WORD LISTS

Do "Incendiary" "Diatribes" Make for Good Diplomacy? A Quick Current Events Vocab Quiz

January 22, 2014
Follow peace talks in Syria, the discredited governor of Virginia's indictment, and continuing coverage of Obama and the NSA....from a vocabularian's perspective!

Words drawn from New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post coverage.
diatribe
When you see the word diatribe in a story about diplomatic talks, things probably aren't going well. Diplomacy is for smooth talkers; diatribes usually involve fists pounding on tables.
But Mr. Moallem launched into a diatribe in which he accused Arab nations of financing terrorism and conspiring to destroy his country.
--Sharp Divisions Come to Fore as Peace Talks on Syria Begin, The New York Times, Jan. 22, 2014
incendiary
Incendiary refers to things that light on fire or cause fires--such as incendiary bombs. Here, here it describes the kind of speech that's likely to start fires in a figurative sense--in other words, fights.
Mr. Ban urged Mr. Moallem to wrap up his speech and to avoid his incendiary attacks.
--Sharp Divisions Come to Fore as Peace Talks on Syria Begin, The New York Times, Jan. 22, 2014
injunction
When you tell someone not to do something, you're issuing an injunction against that activity. You'll hear this word in legal contexts, such as when a court issues an injunction against a particular practice during a trial on the legality of that practice.
After Mr. Moallem finished, Mr. Ban said that his injunction that participants take a constructive approach “had been broken.”
--Sharp Divisions Come to Fore as Peace Talks on Syria Begin, The New York Times, Jan. 22, 2014
allude
Allude's a word you'll encounter when an author or artist makes reference to something but doesn't name it. They're "making an allusion." The same use applies to conversational references, as you can see here.
“We want to be sure we have a Syrian partners in this room,” Mr. Jarba said, alluding to the conference’s goal to establish a transitional administration.
--Sharp Divisions Come to Fore as Peace Talks on Syria Begin, The New York Times, Jan. 22, 2014
credible
Credible, which means "believable," comes from the Latin root cred which means "believe" and also gives us incredible, credit, discredit, creed, and credulous.
The criminal prosecution marks a stunning crash for a politician who was considered for the Republican vice presidential nomination in 2012 and who, just a year ago, was considered a credible prospective candidate for president.
--Former Va. Gov. McDonnell and wife charged in gifts case, The Washington Post, Jan. 21, 2014
depict
See pict inside depict to remember that this word is about making a picture. You can do it with paint, with words, with hand gestures. Essentially, the word means to describe.
It depicts an elected official in financial trouble who sought help from a businessman with something to gain.
--Former Va. Gov. McDonnell and wife charged in gifts case, The Washington Post, Jan. 21, 2014
inscribe
Another productive Latin root! The scrib root here in inscribe tells you this word's about writing, as in a scribe, or "one who writes." In this case, it's writing that goes in, as in carving.
They include black and white Louis Vuitton shoes, two gold Oscar de la Renta dresses, a blue Giorgio Armani jacket and two matching dresses, two sets of golf clubs, two iPhones and a silver Rolex inscribed “71st Governor of Virginia.”
--Former Va. Gov. McDonnell and wife charged in gifts case, The Washington Post, Jan. 21, 2014
transparency
Transparency is the quality of being able to see through something. Think: window glass. Know the difference between transparent, translucent where "light flows through," and opaque, where light is blocked. So what Yahoo's CEO is asking for is not to change privacy rules, just to be able to see them clearly.
Marissa Mayer, Yahoo Inc. YHOO -1.22% 's chief executive, called on the Obama administration to provide greater transparency on the data collected by the U.S.
--Yahoo's Mayer Calls for Greater NSA Transparency, The Wall Street Journal, Jan. 22, 2014
consternation
Think of consternation as a warning word. You are afraid of something, but it hasn't happened yet. To feel consternation is more serious than to simply worry, but essentially they mean the same thing.
In overhauling the nation’s spy programs, President Obama vowed on Friday that he “will end” the bulk telephone data program that has caused so much consternation — “as it currently exists.”
--A Crucial Caveat in Obama’s Vow on Phone Data, The New York Times, Jan. 17, 2014
wary
Another great word for a worried state of mind, wary is all about being watchful. In the case of the NSA and privacy concerns, it describes the state we're in of being afraid not only of what we're learning but of what we assume we still don't know.
The series of surveillance changes offered by Mr. Obama on Friday were intended to reassure a wary public without uprooting programs that he argued have helped protect the country.
--A Crucial Caveat in Obama’s Vow on Phone Data, The New York Times, Jan. 17, 2014

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