This Week in Words: June 15–21, 2019

June 20, 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.
It's official. Cuteness (at least if you're a puppy) is a survival mechanism. New research suggests that the irresistible “puppy dog look”, made famous by dogs everywhere, may be an evolutionary adaptation. Dogs have a muscle in their faces that helps them make that super-cute expression that their close relatives, wolves, lack.
You know that face your dog makes, the one that’s a little bit quizzical, maybe a bit sad, a bit anticipatory, with the eyebrows slanted?
- The New York Times (June 17, 2019)
The Trump administration has lowered a carbon emissions standard, meaning that it's now OK for companies to release more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. One of President Trump’s campaign promises was to save the coal industry, and this rollback of environmental standards goes a long way towards fulfilling that promise.
The new rule comes as many companies and dozens of states wrestle with how to curb greenhouse gas emissions, despite President Trump’s rejection of the scientific consensus that burning fossil fuels is already triggering major climate impacts, including increased droughts, wildfires and intense storms.
- Washington Post (June 19, 2019)
President Trump held a rally in Florida this week to officially kick off his 2020 re-election campaign. Trump unveiled a new slogan, “Keep America Great”, and attacked his Democratic opponents. To extol something is to heap praise on it.
He extolled his record as president — the growing economy, the tax cuts and deregulation — but did not offer any new policies or a cohesive agenda for a second term that might expand his political appeal.
- The New York Times (June 19, 2019)
Former White House Communications Director Hope Hicks was called as a witness before the House Judiciary Committee. Although Hicks’ testimony was delivered behind closed doors, sources say that she was an uncooperative witness, refusing to even confirm the location of her office.
Cipollone said Hicks is "absolutely immune" from compelled testimony with respect to her service to the president because of the separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches.
- Fox News (June 19, 2019)
A simple but ingenious invention may help kids who are nervous about being in the hospital. Ella Casano invented a teddy bear that fits over the IV bags that deliver medication, hydration, and nutrition to patients. The invention was inspired by Casano’s own medical difficulties, which have had her in and out of hospitals since she was seven. The twelve-year-old and her parents are hoping to manufacture the teddy bears and distribute them to hospitals for free.
A 12-year-old girl has come up with an ingenious little toy to ease the anxieties of young hospital patients just like her.
- Good News Network (June 17, 2019)
10-year-old Selah Schneiter has become the youngest person in history to ever climb El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. Schneiter comes from a family of climbers who are so dedicated that they have a climbing wall in their house. Her parents say that Selah was climbing before she could walk. A precocious child seems intelligent, clever, and capable beyond their years.
The precocious climber made history last week when she became the youngest person on record to scale the famed, 3,000-foot vertical rock formation in California's Yosemite National Park.
- Today.com (June 19, 2019)
There was a raucous meeting in the House of Representatives this week to explore the idea forming a committee to look into the possibility of providing reparations for slavery. In this context, reparations are monetary payments that would be awarded to descendants of slaves in an attempt to make amends for the inhumanity of slavery.
The bill will be the subject of a hearing on Wednesday — the first congressional hearing on reparations in more than a decade, and the first on the measure itself.
- The New York Times (June 18, 2019)
YouTube is considering moving all children’s content to a separate site, YouTube Kids, and turning off the video recommendations feature. These ideas are being considered as a way of protecting kids from inappropriate content. Here, seismic is used metaphorically, to emphasize the earth-shaking nature of this proposed change.
That would be a seismic and risky switch, as children’s videos are among the most popular on the platform and carry millions of dollars in advertising.
- The Wall Street Journal (June 19, 2019)
The Trump Administration’s nominee for Secretary of Defense has withdrawn his name for consideration. Pat Shanahan had been the acting Defense Secretary, in line to take over the position permanently. Shanahan will be replaced on an acting basis by Mark Esper, Secretary of The Army. A tumultuous situation is a situation that is disorganized out-of-control.
Acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan decided not to pursue Senate confirmation as the permanent Pentagon chief amid scrutiny of his tumultuous family relationships
- The Wall Street Journal (June 18, 2019)
Our creepy, crawly story of the week comes from an international flight from Venice, Italy to Newark, New Jersey. Passengers noticed before takeoff that the flight was infested with huge ants, but the flight took off anyway. The ants were traced to one particular passenger’s bag, and the other travelers did their best to cope with the crawling critters. Unflappable people are calm under pressure.
Although it stressed her out, she described the other passengers as " unflappable" when it came to the bugs.
- Newsweek (June 18, 2019)

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