This Week In Culture: March 21–27, 2020

Some suggestions for activities to enjoy at home, some posts by celebrities to entertain you, and some news about Royals and Olympics all contributed words to this week's list of vocabulary from the culture and sports beats.

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definitions & notes only words
  1. apocalyptic
    of or relating to a catastrophe
    Though written before our current crisis, the apocalyptic lyrics fit the moment perfectly: “I’m not gonna play safe and sound,” Atkins sings, “When the world comes tumblin’, tumblin’ down.”
    Rolling Stone (Mar 25, 2020)
    Singer Nicole Atkins joins the long list of musicians who are broadcasting performances from home after cancelling tours and live appearances. She recorded a video for Rolling Stone's "In My Room" IGTV series, playing four songs. Other artists who have performed for the show include Angelique Kidjo, John Fogerty, and Brian Wilson.
  2. communion
    sharing thoughts and feelings
    Communion moves beyond walls.
    Washington Times (Mar 24, 2020)
    Britney Spears caused a stir when she posted a quote from Mimi Zhu on her Instagram that called for redistributing wealth. Some fans criticized her, saying she should start with her own wealth, but many of her nearly 24 million followers supported the statement.
  3. fickle
    liable to sudden unpredictable change
    Meanwhile, the broader American viewership is glued to a popular unscripted series about the fickle nature of love that's currently streaming on Netflix.
    Salon (Mar 24, 2020)
    Ava DuVernay gave an interview about her show Cherish The Day, which ends its first season this week. She spoke about her desire to portray African-American stories and characters that are not often seen on television, and about all the ways that the show's audience are connecting and discussing it online. Fickle is an Old English word from the same root as fake. It used to mean "false" or "deceitful."
  4. logistics
    supplying an operation with labor and materials as needed
    They’ll hold a teleconference with the 33 international sports federations on Thursday to begin studying calendars and logistics.
    Washington Post (Mar 25, 2020)
    The 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo have been officially postponed, likely for a year. The IOC (International Olympic Committee) and Japanese officials said that the pandemic makes holding the games this summer impossible. No details were given about the future date, and there are many obstacles to rescheduling such a massive event.
  5. monarch
    a nation's ruler usually by hereditary right
    Last week, precautions were taken to ensure the Queen was out of harm’s way, with the monarch relocating March 19 from London to Windsor Castle a week early for the Easter period, where she will remain indefinitely.
    Variety (Mar 25, 2020)
    Prince Charles, son of Queen Elizabeth II and heir to the British throne, has tested positive for the coronavirus. His wife does not have the virus. The couple are self-isolating at Balmoral Castle in Scotland. A recent statement says that the Prince has some symptoms but is in good health. The Queen has relocated to Windsor Castle outside London, because a queen can move in any direction.
  6. normalcy
    the state of being within the range of regular functioning
    Maintaining a sense of normalcy in households can get tricky when quarantining because of coronavirus.
    USA Today (Mar 25, 2020)
    If you have a dog, you're in luck! Pets of any kind can help us through periods of boredom and solitude, and dogs especially give us an excuse to get outside and move around. They are also usually willing to help you make videos, and possibly even wear costumes if you ask nicely. Now's your chance to make that viral video you've always dreamed of...
  7. palliative
    moderating pain or sorrow by making it easier to bear
    Now, though, as the doom of a pandemic threatens to undermine our collective mental health as much as our physical well-being, I understand knitting’s palliative power.
    New Yorker (Mar 25, 2020)
    Besides recommendations for the BBC In Our Time podcast and the Diary of a Wimpy Kid movie, this piece also suggests knitting as an excellent way to stimulate and calm your mind while stuck indoors for long periods. Palliative is a Latin word that refers to anything that lessens the symptoms of an illness without treating the underlying sickness.
  8. pestilence
    any epidemic disease with a high death rate
    "A pestilence isn’t a thing made to man’s measure; therefore we tell ourselves that pestilence is a mere bogy of the mind, a bad dream that will pass away.”
    Guardian (Mar 25, 2020)
    Because we can't sit and read books all day,* books on tape make for excellent entertainment while we're cooking, or taking a walk, or posting videos of our dogs wearing costumes. Whatever author or genre you're into, it's never been easier to download a gripping story to your device and be transported far from your bedroom.

    *Maybe we can...
  9. redeem
    restore the honor or worth of
    One redeeming part of the past few weeks has been seeing how athletes are passing the time during their unexpected vacations.
    Sports Illustrated (Mar 25, 2020)
    Golfer Mike Trout posted a video to Instagram showing him hitting a golf ball off his balcony into a plastic cup on the floor below. Many athletes and celebrities are using social media to entertain themselves and their fans during this period of home confinement. Redimere is a Latin verb meaning "to buy back." This became the French rédimer, which meant "to remove a burden" or, in the religious sense, "to free from sin."
  10. throes
    violent pangs of suffering
    And on Monday night, those responses finally came, reigniting the long-running feud in the throes of a pandemic — a fact that both of them seemed uncomfortably aware of.
    Washington Post (Mar 24, 2020)
    The feud between Taylor Swift and Kanye West flared up again after audio of their 2016 phone call was leaked. The audio appears to support Swift's version of events leading up to the release of West's song Famous, and she said as much on Instagram. Kim Kardashian replied, blaming Swift for bringing it up again. Both parties appeared embarrassed to be talking about it during a global pandemic.
Created on March 25, 2020 (updated March 26, 2020)

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