This Week in Words: Current Events Vocab for November 26–December 2, 2022

November 28, 2022
Stories about ancient galaxies, Christmas trees, and a grumpy cat all contributed words to this list of vocabulary from the week's news.
Recent comparisons between the environmental impact of real and artificial Christmas trees don't offer a simple conclusion. Live trees are specifically grown for the holidays and replenished with seedlings — plus, they absorb carbon dioxide as they grow. Fake trees are made with petroleum products but require less water and can be reused year after year. Scientists say real fir or pine is the most sustainable option, unless you keep your artificial tree for more than 20 years.
After 38 quiet years, the Mauna Loa volcano erupted on November 27. Mauna Loa, located on Hawaii's Big Island, is the planet's largest active volcano. Lava began flowing onto the mountain's summit, then down its northeast slope. No residents, most of whom live on the opposite side, have yet been evacuated. The eruption is predicted to last at least a week, and nearby communities are prepared to move into shelters if necessary. The root of erupt means "break out or burst."
Monkeys were fed and feted at the annual Monkey Feast Festival in Lopburi, Thailand on November 27. Dozens of monkey-shaped statues held trays piled with food, including fruit, salad, and sticky rice, which hordes of long-tailed macaque monkeys feasted on. The yearly celebration honors the animals, which symbolize good luck and drive tourism in the province. Festival is from the Latin festa, which means "feast or holiday."
Experts have taken a new look at some old coins long believed to be forgeries and now suspect they are, in fact, authentic Roman artifacts. The eight gold coins, discovered in 1713, have a design that's unlike other third-century coins, and they feature the image of a mostly unknown Roman leader. They were dismissed as fakes until researchers used new imaging technology to examine the coins and observed patterns and soil deposits that suggest they are genuine antiquities.
The James Webb Space Telescope has sighted two of the oldest and most distant galaxies ever observed by humans. These ancient masses of stars and planets are brighter than astronomers expected, and they offer a glimpse of what the universe looked like billions of years ago. Galaxy derives from the Late Latin galaxias, "the Milky Way," and its source, the Greek galaxias kyklos, literally "milky circle."
A grumpy shelter cat named Fishtopher found a new home after becoming an internet celebrity this month. The five-year-old feline's online profile, with a photo of his adorably dour face, was viewed more than 170,000 times after it was posted on Thanksgiving. Fishtopher was described by New Jersey's Homeward Bound Center as "a sweet, easy-going, laid-back boy" who had been "out of sorts" at the shelter. Grumpy comes from the grumps, "a fit of ill humor."
First Lady Jill Biden revealed the White House holiday decorations this week, which include 77 Christmas trees and a theme of "We the People." Trees in the Grand Foyer are hung with mirrored ornaments meant to reflect the faces of White House guests, so that they can "see themselves in the decor." About 50,000 visitors will pass the adorned trees and walk through the East Colonnade, which is transformed into a snowy white birch forest complete with animals made of recycled cardboard.
A man who fell over the side of a cruise ship spent almost an entire day and night in the water before he was rescued. The 28-year-old Carnival Cruise Line passenger floated in the Gulf of Mexico overnight after falling overboard. He apparently treaded water for about 20 hours until he was retrieved by a Coast Guard helicopter crew. Overboard comes from the Old English phrase ofor bord, in which bord means "side of a ship."
The plaintiff in a lawsuit against Kraft Heinz says the company engaged in false advertising when it claimed that Velveeta Shells & Cheese are "ready in three minutes." According to the woman, who sued the company for $5 million, marketing materials for the microwavable macaroni and cheese are deliberately misleading. She says it takes "much longer" to prepare and is more expensive than similar foods. Plaintiff shares a root with complaint and plaintive.
On November 28, Irish regulators imposed a $275 million fine on Meta, Facebook's parent company. The penalty was issued in response to a data leak that exposed 500 million users' confidential data online, violating European privacy regulations. The commission had already fined Meta more than $400 million for failing to keep children's data private, and $235 million for violations connected to WhatsApp. The Latin root of privacy means "set apart from what is public."
When the power went out at a water purification plant in Texas, it triggered a boil-water notice for the entire city of Houston. For 24 hours, residents were instructed to boil their tap water to remove impurities and make it safe to use. All schools in the city were closed for one day, to protect students from drinking contaminated water. Purification and purify are from pure and its Latin root, purus, which means "clean, clear, or unmixed."
After a deadly fire last week in western China that many citizens blamed on the government's strict Covid policies, protests were held around the country. Video broadcasts of the protestors offered rare evidence of unrest in China, which frowns upon open dissent. Demonstrations against the Chinese ruling party usually end in mass arrests and sometimes violence. Though security forces responded quickly to protests this week, recordings can still be viewed on social media in China.

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