WORD LISTS

This Week In Words: January 11–17, 2020

January 15, 2020
Stories about mysterious drones in the air, grounded planes, impeachment, and the 2020 campaign all contributed vocabulary for this week's list of eminently learnable words.
blatant
The House released new documents from Lev Parnas, an associate of Rudy Giuliani who has been indicted on federal campaign finance charges. These documents appear to show that Parnas and others were surveilling the American ambassador to Ukraine as part of their plot to have her removed. Blatant is a word invented by the poet Edmund Spenser (1552/3–1599) as an epithet, a curse word. Now it means "totally out in the open."
The material undergirds the accusations against Mr. Trump, and highlights how much is still to be learned about the scope of a scheme that the impeachment charges call a blatant effort to solicit foreign help in the 2020 election.
New York Times (Jan 14, 2020)
chide
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi named the impeachment managers, who delivered the articles of impeachment against the President to the Senate. The seven managers, who function like prosecutors in the Senate trial, will be led by the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committee chairmen. It's still unclear what form the trial will take, and whether witnesses will be called.
Collins also chided Democrats for pressing the Senate to call witnesses who declined to appear during House impeachment proceedings.
Washington Post (Jan 15, 2020)
lambaste
Since the fatal crashes and ensuing turmoil surrounding Boeing's 737 Max, the company reported the lowest number of planes ordered in 30 years. No 737 Max aircraft were ordered in December. Airbus, Boeing's main rival, delivered more than twice as many planes last year. The FAA has suspended the plane from flying, and it may not allow it to begin flying again until spring or later.
In messages one of Boeing’s technical pilots – employed to work with airlines and regulators on training – lambasted a Malaysian airline for asking for a flight simulator to train pilots.
Guardian (Jan 14, 2020)
mantra
As huge fires rage in Australia, the Prime Minister is now acknowledging that climate change has played a role in the disaster. Until recently, with the fires raging, he had said that it wasn't the right time to talk about the climate. While his critics welcome the change of position, they are waiting to see whether and new legislation results from his new position.
Australia’s Science Minister Karen Andrews told the Sydney Morning Herald in an interview that climate denial was a waste of time, as she echoed Morrison’s “adaptation” mantra.
Reuters (Jan 15, 2020)
purport
Colorado residents have reported seeing formations of drones in the sky. Authorities have said there's no evidence of these flights, but because of the proximity of some military bases to the locations in question, some people suspect the government is involved. Hobbyist drone flights in the area have been confirmed, but witnesses say the unidentified flying objects they saw were much bigger. We're not saying it was aliens... but it was probably aliens.
Base personnel haven’t seen any of the purported drones, he added, but they are cooperating with the Federal Aviation Administration and FBI.
Seattle Times (Jan 14, 2020)
purview
Purview comes from the Anglo-French porveu, which shares a root with our word "provided." It has legal origins, specifically in the body of a document laying out those things that are covered by the contract. If something is within your purview, it means it's something that you're responsible for.
That will probably require new narratives — the purview of rhetoric, literature, philosophy and even theology.
Nature (Jan 15, 2020)
resignation
The entire Russian government stepped down, paving the way for Vladimir Putin to make changes to the country's constitution that will likely make him ruler for life. Although Russia is nominally a democracy, since taking control 20 years ago Putin has steadily removed any obstacles to his absolute power. It remains to be seen exactly what changes he has planned.
Russian government sources told the BBC that ministers did not know about the government's resignation ahead of the announcement.
BBC (Jan 15, 2020)
solemnity
The Constitution says that the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court must preside over an impeachment trial in the Senate. Though that role is ambiguous, and largely ceremonial, all eyes will be on his every decision and statement, looking for signs of bias. Sollemnis means "established" or "customary" in Latin. That sense of ritual still attaches, but solemn also means something important, serious, and dignified.
Chief Justice Roberts will resist any attempt by Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, to rob the proceedings of their solemnity, Mr. Epstein added.
New York Times (Jan 14, 2020)
stoutly
While Joe Biden retains a comfortable lead among Democrats, and most of the group performed well, a spat between Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren garnered all the attention after this week's Democratic debate. Warren said that last year Sanders told her that a woman couldn't win the Presidency. Sanders denies this. Stout is a Germanic word meaning "tough," "proud," or "defiant."
Sanders stoutly denied again that he said or believes that a woman can’t win the presidency.
Washington Post (Jan 15, 2020)
winnow
The six remaining Democratic candidates for President met for the last debate before the primaries begin. Many Democrats are angry at the rules that have narrowed the field to exclude Kamala Harris and Cory Booker while including billionaire Tom Steyer, whose campaign stole voter data from the Harris campaign. Winnow is an old word describing the act of threshing grain stalks and letting the breeze carry the straw away while leaving the grain behind.
It’s a stark winnowing of the Democratic field that was once the most diverse in history.
Washington Times (Jan 14, 2020)

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