03 November 2010

Vocabulary in the News : The Wall Street Journal (Front Page from 3 November 2010)


Let’s look at some of the vocabulary found in the article titles. If you want to read each article on The Wall Street Journal webpage, click on the each title.

GOP Claims House in Huge Swing, Tea-Party Wave Creates New Dynamic in Washington and the States; Democrats to Retain Senate Despite Drubbing

    • A swing is seat that hangs from ropes or chains and moves back and forth which is usually used by children. So you can imagine the illusion here of a swing. In politics, we this word to describe when one ruling party has been replaced by a new one. The term can be used to describe any change in emotion, idea, condition, etc, to another. For example, Spain was a very conservative and Catholic country but there was a swing away from traditional family values when the country allowed same-sex marriage. In Amsterdam, there is a swing in the government position on legalized marijuana which may cause coffee shops to close down in the future.
  • A change in political parties in power at a national level can also be described as a wave or even a tidal wave. A wave of course is a raised line of water you find in the ocean or other body of water. Last night a Republican wave swept (past irregular form of ‘to sweep’ – balayer) across the country pushing Democrats out of power.
  • The Majority Leader Harry Reid, despite the drubbing the Democrats received by the Republicans last night, surprisingly won his reelection in Nevada. If you received a drubbing, this means that you were severely beaten. This word is believed to have been possibly derived from the Arabic word darb which means a beating, particularly by a stick.

Unaligned Voters Tilt Rightward In Droves

    • Voters who don’t identify themselves as Republicans or Democrats tilted rightward in this election. In other words, they favored the particular program or opinion of those running as Republicans. Literally, to tilt means to incline or to cause to slope to one side. For example, these slashes ‘///////’ all tilt to the right.  If these unaligned (or nonaligned) voters had favored the Democrats, we would have said that they tilted leftward. In any case, the election is over and the United States must now move forward and not backward.
    • The headline also said that these independent voters favored the political right in droves. If people do something in droves, it means they do it in very large numbers.

How the Rout Was Won : Careful Plans, Timely Wave

    • A rout is a term to describe the complete defeat of your opponent in a battle, competition or an election. The word is also a verb. For example, Spain won the FIFA World Cup after having routed the Netherlands.
    • If something happens in a timely manner, it happens at the most suitable or proper time.

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