WORD LISTS

This Week in Words: May 11–17, 2019

May 16, 2019
We’ve rounded up the top words heard, read, and discussed in the news this week. Take a look back at the week that was, vocabulary style.
dilemma
One of Shaquille O’Neal’s nicknames is “Superman,” and he certainly was a superhero to a 13-year-old boy in Atlanta. For Zach Keith, who wears a size 18 shoe, finding affordable shoes that fit was an ongoing dilemma. O’Neal, who can sympathize with the teen’s plight (Shaq wears a size 23 sneaker), bought Zach ten pairs of shoes as a way of paying it forward.
His mother has been unable to afford new extra-large sneakers for her son – but luckily, O’Neal heard about the family’s dilemma and was inspired to help.
- Good News Network (May 14, 2019)
disingenuous
President Trump’s son, Donald Trump, Jr., has agreed to testify before a Senate committee behind closed doors. The committee is investigating a 2016 meeting that Trump Jr. took at Trump Tower with Russian operatives who claimed they had information about Hillary Clinton that could change the outcome of the election. Trump Jr. ‘s camp has accused the senators of being disingenuous, meaning they’re not looking for the truth, but rather pursuing a vendetta against the President.
“It is not fair for him to be hauled in to testify before this or any other committee about the same events over and over in the hope that he will one day get tripped up by misleading or otherwise disingenuous questioning,” the draft letter said.
- Time (May 14, 2019)
divisive
In the aftermath of the mosque massacre in Christchurch, New Zealand, several nations have signed an accord to reduce the spread of violent extremism on social media. The project, which has the cooperation of Facebook and YouTube, will explore ways to limit hate speech on the internet. The U.S. government has not endorsed the measure, saying that it has concerns about the consequences of limiting free speech.
And a number of countries—most recently France—have proposed tough new rules to oversee divisive questions of how social-media firms should police hate speech and cyberbullying on their platforms.
- The Wall Street Journal (May 15, 2019)
intractable
Jared Kushner, special advisor and son-in-law to the President, has outlined a plan to deal with the country’s immigration problem. The proposal does not address the situation of the so-called “Dreamers,” those who fall under DACA protection. This issue has long been one of the largest stumbling blocks to getting an agreement passed in Congress.
Kushner has been describing his proposal to Republicans even as the approaching 2020 presidential campaign makes a solution to what has long been an intractable issue even harder to resolve. - The Los Angeles Times (May 15, 2019)
propagate
It’s been a rough week for Microsoft. First there was a flaw in WhatsApp that makes cell phones with the app vulnerable to spyware. Then the tech giant realized that a batch of microprocessors it produced had a problem that made data on devices with the chip vulnerable. Microsoft also said it fixed a bug that was intended to launch a worm that would propagate across the globe.
Any “future malware that exploits this vulnerability could propagate from vulnerable computer to vulnerable computer in a similar way as the WannaCry malware spread across the globe,” Microsoft said Tuesday in a blog post.
- The Wall Street Journal (May 15, 2019)
rebuff
A congressional committee looking into President Trump’s financial dealings has set a new deadline for the Treasury Department, which oversees the IRS, to comply with a subpoena to release Trump’s tax returns. Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin has repeatedly rebuffed requests for the President’s tax records. It's expected that the matter will eventually be settled in court.
Last week, after being rebuffed by Mr. Mnuchin, Mr. Neal issued subpoenas to Messrs. Mnuchin and Rettig for the documents and set a deadline of this Friday, May 17.
- The Wall Street Journal (May 15, 2019)
renege
President Trump did not renege on his long-standing threat to impose more tariffs on Chinese goods. This week, Trump hiked tariffs again, and China responded by raising its tariffs on American imports. This means that items like household appliances, electronics, and clothing will get more expensive for the American consumer. Experts worry that this escalation in the trade war could do serious harm to the economy.
Until last week, the president was insisting that a trade deal with China was imminent. Then, he abruptly accused China of reneging on its commitments and opted to increase tariffs.
- The New York Times (May 15, 2019)
salvo
In response to Amazon Prime’s super-fast shipping, Walmart is rolling out free, next-day delivery for many items. This perk is only available in parts of the western United States for now. In a battle, a salvo is what you put forth to try to defeat your enemy. In this case, Amazon made the opening salvo, and Walmart retaliated with its own move.
Walmart's new move represents "the latest salvo in the ongoing delivery arms race initiated and recently escalated by Amazon," said Charlie O'Shea of financial services and debt rating company Moody's.
- USA Today (May 14, 2019)
sortie
This week saw escalating tensions between the U.S. and Iran. Amid conflicting reports of military activity in the region, President Trump denied a story that he was sending 120,000 troops into the region, but added that he could send troops if he felt like it, and if he did, the number would far exceed 120,000. These tense times come on the heels of Iran’s announcement that it’s pulling out of the deal it signed a few years ago to limit nuclear weapons development.
As bombers recently deployed to the Middle East flew their first message-sending sorties, the president appeared to be caught between hard line advisers calling for more aggressive action against Tehran and others attempting to avoid an escalation.
- USA Today (May 15, 2019)
subdued
An armed security guard helped to subdue one of the gunmen in the recent Colorado school shooting. This action likely limited further injuries and loss of life. The two suspects appeared in court this week to face criminal charges. One of the accused shooters is a sixteen-year-old, and it was announced that he will be tried as an adult rather than as a juvenile.
Details about the armed school security guard who subdued the second suspect also emerged this week. The man’s employer, Boss High Level Protection, was contracted to guard the school that about 1,800 students attend.
- USA Today (May 15, 2019)

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