WORD LISTS

This Week in Words: Current Events Vocab for June 25–July 1, 2022

June 27, 2022
Stories about 100-year-old tortoises, helpful rats, and friends who smell like each other all contributed words to this list of vocabulary from the week's news.
cathedral
After 5,000 hours of painstaking work, a Syrian refugee has finally completed carving a replica of a German cathedral. The grand, ornate church building, with its majestic double spires, was the first thing Fadel Alkhud saw when he arrived in Cologne after his family's woodworking business was destroyed during the war in his home country. Alkhud spent two years on the six-foot wooden model of Cologne Cathedral, a structure that's 500 feet tall and took 600 years to build.
commission
Bears Ears National Monument in Utah will now be overseen by a joint commission made up of representatives from several federal agencies and tribal nations. For the first time, the special governing body will allow oversight by Native Americans who consider the thousands of acres to be sacred land. Commission is from the Latin commissionem, "delegation of business," and roots meaning "bring together."
default
For the first time since 1918, Russia defaulted on a foreign loan this week. The country missed a May 27 deadline to make payments of about $100 million, as well as a 30-day grace period that ended on June 26. Failure to repay investors is a result of Western sanctions that cut off Russian ties to international banks. Default derives from defallita, "a deficiency or failure."
interrupt
An adorable interloper interrupted a June 25 soccer match between Chile and Venezuela, but no one seemed to mind. In minute 37 of the 2022 Women's International Friendly, a big black dog ran onto the field and stopped play. The pup requested pats from a referee and the Chilean team's goalkeeper, rolled over for belly rubs near the sidelines, and ran up and down the length of the pitch before the game could resume. The Latin roots of interrupt mean "break" and "between."
interstellar
Astronomers discovered a space object they have tentatively identified as a moon existing outside of our solar system. If the findings are confirmed, it will be only the second interstellar moon detected by scientists. The massive object is more than twice the size of Earth, far larger than any moons in our solar system. While there are about 4,000 known exoplanets, confirming the smaller exomoons beyond our sun is more challenging. Interstellar's roots mean "between stars."
masterpiece
The family of a 90-year-old woman got a surprise this month when they sold her possessions after she moved into a nursing home. Among the ordinary furnishings, auctioneers found a painting they believe to be a Renaissance masterpiece. Described as "an exceptional work from the 16th century," the painting sold for $320,000, which will help pay for the woman's specialized dementia care. She had inherited the piece from her father after leaving Italy as a girl and moving to England.
monsoon
More than a week after devastating flooding in northeastern India, some areas of the Assam city of Silchar remained underwater. The monsoon floods are being described as the worst in recent memory. While the seasonal rainfall commonly submerges the low-lying countryside of Assam, this month's deluge left many urban neighborhoods under up to eight feet of water. The Arabic root of monsoon is mawsim, "appropriate season."
olfactory
A small study revealed an olfactory connection between friends who say they "clicked" from the moment they met. Scientists used a so-called "robotic nose," along with 25 human volunteers, to assess the odors on shirts worn by 20 pairs of best friends. They found similarities in the smells between pals, suggesting that their close bond may have formed subconsciously, with their noses sensing something they had in common. The Latin source of olfactory means "emit a smell."
overturn
The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade late last week, ending a nearly 50-year constitutional right to abortion. The landmark 1973 ruling said that restricting the medical procedure, which terminates a pregnancy, violated the right to privacy guaranteed by the Constitution. The reversal means each state will now regulate abortion separately.
pollinate
In a recent article in the journal Ecology, plant biologists claim that rats in urban areas can help pollinate certain plant species. The scientists observed ordinary brown rats in Duitama, Colombia, eating sweet feijoa plants. As they fed on the petals and fruit, the rats brushed against the feijoas' stamens, releasing powdery pollen and carrying it from plant to plant on their fur. Pollinate is from pollen and its Sanskrit root, meaning "ground seeds."
predict
A growing number of climate scientists are focusing on developing tools and models that can accurately predict weather patterns, including monsoons, wildfire severity, and ocean heat waves. Rather than relying on short-term weather forecasts, these experts are looking for ways to anticipate wider patterns further in advance. They hope to be able to accurately determine how many acres will burn during seasonal fires and how far-ranging heat waves will be.
pride
On June 26, New York City held its Pride March for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic began in 2020. The annual event began in 1970 in response to anti-gay violence the year before, and it has evolved into an LGBTQ+ celebration of self-expression, joy, and pride in one's own identity. This year's Pride March was full of rainbow flags, elaborate costumes, music, and protest signs. The Old English prud meant "arrogant," but also "excellent or splendid."
prohibition
A judge extended a temporary ban on bullfighting in Mexico City, leading many to predict that there will soon be a permanent prohibition against it. The court heard arguments that bullfighting violates the rights of citizens to be free of violence. The sport is 500 years old, with deep roots in Mexico City, but it is criticized for its cruelty to bulls and has already been banned in four Mexican states. A Latin root meaning "hold back" is the source of prohibition.
readiness
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced on June 27 that the alliance will increase its military readiness to 300,000 troops. It's the organization's largest overhaul since the Cold War. Making itself better prepared for potential military conflict is seen as part of NATO's direct response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The alliance currently has 40,000 active troops. Readiness is from ready and its Old English root, which means "prepared."
theft
The increasing popularity and cost of French bulldogs has led to a sharp increase in thefts of the small dogs. The American Kennel Club describes the distinctive, flat-faced breed as having a "square head with bat ears and a roach back.” Some Frenchies sell for as much as $30,000, making them valuable enough to steal. Armed robberies of French bulldogs have been reported in cities across the U.S. over the past year, though exact numbers aren't known.
unmanned
NASA launched an unmanned lunar capsule, called CAPSTONE, on June 28. The rocket is part of a larger 21st-century project that will eventually include sending astronauts to the moon again, decades after the last U.S. landing there. CAPSTONE, only the size of a microwave oven, is far too small for human passengers. It will orbit the lunar surface, collecting data from above without touching down.
unscathed
Not only do many tortoises live far beyond 100 years, they also remain mostly unscathed by the aging process. Unlike humans, elderly tortoises show little physical deterioration. Scientists attribute this to metabolism, a vegetarian diet, and the protection of their hard shells. Further research will explore how humans might be able to age more gracefully, with less harm to their bodies and brains. Unscathed was primarily used in Scotland before the 19th century.
vigorous
A study of 339 teenagers suggests that daily vigorous exercise may be the best way for young people to keep their cardiovascular and respiratory systems healthy. Researchers say that 20 minutes of brisk running was enough to strengthen the teens' heart and lung capacity. Improved cardiorespiratory fitness has been shown to lower rates of many ailments, including diabetes and high blood pressure. The Latin root of vigorous means "lively, flourishing, and thriving."
withdraw
Tennis player Matteo Berrettini withdrew from Wimbledon on June 28, just two hours before he was scheduled to play his first match against Cristian Garín. Berrettini said a positive Covid-19 test forced him to pull out of the tournament. He was the second player to withdraw from Wimbledon after testing positive; Croatia's Marin Cilic dropped out on June 27, and French player Bautista Agut followed suit three days later.

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