Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Headline of the Day: 極めて優勢

In the office today, someone turned on the TV just as NHK was announcing that Senator Obama had just secured victory in the presidential election. I leapt to my feet and saw that everyone stopped working (unusual!) to take in the news. I'm the only American in the office, and everyone knows I've been rooting (応援【おうえん】) for Sen. Obama, so when everyone looked over at me, I gave a big victory sign and everyone seemed to get a kick out of that. It's the first time I've been elated 調子に乗る 【ちょうしにのる】 about something in a looooong time, so even though it was a bit bizarre not being able to experience it back home, it was still a good moment.

It seems like a lot of newspaper headlines and TV news leaders are using the word 極めて 【きわめて】 to describe the victory. The word is defined as "exceedingly; extremely" but in this sense it can be translated as "decisive(ly)," as in the following example:

米大統領選 オバマ氏極めて優勢

"Presidential Election in the United States: Senator Obama's Decisive Predominance"

Breaking it down:

米 【べい】 (pref) American (in forming compound words); America
大統領選 【だいとうりょうせん】 (n) presidential election
極めて 【きわめて】 (adv) exceedingly; extremely
優勢 【ゆうせい】 (adj-na,n) superiority; superior power; predominance; preponderance

I've seen other headlines that pair 極めて with the following:

勝利 【しょうり】 (n,vs) victory; triumph; conquest; success; win
優位 【ゆうい】 (adj-na,n) predominance; ascendancy; superiority

Any way you say it, it's a good word...and good news (to me, at least).

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