This Week In Words: June 20–26, 2020

Stories about an Arctic heat wave, a worsening U.S. pandemic, and the President's Tulsa rally lead off this list of vocabulary from the week's news.

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definitions & notes only words
  1. bilateral
    having two sides or parts
    The clash in the Galwan Valley, in the disputed Himalayan territory of Ladakh, took place on 15 June, weeks after high-level military commanders from both nations agreed to "peacefully resolve the situation in the border areas in accordance with various bilateral agreements."
    BBC (June 25, 2020)
    New satellite imagery shows that China has constructed tents, bunkers, and storage facilities on its contested border with India. Talks are underway to lower tensions between the two countries, neither of which recognizes the other's claims to the disputed territory in the Himalayas. Lateral comes from the Latin lateralis, relating to the side of the body, so bilateral refers to something with two sides.
  2. delegate
    a person appointed or elected to represent others
    The Democratic National Committee said in a statement that official business, including the votes to nominate Biden and his yet-to-be-named running mate, will take place virtually, with delegates being asked not to travel to Milwaukee.
    AP (June 24, 2020)
    The Democratic convention will be an almost entirely online event. Joe Biden will accept the nomination in person in Milwaukee, but it will not take place in a crowded arena as in past years. Democrats chose Wisconsin because it was one of the three states that helped give President Trump a victory in the Electoral College.
  3. exonerated
    freed from any question of guilt
    Trump used the document to argue that Flynn should be " exonerated" and that the charges should be dropped.
    CNN (June 24, 2020)
    A Federal appeals court ordered the judge in the Michael Flynn case to dismiss the case, causing widespread protest that the Justice Department's move to drop the case was intended to protect a political ally of the President. The judge may still appeal this decision. Onus is Latin for "burden," so to exonerate someone is to relieve them of a burden, in this case a guilty plea for lying to the FBI.
  4. microcosm
    a miniature model of something
    Once viewed inside the White House and Trump's campaign as a reset button for a presidency beset by crises and self-inflicted wounds, Saturday evening's campaign rally in Tulsa instead became plagued with pitfalls, a disappointing microcosm of the blindspots, denial and wishful thinking that have come to guide the President...
    CNN (June 21, 2020)
    The President's rally in Tulsa was about one-third full, causing him to become furious with campaign staff. Many people appear to have stayed home out of concern that being indoors with a large group of unmasked people would expose them to Covid-19, and six campaign staffers tested positive before the event. A couple of Secret Service agents tested positive afterward, causing a number of agents to be quarantined.
  5. proactive
    causing something to happen rather than waiting to respond
    Officials said young people with no symptoms, but who are in regular contact with vulnerable populations, should proactively get tested to make sure they do not spread it.
    Reuters (June 25, 2020)
    The CDC has estimated that Covid-19 infection rates could be ten times higher than official totals say, meaning that over 20 million Americans may have contracted the virus since winter. This new estimate is based on serological testing that detects antibodies in the blood. If accurate, this means that the death rate is lower than previously thought but the infection and transmissibility rates are much higher.
  6. procure
    get by special effort
    Ms. Laupp said that many of the people who shared her video added commentary encouraging people to procure the tickets with fake names and phone numbers.
    New York Times (June 21, 2020)
    Though fears of catching the virus kept most Tulsans at home during the President's rally, the huge attendance numbers that the campaign boasted about beforehand were largely the result of teenagers using TikTok to encourage their friends to sign up for tickets using fake names and numbers. Besides embarrassing the President, all the fake names and numbers mean that the data the campaign gathered — very important for fundraising and get-out-the-vote efforts — is mostly useless.
  7. ramification
    a consequence, especially one that causes complications
    "Methane that originates in the Arctic does not stay in the Arctic. It has global ramifications." (June 24, 2020)
    The Arctic Russian town of Verkhoyansk set a record temperature of 100.4˚Fahrenheit, causing climate scientists to worry that global warming is becoming increasingly severe. Warm weather, combined with much more widespread forest fires, cause permafrost to melt faster, releasing tons of carbon previously trapped in the frozen ground. To ramify is to form into branches, like a tree, a river delta, or blood vessels. Ramifications are the complex results of an action or decision.
  8. repudiation
    rejecting or disowning or disclaiming as invalid
    That prospect, which would lump American visitors in with Russians and Brazilians as unwelcome, is a stinging blow to American prestige in the world and a repudiation of President Trump’s handling of the virus in the United States, which has more than 2.3 million cases and upward of 120,000 deaths, more than any other country.
    New York Times (June 23, 2020)
    As Europe begins to reopen, the E.U. is putting America on a list of countries whose residents will be barred from entering. The U.S. is currently the epicenter of the pandemic, with cases continuing to rise, so European officials say that in order to reopen safely they need to prevent travelers from entering. Other countries on the list include China, Russia, and Brazil.
  9. staunch
    firm and dependable especially in loyalty
    The dissenting voices against the cuts even include Ted Cruz, the Republican senator from Texas and a staunch Trump ally.
    Guardian (June 25, 2020)
    As Covid-19 cases skyrocket in many states, the White House announced that it was cutting funding for testing sites in some of the worst-hit states. Politicians from both parties expressed outrage, calling the decision "harmful and irresponsible." Seven of the thirteen sites slated for cuts are in Texas, which is seeing record high levels of infection.
  10. upheaval
    a violent disturbance
    The consideration of changing Pentagon policy follows nearly two months of social upheaval following the death of George Floyd, a Black man in Minneapolis who died after a white police officer knelt on his neck.
    USA Today (June 25, 2020)
    The Marine Corps and Navy have already banned Confederate imagery, and now the Pentagon is considering a ban that will include all of the U.S. armed forces. High-ranking officials have also expressed openness to renaming military bases that are named for Confederate figures. Upheaval originated as a geological term, describing the way mountains are formed by tectonic activity. Now it describes any major shift, disruption, or transformation, especially in society.
Created on June 25, 2020 (updated June 26, 2020)

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