This Week In Words: February 29–March 6, 2020

Stories about Super Tuesday, the fight against the COVID-19 virus, and devastating Tennessee tornadoes all contributed words to this week's list of news-related vocabulary.

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definitions & notes only words
  1. anthropogenic
    relating to or resulting from the influence of human beings
    "This is very important information, as the capacity of tropical forests to capture anthropogenic carbon emissions could be severely impaired.”
    Guardian (Mar 4, 2020)
    Forests, which historically have been excellent at absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, are doing so at a lower rate than before. Deforestation, drought, and higher temperatures reduce the area covered by trees and the efficiency with which they store carbon. Along with melting polar ice that exposes more dark, heat-absorbing water to the sun, is likely to accelerate climate change in the coming years.
  2. condone
    excuse, overlook, or make allowances for
    Republican Sen. James Inhofe, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said he sees “no reason to condone the Party’s actions by allowing the 2022 Winter Olympics to take place in Beijing,” and called on the IOC to “relocate the games to a country where the government respects the dignity and human rights of all people.”
    Washington Times (Mar 4, 2020)
    A bipartisan bill in the Senate requests that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) move the 2022 Winter Olympics out of China. The bill states that because of China's extensive human rights violations, Beijing is not a fitting host for the games. China currently has over a million Muslims held in detention centers, and other minorities have no rights. Condone comes from the Latin verb condonare, meaning "forgive" or "pardon."
  3. grapple
    work hard to come to terms with or deal with something
    A day after the deadliest tornado outbreak in Tennessee since at least 2011, a state of emergency is still in effect as tens of thousands of residents grappled with no electric power, disrupted gas and water lines and impassable roads.
    Washington Post (Mar 4, 2020)
    Tornadoes swept across Tennessee, doing massive damage and killing at least 24 people. The fast-moving storms did not give authorities much time to issue warnings, which meant many people did not have time to get to shelter. Nashville and other towns suffered major property damage, with dozens of buildings flattened, and widespread electrical outages. Grapple comes from the Old French grappelle, a hook used for harvesting grapes.
  4. hegemony
    the dominance or leadership of one social group over others
    Colonel Li Huamin, spokesman for the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Southern Theater Command, lashed out at the US for “acting as a hegemony (sic) in ignorance of international laws and rules.”
    Asia Times (Mar 2, 2020)
    A Chinese navy ship fired a laser at an American surveillance plane flying a mission over the South China Sea. For years, China has been increasing its military presence in the area, specifically by building a number of military bases on artificial islands constructed on reefs. The U.S. does not recognize Chinese control over the area, and continues to patrol the air and waters there. This is a point of serious tension between the two countries.
  5. iteration
    the act or process of doing or saying again
    Mr. Esper’s directive, delivered last week during a video teleconference call with combatant commanders around the world, is the latest iteration of Mr. Trump’s efforts to manage public fears over the disease, even as it continues to spread around the world.
    New York Times (Mar 2, 2020)
    The White House took control of messaging about the COVID-19 epidemic, putting Vice President Pence in charge. The Secretary of Defense told military commanders not to give any orders or issue any statements about the military's response to the disease that might "surprise" the administration. There are over 75,000 U.S. troops in countries currently effected by the epidemic.
  6. negligible
    so small as to be meaningless; insignificant
    While many of the debates this campaign have had negligible effects, that one mattered.
    BBC (Mar 4, 2020)
    After spending half a billion dollars on his presidential campaign and only winning American Samoa, billionaire former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg ended his run. He got off to a quick start after blanketing the airwaves with ads, but after Senator Elizabeth Warren's attacks on his record during the Las Vegas debate, his poll numbers dropped dramatically. Negligible shares a Latin root with neglect, and it means something so unimportant that you can ignore it.
  7. placate
    cause to be more favorably inclined
    Moon’s critics dismissed the limited step as an empty gesture to placate Koreans demanding a full ban.
    New Yorker (Mar 4, 2020)
    South Korean President Moon Jae-in received harsh criticism for his administration's handling of the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak in that country. He did not bar entry to travelers from China in the early days, even after other countries did so. Not long after, he declared that the virus had been contained, but it quickly spread throughout the country. Observes say that Moon's party may suffer in the April midterm elections after his mishandling of the crisis.
  8. precinct
    an administrative district of a city or town
    Precincts across the state were still counting votes after midnight.
    New York Times (Mar 3, 2020)
    Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions will have to compete in a runoff election after he did not get enough votes to win the Republican primary for his former Senate seat in Alabama. Tommy Tuberville, a former college football coach who ran against Sessions, made a strong showing that surprised many people. The winner of the runoff will challenge Democrat Doug Jones in the general election in November.
  9. resurgent
    rising again as to new life and vigor
    Former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg on Wednesday exited a Democratic presidential race reshaped by a resurgent former vice president Joe Biden’s surprisingly strong showing on Super Tuesday, which so far has wiped out the delegate lead of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).
    Washington Post (Mar 3, 2020)
    Shortly before Super Tuesday's Democratic primary elections, both Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg dropped out of the race. Both candidates quickly endorsed Joe Biden. This helped Biden win ten of the twelve states in a dramatic turnaround for his campaign, pushing him ahead of Bernie Sanders in the delegate count. Something that surges rises up; if it resurges then it rises up again, often after a period of reduced activity.
  10. vaccine
    injection of weakened or dead microbes to create antibodies
    The package includes more than $3 billion for research and the development of vaccines and $2.2 billion that will help in prevention, preparedness and responding to the threat of the virus.
    USA Today (Mar 4, 2020)
    House and Senate leaders agreed on a compromise funding bill to respond to the coronavirus. The $8.3 billion will go towards preventing the spread of the disease as well as treating those who become sick. The bill also provides $300 million so that whenever a vaccine is developed it will be available to anyone regardless of their ability to pay.
Created on March 4, 2020 (updated March 5, 2020)

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