14 October 2009

Vocabulary In the News : 14 October 2009 – Boston Herald


Former Speaker of the House of Representatives (Président de l’Assemblée) of the state of Massachusetts, Salvatore F. DiMasi, resigned in January of this year after having been charged with taking large financial kickbacks for giving lucrative state contracts to a software company. A kickback is money illegally paid to someone in exchange for something they have done for you. Due to being federally indicted for this illegal activity, the speaker resigned his position. If you are indicted for a crime, this means you have been formally accused or charged.

He has also been indicted on other charges and the latest bombshell is extortion! It is a bombshell because the latest news is unexpected and shocking. The news is dropped like a bomb. Extortion is a crime in which someone gets money or information from someone else by using force or threats.

If convicted (proven guilty by a court of law) on all the federal charges, DiMasi could serve hard time in the slammer for 185 years! Hard time is urban street English for the time spent in prison. You often hear the expression, “He’s serving hard time” or simply “He’s serving time.” The slammer is a very informal name for a prison. It is called the slammer because when you are prisoner, the guards slam (claquer) closed the door behind you.


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