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The phrase badhta bacha means two things—the child is growing in age, and in height. An increase in height obviously accompanies growth, whether of a child or of a plant or an animal. That is why one member of the al-family is dedicated solely to the concept of height. That is the Latin word altus and it is found in the following words:

altitude, exalthaughty and hawser.

Coming back to adolere, it means ‘to take towards growth, to make grow.’ A grown up man (or woman) is, therefore, called an adult, and the one who is still growing up, an adolescent.


Aliment: (n) food; (v) to give food or nourishment to; (adj) alimentary: ‘related with food.’

  • The tube through which the food passes in our body is called the alimentary canal.
  • The guest went “wow” over the alimentary arrangements of his hosts. For two days, he felt that he was swimming in an alimentary sea of cakes and puddings and breads and pastas and ice creams and all sorts of yummy foods.

Alimony: (n) maintenance money given by the earning spouse to the dependant spouse upon separation or divorce.

Origin: L ali-, to nourish + -mony, state => ‘the state of nourishing’ => ‘providing nourishment’

(n) a person who has passed out of an educational institution. Plural: alumni

Origin: L alumnus, foster son

  • I am an alumnus of Guru Nanak Public School, Chandigarh, and the University Institute of Engineering and Technology, Panjab University. And you?
  • Alma mater: (n) the school, college or university that one has studied in.

Origin: L alma mater, nourishing mother.

(v) to grow together into one, to unite into a whole; (n): coalition

Origin: L co-, together + alere, to grow => ‘to grow together’

  • After the jaimala was over, all the guests coalesced into little knots, men sharing a drink here, women discussing each other’s saris around the angithi there; the waiters kept supplying them with delicacies and they kept feeding each other with the latest gossip.
  • Many political parties united to form one group. That group won the majority in the Lok Sabha and formed the government. Such a government is called a coalition government.
  • How do you translate the song ‘Oh re taal mile nadi ke jal mein, nadi mile saagar mein, saagar mile kaunse jal mein koi jaane na?(Pools coalesce into rivers, rivers into seas, but what do seas coalesce into? No one knows.)

Proliferate: (v) to grow in size or number.

  • Albert Einstein remarked, thus, about proliferation of nuclear weapons: “I don’t know how World War 3 will be fought, but World War 4 will be fought with sticks and stones.”

Prolific: (adj) producing or reproducing at a high rate.

  • He was a prolific writer. In a career span of 30 years, he produced 40 novels, 20 collections of short stories, 15 books of children’s

stories, 15 collections of essays and five books of poetry.

(n) member of the working class. The working class was called the Proletariat.

  • “Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communist revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. Working men of all countries, unite!”—Karl Marx

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