This Week In Words: October 26–November 1, 2019

People power was in effect this week, with protests by citizens and employees making news around the world. We've gathered a crowd of fiery words from these stories to help you demonstrate your vocabulary mastery. 
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definitions & notes only words
  1. ardent
    characterized by intense emotion
    The party is deeply divided over Brexit, with some of its members ardent proponents of leaving while others are equally passionate about staying.
    New York Times (Oct 29, 2019)
    Britain looks set to hold another Election in six weeks, with Brexit very much the main item on the ballot. If Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Conservative Party wins, it's highly likely that Britain will leave the E.U. If he loses, it's probably equally likely that it won't. The country is deeply divided, and while it's a risky move for Johnson there's no guarantee that his opponents will be able to capitalize on it.
  2. balaclava
    a tight knit cap that covers the entire head and neck
    Most were dressed in black, wearing hoodies, with bandanas or balaclavas covering their faces.
    Slate (Oct 29, 2019)
    Barcelona saw protests, some violent, as Catalan nationalists demonstrated in favor of independence from Spain. Catalonia, in Northeastern Spain, has its own language, and activists have been seeking more autonomy for some time. The recent protests, which began peacefully but devolved into arson and chaos, were backed by a mysterious group called "Tsunami Democrátic". If you've watched bank robbers in a movie, you've seen a balaclava; it's a knit ski mask with eye and mouth holes.
  3. ensconce
    fix firmly
    But most memorably, it was Trump who would lead his minions in the cry of “lock her up” – even after he was ensconced in the Oval Office.
    Guardian (Oct 30, 2019)
    President Trump attended game 5 of the World Series in Washington, and was booed loudly by fans when he appeared on the Jumbotron. The crowd began chanting "Lock him up!", a reference to the chants at his rallies during and after the 2016 campaign. A sconce was a fortification in Scottish, so to be ensconced means to be established in a place or position.
  4. expound
    add details, as to an account or idea
    On Tuesday, she expounded on that idea, saying she would apply the ban to any company that is worth more than $150 billion or exercises significant control over its industry’s market.
    Reuters (oct 29, 2019)
    Democratic Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren fleshed out more of her anti-corruption platform, pledging that members of the government could not be hired by companies they formerly regulated for four years after leaving the public sector. Expound is a cool way of saying "explain, but with more details".
  5. glib
    having only superficial plausibility
    While Howell reserved her greatest bemusement for DOJ’s “ glib” efforts to offer a “speedy evolution” on the judicial proceeding question, this was not the harshest language in her opinion.
    Slate (Oct 28, 2019)
    As part of the impeachment inquiry, federal Judge Beryl Howell ruled that the Department of Justice must turn redacted portions of the Mueller Report over to Congress, including Grand Jury transcripts. The DOJ has argued that they should not have to comply. The judge was unsympathetic, saying that their argument would place the President above the law. Glib comes from the Dutch glippern, meaning "slippery", and refers to something that might sound believable, but is dishonest.
  6. impose
    compel to behave in a certain way
    The employees also recommended imposing a silence period ahead of elections and imposing spend caps for politicians.
    Guardian (Oct 28, 2019)
    After Facebook announced that it would allow politicians to run false ads, hundreds of employees signed a letter to Mark Zuckerberg opposing that decision. They expressed concern that spreading misinformation would hurt both the company's reputation and the country at large. Like pose and compose, impose originates in the Latin ponere, "to put" — as in "pose a question".
  7. repudiation
    rejecting or disowning or disclaiming as invalid
    It was, at the time, the most significant bipartisan repudiation of Mr. Trump since he took office.
    New York Times (Oct 29, 2019)
    The House voted to impose more sanctions on Turkey in the wake of their invasion of Syria. Two thirds of Republicans voted with Democrats to pass the bill, which shows just how unpopular the President's decision to essentially abandon the region has been in both parties. Despite that, the sanctions are unlikely to pass the Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said that he doesn't intend to allow a vote on them.
  8. retaliation
    action taken in return for an injury or offense
    Mr. Schumer said he wanted assurances Col. Vindman receive whistleblower protection “both from retaliation and for the personal safety of him and his family” after his character was assailed by the president and Trump allies in the news media.
    Washington Times (Oct 30, 2019)
    Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who was on the now-infamous call between President Trump and the President of Ukraine, testified in the House impeachment inquiry. After his testimony, which was damaging to the President, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said that Vindman should receive whistleblower protection for himself and his family. Retaliatio means "revenge" in Latin, so it's easy to see where retaliation originated.
  9. sectarian
    of or relating to a subdivision of a larger religious group
    “For the first time, people want to bring down the political sectarian system that’s been governing them, and this poses an existential crisis for political parties that rely on sectarian identities.”
    New York Times (Oct 29, 2019)
    Lebanon's Prime Minister resigned in the face of huge protests that paralyzed the country for two weeks. Demonstrators are furious at the whole elite for chronic corruption and inequality that has crippled the economy. The government recognizes 18 separate religious groups, who share power, which makes the situation complex to say the least. Sectarian refers to different sects within a religion, and to different religions as well.
  10. throng
    a large gathering of people
    The women throng round them by the hundreds and prevent them from moving.
    Fox News (Oct 29, 2019)
    After the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Northern Syria, the future of ISIS remains a primary concern. Apart from members held prisoner by the Kurds, many of whom have escaped in the chaos, the families of these fighters are also often true believers. These women and children live in prison camps, and observers worry that these camps are hotbeds for further radicalization.
Created on October 30, 2019 (updated October 30, 2019)

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