words
  1. defamatory
    harmful and often untrue; tending to discredit or malign
    The firm’s lawsuit accuses Netflix of making false and defamatory statements, seeks damages and demands an injunction blocking Netflix from streaming the series...
    Guardian (Oct 15, 2019)
    A company that teaches interrogation techniques to police departments has filed a lawsuit against Netflix for the use of its name in Ava DuVernay's miniseries When They See Us. "The Reid Technique", named for John E. Reid and Associates, was most famously used to coerce false confessions from the Central Park Five, the subjects of the miniseries, in 1989. The suit demands that the network delete all references to the technique.
  2. kiosk
    small area set off by walls for special use
    Fans will also have a chance to take part in the process by voting at or at an interactive kiosk at the museum in Cleveland.
    Rolling Stone (Oct 15, 2019)
    Nominations for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame's 2020 class have been announced, and include such legends as The Notorious B.I.G., Whitney Houston, and Soundgarden. Despite being absolutely huge in Germany, David Hasselhoff was inexplicably excluded from the list for like the 20th time in a row. Kiosk comes to us from the Persian kushkh, which meant a pavilion or portico.
  3. mesmerize
    attract strongly, as if with a magnet
    It’s a sequel, a rethink, a fairy tale, a battle epic and a showcase for the latest in visual effects and fetish couture, both adorning the frame of the ever-mesmerizing Angelina Jolie.
    LA Times (Oct 15, 2019)
    Mistress of Evil, the new Disney sequel to Maleficient, stars Angelina Jolie and Michelle Pfeiffer. After the success of the first film, people are watching to see how it fares against Joker, which has already earned more than $200 million. Mesmerize is derived from the name of Friedrich Mesmer, an Austrian doctor who believed in a force he called "animal magnetism". His attempts to put his patients into trances ultimately led to the modern field of hypnotism.
  4. modicum
    a small or moderate or token amount
    The earbud itself slides down into your ear, providing a modicum of passive noise reduction, but Google says the design is vented to reduce discomfort and provide some outside sound.
    – The Verge (Oct 15, 2019)
    Google announced their new earbuds, called Pixel Buds, which will be available next spring for the low, low price of $179. They'll feature automatic volume adjustment based on ambient sound levels and long-range bluetooth pairing. Unlike Apple AirPods, they'll also come in four colors, so you can choose which hue you think will be easiest to look for when you inevitably lose one of them.
  5. plagiarism
    taking someone's words or ideas as if they were your own
    Lizzo has been accused for a second time of plagiarism over her hit single Truth Hurts, which recently spent six weeks at No 1 in the US charts.
    Guardian (Oct 15, 2019)
    Lizzo has been accused by a second person of stealing parts of her hit song "Truth Hurts" without giving proper credit. Singer Mina Lioness claims she wrote one of the key lyrics, and producer/songwriter Justin Raisen claims he wrote the chords, melody, and some of the lyrics. The Latin word plagiarius means "kidnapper", so it should be no surprise that plagiarism is a serious offense that can get a person in a lot of trouble.
  6. polarize
    become divided in a conflict or contrasting situation
    “[W]e recognize that we’re operating in an increasingly complex and polarized political culture,” Twitter said in the blog post.
    Variety (Oct 16, 2019)
    Twitter explained in a blog post what circumstances could possibly prompt it to delete one of President Trumps's tweets, or even block his account. World leaders are given exemptions to many of the platform's terms of service, but the post laid out certain violations, including overt threats against an individual or promoting terrorism. Polarized comes from magnetism, as in the poles of a magnet or the poles of our planet: oppositely charged points.
  7. riotous
    unrestrained by convention or morality
    This was something like the platonic ideal of a Rolling Loud performance — modern, young, deconstructed, riotous.
    New York Times (Oct 14, 2019)
    Rolling Loud, the hip-hop mega-tour, took place in Queens last weekend. 60,000 people attended on each of the two days. The relative lack of performers from New York showed how much the genre has evolved into a national industry. Riotous helpfully means what it sounds like: wild, out of control. Riot is a French word, originally meaning "dispute", "disturbance", or "din" (a loud noise).
  8. seismic
    subject to or caused by an earthquake or earth vibration
    Heat coach Erik Spoelstra compared Miami’s move to bring Butler in to one of the other seismic moves in franchise history - the one, early in Pat Riley’s tenure with the team, that landed Alonzo Mourning.
    Washington Times (Oct 15, 2019)
    Though many see him as the replacement for Dwyane Wade, who retired after 16 seasons with the Miami Heat, Jimmy Butler says he's not interested in that role. Fans, however, have high hopes for Butler, and see his work ethic and outspoken — even obnoxious — nature as being excellent fits with the team's personality. Seismic refers to earthquakes and tremors, but can also refer to a major, disruptive change in an unrelated field.
  9. voluble
    marked by a ready flow of speech
    As the miles clicked past, and Kipchoge stayed rigidly on the correct pace to break two hours, the spectators, packed several people deep against the barriers along the route, grew more voluble.
    New Yorker (Oct 12, 2019)
    Last Saturday, in Vienna, Eliud Kipchoge ran a marathon in under two hours. He beat the mark by twenty seconds. Though it won't count as a world record, the feat nonetheless proved that it's possible. He was surrounded by pace-setting runners and a vehicle driving ahead of him projected a laser on the road showing where he needed to be in order to beat the clock.
  10. waver
    pause or hold back in uncertainty or unwillingness
    Since then, her confidence has wavered and she's said beam causes her the greatest nerves of any event. (Oct 14, 2019)
    After winning her 24th medal, which was her 18th gold, Simone Biles is now the most-medalled gymnast in the history of the world championships. Widely viewed as the G.O.A.T., the greatest of all time, she also added a fourth skill to the list of feats named for her: a dismount simply called "The Biles".
Created on October 16, 2019 (updated October 17, 2019)

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