WORD LISTS

This Week in Words: March 9 - 15, 2019

March 14, 2019
News flash! We’ve rounded up the top words heard, read, debated and discussed in the news this week. Take a look back at the week that was, vocabulary style.
antithetical
Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, was sentenced to 43 years in prison for criminal convictions relating to his work as a consultant. That sentence was later doubled by another federal judge, and immediately after the sentencing Manafort was charged with several counts of fraud in New York state. This is significant because a presidential pardon, should Trump grant one, would only forgive Manafort for his federal crimes, not for any state crimes.
Judge Jackson also said Mr. Manafort “was hiding the truth of who he represented from policymakers and the public,” and said it was “ antithetical to the very American values he told me he championed.”
- The Wall Street Journal (Mar 13, 2019)
apprehension
British Prime Minister Theresa May’s latest Brexit plan was defeated in Parliament this week. It is customary in Britain for the Prime Minister to resign on the heels of such a major defeat, but May did not step down. May is barely hanging on to her office, and doesn’t seem to have a political friend in the world right now, but her husband Phillip, who is mentioned in this sentence, came to the vote to show his support.
Philip rarely shows up for her events unless she is in trouble, and a ripple of apprehension went through the press gallery. This was serious.
- The New York Times (Mar 12, 2019)
geriatric
A hospital for abused and neglected elephants has opened in the Uttar Pradesh region of India. Using the latest technology, the hospital attempts to treat and heal the injured and the old pachyderms. A total of 26 elephants have been treated at the hospital since it opened in November. Geriatric is the adjective used to describe something having to do old things, and while it most often describes old people, it can also describe elderly elephants.
Since most of the animals are in poor physical condition due to years of neglect and malnutrition, the hospital has been specially designed to treat injured, sick, and geriatric elephants.
- Good News Network (Mar 11, 2019)
inconsolable
There was a school shooting this week in Brazil, near the city of São Paulo. Eight people were killed dead, and at least ten more were injured. The two gunmen committed suicide during the attack. Brazilian police said that the attackers were inspired by the 1999 school shooting in Columbine, Colorado.
We still can’t believe what happened in that school,” said Gilberto Umezu, 59, the brother in law of a school coordinator killed in the shooting “She was their first victim.…We are inconsolable.”
- The Wall Street Journal (Mar 13, 2019)
moratorium
The Governor of California has decided to stop executing prisoners on death row, issuing a moratorium on the punishment by executive order. Governor Gavin Newsom is ideologically opposed to the death penalty, and worries that the death penalty may be misapplied to wrongly convicted individuals. There have been criminal cases across the U.S. where new evidence, such as DNA testing, have cleared innocent people who were convicted of crimes.
The 737 inmates on California’s largest-in-the-nation death row are getting a reprieve from Gov. Gavin Newsom, who plans to sign an executive order Wednesday placing a moratorium on executions.
- Time (Mar 13, 2019)
oscillation
A plane crash in Ethiopia on Sunday that killed 157 has resulted in the grounding of the new Boeing 737 Max 8. President Trump, going against FAA recommendations but joining several other nations, ordered that the planes not be used on Wednesday. There was another plane crash involving the same make of plane in October of last year in Indonesia, and investigators are worried that a similar malfunction caused both crashes.
Marc Garneau, Canada’s transport minister, had said that satellite tracing data of the vertical path of the Ethiopian jet at take off and comparable data from the Lion Air crash showed similar “vertical fluctuations” and “ oscillations.”
- The New York Times (Mar 13, 2019)
prone
Researchers in Scotland have restored the vision of eight people using stem cells that rebuild the cornea, a delicate part of the eye and that is prone to damage as people age.
The revolutionary treatment may lead to a cure for blindness caused by damage to the cornea – the protective surface of the eye. It often becomes clouded in older people through injury or infection.In more underdeveloped countries, children and younger people are also increasingly prone.
- Good News Network (Mar 10, 2019)
spirited
A building in Lagos, Nigeria that contained residences as well as two small schools collapsed, killing eight people. So far, more than thirty people have been pulled alive from the rubble. Some observers are blaming poor government regulation for the collapse. There have been similar tragedies in the recent past — the collapse of a Nigerian church in 2016 in killed more than 150 people.
Hundreds of people were gathered at the site, on Lagos Island, wailing as motionless children were removed from the rubble and spirited by ambulance to a nearby hospital.
- The New York Times (Mar 13, 2019)
stifle
Spotify is suing Apple, claiming it stifles competition through the App Store. Similar charges have been brought against Apple before by app developers. In the Spotify case, the streaming service is objecting to a tax that it must pay to the App store. When this tax is factored into the cost of the service, it makes Spotify more expensive than its direct competitor, Apple Music. Spotify is claiming that competitors shouldn't be allowed to tax their competition.
CEO and founder Daniel Ek alleged that Apple, which with its own Apple Music streaming service competes directly against Spotify, “introduced rules to the App Store that purposely limit choice and stifle innovation at the expense of the user experience – essentially acting as both a player and referee to deliberately disadvantage other app developers."
- USA Today (Mar 13, 2019)
vigil
Earlier this month, a picture surfaced of California high school students performing the Nazi salute. Flyers with swastikas were recently found at the school, soon after a Holocaust survivor came to the school to speak to the students. It is not clear whether the anti-semitic flyers are coming from an outside source or are being generated by students. A vigil is a solemn gathering, often held at night, where people peacefully demonstrate their devotion to a cause.
The photo gained national attention, and rallies, vigils, and meetings to discuss anti-Semitism in the community were held.
- Slate (Mar 13, 2019)

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