This Week In Words: July 11–17, 2020

Stories about political responses to the pandemic, a major Twitter hack, and one hot tundra furnished words or this list of vocabulary from the week's news.

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definitions & notes only words
  1. curb
    the act of restraining power or action or limiting excess
    On Monday, he met with Mr. Meadows to discuss his ability to speak about the virus on television — his broadcast appearances have been sharply curbed in recent weeks by Mr. Meadows and members of the communications staff.
    The White House denied that there was a coordinated effort to discredit Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government's lead expert in the fight against Covid-19. After the the President and other administration officials criticized him, and the President's trade advisor attacked Dr. Fauci in an editorial, Dr. Fauci expressed surprise and confusion at the attacks. A curb is a strap connected to a horse's bit that the rider can pull on if the horse misbehaves.
  2. deputy
    an assistant with power to act when his superior is absent
    Trump said on Facebook he would replace campaign manager Brad Parscale with Bill Stepien, who has been the deputy campaign manager.
    President Trump replaced his campaign director Brad Parscale with Bill Stepien. Parscale was struggling to retain the President's confidence after a poorly attended Tulsa rally and declining poll numbers that show Joe Biden with a growing double-digit national lead. Parscale was not fired; he was reassigned to run digital operations for the campaign.
  3. endorse
    approve of
    Federal ethics laws prevent federal employees from using their positions “to endorse any product, service or enterprise.”
    After the CEO of Goya foods made a statement in support of President Trump, unhappy customers organized a boycott of the company's products. In response, the President and his daughter Ivanka, who is a paid advisor in the White House, posted photos of themselves on Twitter with Goya products and favorable messages. Critics pointed out that it's against federal law for a government employee to promote a business.
  4. hoard
    get or gather together
    Critics say offering rich countries the chance to buy even more vaccines through Gavi essentially allows them to hoard limited COVID-19 vaccines without consequences.
    75 wealthy countries have joined a vaccine advocacy group called Gavi to make sure that a Covid-19 vaccine, when it becomes available, is fairly shared around the world. 90 additional poorer countries will also join, expecting to receive doses donated by the 75 rich countries. There is concern that this arrangement will allow richer countries to buy up all the vaccines and then not pass any along to others.
  5. obligate
    force somebody to do something
    Alabama’s governor, who leads one of the country’s most conservative states, on Wednesday said people would be obligated to wear masks when leaving the house.
    More states are now requiring the wearing of masks in public, and some big retailers are as well. Walmart now requires masks in their stores, and the National Retail Federation expressed support for the move, saying that “shopping in a store is a privilege, not a right.” Experts say that if everyone started wearing masks, the disease could be controlled in a month or two. The Governor of Georgia, one of the national hotspots, issued a decree banning cities and towns from requiring masks.
  6. precipice
    a very steep cliff
    Trump, whose bombshell book about her family was published on Tuesday and trailed in the Guardian and other outlets last week, told ABC that the US is “on a precipice” with the November election coming up.
    President Trump's niece published a book describing him as being dangerously unfit to lead the country. She claims that he was abused by his father, whom she describes as a sociopath, and that the President shows many of the same traits. A Precipice is a sheer cliff; the latin praecipitium became the French precipice and was borrowed into English.
  7. reparation
    something done or paid in expiation of a wrong
    The reparations battle has been long fought in the political arena.
    The city council of Asheville, North Carolina passed a resolution formally apologizing for its history of racism and slavery and promising to create "policy and programs that will establish the creation of generational wealth and address reparations due in the black community." The resolution does not call for direct payments to the descendants of slaves, but promises to invest in Black communities and remove structural barriers to Black economic advancement.
  8. subvert
    overthrow or destroy completely
    “These repeated efforts to subvert sound public health guidelines introduce chaos and uncertainty while unnecessarily putting lives at risk,” they wrote.
    The White House ordered hospitals to stop reporting all data associated with the pandemic to the Center for Disease Control and instead send it to a database in Washington run by the Trump administration. Doctors and public health experts say that this move will politicize the science and make fighting the disease harder, in addition to allowing the data to be altered or misrepresented to make the administration look better.
  9. sweltering
    excessively hot and humid; marked by sweating and faintness
    This has been a sweltering year in the Siberian Arctic.
    The temperatures in Siberia this summer have been way above average, including some cases above 100˚F for the first time in recorded history. Climate researchers say that as the amount of carbon in the atmosphere increases, events like these Arctic heatwaves become exponentially more likely. In addition, they lead to more forest fires and melting permafrost, which releases more carbon into the atmosphere. Swelt is a Germanic word meaning "to faint" or "to die."
  10. vigilant
    carefully observant or attentive
    This is the same attack/takeover that other major crypto twitter accounts are experiencing. Be vigilant!
    Twitter briefly shut down all verified accounts — the ones with blue check marks — after a major hack took over many of them and began tweeting out fraudulent messages. The tweets, pretending to be from users like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, told their subscribers that if they sent bitcoin to a specific account they'd be paid back double. Twitter blocked the hack fairly quickly. Records show the bitcoin account gained over $100,000 while the tweets were up, but no verified amount was reported.
Created on July 15, 2020 (updated July 17, 2020)

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