This Week In Words: January 25–31, 2020

Stories about a tragic helicopter crash, the ongoing impeachment trial, and the spreading coronavirus all provided vocabulary words for this week's list of timely terms.

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definitions & notes only words
  1. cascade
    a succession of stages, processes, or units
    Beker says decisions such as this are usually part of a “ cascade of events” that lead to a crash.
    LA Times (Jan 28, 2020)
    The helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven others appears to have been the result of poor visibility due to fog. While the pilot was certified on instruments, meaning he was authorized to fly in such conditions, experts say he chose not to use them and likely became disoriented in the moments before the crash. This article lays out the timeline and explains the likely sequence of events, including decisions by the pilot, that resulted in the disaster.
  2. contiguous
    having a common boundary or edge
    "We will also work to create a contiguous territory within the future Palestinian state, for when the conditions for statehood are met, including the firm rejection of terrorism," he said.
    BBC (Jan 29, 2020)
    The White House announced its peace plan for the Middle East. It was immediately praised by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who was in Washington for the announcement, and rejected as unfair by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas. It gives Israel control of Jerusalem and large sections of the West Bank. It gives Palestinians a piece of East Jerusalem for their capital, and several unconnected pieces of territory. Contiguous means "touching" or "sharing a border."
  3. effigy
    a representation of a person
    “And particularly when I took on the work of health care reform, trying to get us to universal, affordable health care, I was being burned in effigy, which I had forgotten,” Clinton said.
    Seattle Times (Jan 27, 2020)
    Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was in Sundance for the premiere of a new documentary about her. The film, titled Hillary, will be available on Hulu on March 6. In an interview, she warned about voter suppression and purges in the coming election, and the role that social media, especially Facebook, plays in spreading misinformation. She also said that the electoral college needs to be abolished, since it can prevent the winner of the popular vote from becoming president.
  4. pillory
    criticize harshly or violently
    British leaders are regularly pilloried for playing the poodle to American presidents, and Mr. Johnson’s show of independence played well with British commentators.
    New York Times (Jan 28 2020)
    British Prime Minister Boris Johnson moved to allow Chinese telecom company Huawei access to part of the U.K.'s 5G network, a departure from his earlier agreement to side with the U.S. in banning them over security concerns. This move comes on the eve of Britain leaving the E.U., and might complicate future trade deals with the U.S. A pillory was a wooden frame with holes for heads and hands. Criminals were locked in these frames, in public, where passers-by could mock and taunt them.
  5. reciprocity
    a relation of mutual dependence or action or influence
    How many Republicans would insist on witness “ reciprocity,” however, remains unknown.
    Washington Post (Jan 29, 2020)
    Former National Security Advisor John Bolton's forthcoming book lays out an account of how President Trump withheld military aid from Ukraine to pressure that country to investigation into the Bidens. As a result, there was increased pressure on Senate Republicans to allow witnesses in the impeachment trial.
  6. redoubt
    a refuge or stronghold
    During the 2007-8 surge of American troops, the area was a redoubt for Al Qaeda in Iraq, a predecessor to the Islamic State.
    New York Times (Jan 27, 2020)
    The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad was hit by mortar fire, causing minor damage and injuring one person. The attack is believed to have been carried out by Iranian-backed militias or members of ISIS. This attack comes not long after Iran attacked two U.S. bases in Iraq with missiles, injuring dozens of troops. Redoubt comes from the French redoute, which refers to a small fortified area.
  7. repugnant
    offensive to the mind
    A federal judge in October issued an injunction blocking the rule from going into effect and called it " repugnant to the American Dream."
    Salon (Jan 29, 2020)
    The Supreme Court voted 5-4 to allow the administration's Public Charge rule to take effect. This rule would allow immigration officials to deny visas and green cards from anyone they think might rely on public assistance. Critics say the rule is an unfair wealth test and a thinly disguised means for the administration to turn away almost anyone. Repugnant is a Latin word meaning "contrary" or "opposite." Now it describes something repulsive or disgusting.
  8. upbraid
    express criticism towards
    But after the interview, the Kansas Republican made matters worse, throwing an obscenity-laced tirade while upbraiding the journalist who, by all appearances, did nothing wrong.
    MSNBC (Jan 28, 2020)
    The State Department removed an NPR reporter from an upcoming foreign trip with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo after a contentious interview with another NPR reporter. The interview, in which the Secretary refused to answer questions about Ukraine, ended with him storming out. He then accused the reporter of lying about their encounter, though she had proof that she was telling the truth.
  9. veracity
    unwillingness to tell lies
    Point to one particular line of attack launched by Pam Bondi, the analysis added that the Florida Republican “shared untrue claims as though they’d never been assessed for veracity at all.”
    MSNBC (Jan 28, 2020)
    The President's defense in the Senate impeachment trial repeated many unverified claims about former Vice President Joe Biden in its presentations. Senator Jody Ernst of Iowa said that she thought that voters in her home state might be having second thoughts about voting for Biden as a result of these stories.
  10. virulent
    extremely poisonous or injurious; producing venom
    The death rate from Sars, caused by a more virulent member of the coronavirus family than the Wuhan strain appears to be, was more than 10%.
    Guardian (Jan 29, 2020)
    The coronavirus continues to spread in China, and the international effort to contain the disease increased as China clamped down on travel and scrambled to respond effectively. Confirmed cases now number over 6,000, which is more than the total cases during the SARS epidemic, though the new virus is far less deadly. The U.S. and other countries have airlifted many citizens out of China and have implemented screenings at international airports.
Created on January 28, 2020 (updated January 31, 2020)

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