07 July 2009

Vocabulary in the News: Michelle Obama Tries to Win Over Russians


to win over (phrasal verb) to persuade someone to agree with you or to be friendly with you
Mrs. Obama will face a challenge as she tries to win over the Russian people
to face a challenge

to deal with something that needs a lot of skill, energy and determination, especially something you have never done before and will enjoy doing

- Note: if you face a challenge successfully, you meet a challenge.

in the spotlight (idiomatic) in a situation where you get a lot of public attention
The Russian people aren’t used to seeing politicians’ wives in the spotlight.

- Note: a spotlight is a powerful that shines on a small area such as in a theater
to make public remarks to publically give facts or your opinion about something or someone
to spark rumors (U.S) or rumours (British) (idiomatic) to start or produce stories or information that may or may not be true.
The wife of former President Vladimir Putin was seen in public so infrequently it sparked rumors that the two are estranged.

- Note: to spark means to start a fire or an explosion
estranged an estranged husband or wife is no longer living with their partner
to embrace to accept and include something
Reisa Gorbachev embraced high fashion.
to beg the question (expression) to make you want to know the answer to a particular question
And that begs the question how this American First Lady; already known for her elegance, personal style and not to mention a willingness to speak her mind; will play in today’s Russia.

Note: to beg is when you ask for something and show you want it very much. It is also used when you ask for money or food, usually because you are very poor.
willingness the state of being ready to do something, even when you do not want to
needless to say (expression) used for saying that something is already known or understood
There are more Russian women in politics and in the government, which needless to say, makes me very happy.
to be in sharp contrast to something to be extremely different from something else
The Obama girls are often seen at public events which is sharp contrast to the children of Medvedev and Putin, who have almost never been seen in public.

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