WORD LISTS

This Week In Words: September 28–October 4, 2019

October 1, 2019
From a restive region in Pakistan to a raucous response from reactionaries in the climate wars, here's a roundup of current events and the words were used to describe them. Take a look back at the week that was, vocabulary style.
acquitted
Amber Guyger was found guilty of murder in the shooting of Botham Jean, who lived above her in their apartment building. A police officer, she mistook his apartment for her own one night and shot him while he sat on his couch eating ice cream. She was sentenced to ten years in prison.
"The case, one in a string of episodes of white police officers killing unarmed black men, drew national attention and was closely followed in the Dallas area, where some feared mass protests if Guyger had been acquitted."
USA Today (Oct 1, 2019)
cull
One of the Russian billionaires behind an effort to influence the 2018 midterms has been hit with sanctions by the Treasury Department. Yevgeniy Prigozhin and six employees of his Internet Research Agency had their assets, including jets and a yacht, targeted so that no American can use or do business with them. Ironically, the yacht is named "Cull Me Maybe".
"Photos of one of Prigozhin’s private jets and his yacht, the St. Vitamin, were culled from social media sites and presented by the Treasury Department."
Washington Post (Sep 30, 2019)
dovetail
In a 60 Minutes interview, House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy appeared not to have his facts straight about President Trump's call to the President of Ukraine. That call is now the subject of impeachment proceedings in the House. In woodworking, a dovetail joint is a row of interlocking trapezoids (which are shaped like doves' tails) often used in cabinetry for attaching the sides of a drawer to the front.
"McCarthy did not mention that Trump sold Ukraine the Javelins after Ukrainian prosecutors abruptly shut down four investigations into former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort that dovetailed with special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe."
Salon (Sep 30, 2019)
forbearance
The author argues that because impeachment is so serious, and because the Administration has shown that it will resist any and all investigations, including subpoenas, that whatever the outcome the result may be long-term damage to our democracy. The phrase "bear with me" is a good way of remembering what forbearance means: moving carefully and deliberately, tolerating delays, in order to achieve a just outcome.
"When the perceived cost of losing is sufficiently high, politicians will be tempted to abandon forbearance."
The New Yorker (Sep 30, 2019)
jettison
WeWork, which lost well over a billion dollars last year, has postponed its IPO (Initial Public Offering, the first sale of stock when a company goes public). Co-founder and CEO Adam Neumann, blamed for the company's troubles, has been assigned a new role as chairman of the parent company. Some observers say that he has to go altogether if the company wants to regain credibility in investors' eyes. Jettison means to urgently toss overboard, especially from a damaged or sinking vessel.
"One assumes WeWork will also jettison its corporate drivel about 'elevating the world’s consciousness' if it now accepts it’s a regular company in the dull world of shared office spaces."
Guardian (Sep 30, 2019)
manifest
Two men have been arrested for stealing $300,000 off of an airplane at JFK airport in New York. One of them was caught on camera driving away with the bag, and the other one came and picked it up at the airport. Manifest can mean a number of things, all having to do with reality: appearance, evidence, or realization. In this context, a manifest is a document listing everything in a plane's cargo.
"An envelope containing the flight's manifest was found."
Fox News (Sep 30, 2019)
marquee
The U.K. government is trying to spread awareness about what Brexit will mean to its citizens by holding educational events around the country where people can ask questions about how departure from the E.U. might affect their businesses. The campaign is reportedly costing over £100 million, which is a lot of money considering that nobody on either side of the issue actually knows what will happen, or when.
"The outdoor bars and marquees are being packed away outside Edgbaston cricket ground on a blustery September morning."
BBC (Oct 1, 2019)
reactionary
While climate activist Greta Thunberg's visit to the U.S. inspired many, it also angered a lot of people. The author of this piece argues that because she opposes the system that has created the crisis — and the corporations that have contributed most of the carbon to the atmosphere — she represents more of a threat to the current order than other activists. A reactionary sounds like someone who responds quickly, but it refers to someone who doesn't like change and works to prevent it.
"A good reactionary recognises the potential vehicle for real change, and they hate it."
Guardian (Sep 30, 2019)
restive
The Indian government's crackdown on Jammu and Kashmir, Muslim-majority territory that Pakistan contests, continued to intensify. Despite a huge police presence and hundreds of arrests, protests continue. Anti-Indian militants, backed by Pakistan, are also attacking their own people in an attempt to destabilize society. Restive sounds relaxed, but it means the opposite: tense, agitated.
"And the Kashmir Valley, the most restive part of the state and home to as many as 8 million people, remains under a punishing blockade."
New York Times (Sep 30, 2019)
sacrosanct
Beijing pulled out all the stops to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Communist Party rule in China, but the huge military parades and festivities in the capital were followed by widespread demonstrations in Hong Kong that turned violent. Protestors in the semi-autonomous region do not want to be part of Communist China, and say that continuing the "one country, two systems" policy is merely tightening Beijing's grip on the former British colony.
"Anticipation of a confrontation in Hong Kong on the anniversary, which Chinese leaders in Beijing consider a sacrosanct event, had been building since the protests began this summer in the semiautonomous territory bordering southern China."
– New York Times (Oct 1, 2019)

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