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The Latin word monstrum is a derivative of monere and means ‘a warning, a bad omen’. ‘Monster’ is from this root. In the earlier times, seeing an abnormal animal was regarded as a sign of coming evils. That is why, such animals were called monsters. Naturally, the people were horrified when they saw them. Slowly, any creature- real or imaginary- which horrified people started being called a monster.


The other related words are demonstrate, remonstrate and muster.


IE (s)mer-  to remember

The English 'to remember' has its arisen from Indo-European root, (s)mer-.


The Sanskirt word smriti and the Latin memor come from this root. Both mean ‘memory.’

The words from memor are:

Memors-1: memory, memorable, memorialize

Memor-2: commemorateremember, memorandum


IE kerd-  heart

The English 'to heart' has its arisen from Indo-European root, kerd-.


The Latin cor, the Greek kardia, and the Sanskrit hridya all belong to this family.

Melinee was an editor in a newspaper. One evening when she came home, she found her husband in a particularly romantic mood. “Oh darling,” he said, throwing her handbag aside and taking her into his clasp, “I love you from the core of my heart.”

Melinee smiled, put her finger on his lips and said sensuously, “Darling, that’s tautological. Either say, you love me from your core or from your heart.”

Ouch! Romance with linguists has its own pitfalls.

‘Core’ itself means the heart, the central part of something and is derived from the Latin cor.

To show ‘courage’ is to show heart and face the adversity, while the faint-hearted develop palpitations and run away.

When someone invites you cordially to a wedding in his family, he invites you from his heart (the Hindi
counterpart- ‘uss ne dil se bulaya hai’). A cordial dislike for the custom of dowry is a heartfelt dislike for it.


You go to the wedding and see the newly-weds, beaming with delight at having found each other. You wish them complete accord in their marital life. They look at each other and smirk; of course, they will be in accord, their laughing eyes seem to say, funny that this tottering                                      old uncle should even bother to say that!

You smile and, looking once more at their love-struck faces, hope that their belief does, indeed, come true.

Nothing is more beautiful than a marriage in which both the partners are in complete concord. Nothing is uglier than marital discord.

We still use the phrase ‘to learn by heart.’ In the earlier times, when paper was very expensive and beyond the reach of most, the only way to ‘record’ details was, in fact, ‘to learn them by heart.’

The colourful term ‘dil ka doctor,’ when translated in a no-nonsense manner, becomes ‘cardiologist’, and he treats, not love problems, but cardiac diseases.

Latin sanguis blood


Which actor of Indian cinema used to thunder sanguivorous threats to all his enemies? While you mull over the possibilities, read a story.



Premonition: (n) forewarning, an idea beforehand of what is going to happen.

Origin: L pre-, before + monere, to remind, warn => ‘to warn beforehand’

Omen: (n) a sign which supposedly predicts a good or bad happening in the future. Adjective: ominous

  • A black cat crossing your way as you set out to go for some task is considered to be a bad omen. It is believed to signify that the work you are going to do will not get done.
  • On the same day that Amjad Khan officially signed for the role of Gabbar Singh in Sholay, his wife gave birth to their son. The fledgling actor regarded it as a good omen. It did, indeed, prove to be so. Sholay proved to be a blockbuster and encomiums were heaped on Amjad for his performance.

Remonstrate: (v) to object to something.

Origin: L re-, again + mostrum, a warning => ‘to give a warning again’ => ‘to object to what is currently being done.’

  • Shaaleen had noticed for some time that his friend Vicky was making advances towards his wife. She flirted back with him for amusement. Shaaleen did not remonstrate with her. “If one doesn’t trust one’s own wife,” he thought, “one has no right to be married at all.”

Muster: (v) to gather (all forces) together; (n) a gathering (of soldiers, forces, people etc.).

Origin: L monstrum, warning => ‘evil omen’ => ‘to show’ => ‘to show one’s total strength to the enemy’

  • Ronit finally mustered his courage and told Shreya he loved her.
  • “He had a horror of destroying documents, especially those which were connected with his past cases, and yet it was only once in every year or two that he would muster energy to docket and arrange them; for…the outbursts of passionate energy when he performed the remarkable feats with which his name is associated were followed by reactions of lethargy during which he would lie about with his violin and his books, hardly moving save from the sofa to the table. Thus, month after month, his papers accumulated, until every corner of the room was stacked with bundles of manuscript which were on no account to be burned, and which could not be put away save by their owner.” Dr Watson said about his friend and roommate, the famous detective Sherlock Holmes.

Docket: (n) a page which lists or provides a very brief summary of the various documents contained in a package; a book in a court which

contain brief summaries of the court proceedings of each case; a list of the court cases scheduled for trial. (v) to make a summary of the heads

of a document.

  • The senior advocate tried to get a case out of the docket of one judge and get it into the docket of another, more lenient judge. He failed.

Memorialize: (v) serve as a reminder of.

Origin: L memor, remembering

  • The lovers decided to meet in the same restaurant which memorialized their first date.

Commemorate: (v) serve as a reminder of.

Origin: L com- + memor, remembering

  • The India Gate commemorates the 70,000 Indian soldiers who died in the First World War. 13,516 names of British and Indian

soldiers killed in the Afghan War of 1919 are engraved on the arch and the walls of the monument.

: (n) a written communication.

Origin: L memor => ‘to be remembered.’

  • The protesting students submitted a memorandum to the vice-chancellor of the university.
  • The university signed a memorandum of understanding with the Cambridge University.

Tautology: (n) repeating the same thing, especially in different words; (adj): tautological.

  • Examples of tautology: ‘My belief, my thought is…’, ‘very unique,’ ‘necessary requirement,’ ‘HIV virus’ (because the V in HIV stands for virus) etc.

Pitfall: (n) a covered from the top pit into which animals fall and are trapped; a hidden danger.

Origin: pit + fall => ‘a pit into which one falls.’

: (adj) warm and sincere; heartfelt.

Accord: (n) agreement; harmony of mind and heart.

Origin: L. ad- , to + cor => ‘to lead the hearts towards each other’

  • When you tell a teacher, ‘The report has been prepared according to your specifications,’ you mean ‘The report has been prepared in agreement with your specifications.’

Marital: (adj) of or relating to marriage.

Origin: L. maris, male -> maritus, husband (a woman’s own man).

Smirk: (v) to smile in a self-pleased manner such that it looks offensive to the other person.

Totter: (v) to walk unsteadily or feebly, so that it looks like you can fall anytime.

Concord: (n) agreement; harmony of mind and heart.

Origin: L. com-, together + cor => ‘the hearts are together’

Discord: (n) lack of agreement among persons, groups, or things; tension or strife resulting from a lack of agreement.

Origin: L dis-, apart+ cor => ‘the hearts are apart’

: (adj) of or relating to the heart

: (n) blood-drinker.

Origin: L sanguis, blood + vor-, to feed => ‘the one who feeds on blood.’

: (v) to think deeply over

: (adj) optimistic, cheerful, reddish

Origin: L sanguis, blood => ‘reddish’. A person whose face glows with a reddish tinge is healthy (in disease, one’s face becomes pale). Healthy

people are likely to be cheerful and optimistic too.

  • ‘I never will desert Mr Micawber. Mr Micawber may have concealed his difficulties from me in the first instance, but his sanguine temper may have led him to expect that he would overcome them. The pearl necklace and bracelets which I inherited from mama, have been disposed of for less than half their value; and the set of coral, which was the wedding gift of my papa, has been actually thrown away for nothing. But I never will desert Mr Micawber. No!’ cried Mrs Micawber. (from Charles Dickens’ ‘David Copperfield’).

Desert: (v) to leave a person when he needs you or after promising to help him.

: (n) calmness in a difficult situation.

Origin: L sanguis, blood + frigidus, cold => Fr sang froid => ‘the ability to keep one’s blood cool in a situation where most people would

become feverish’

Diadem: (n) crown

  • The king had a diadem with 10 jewels, the queen’s diadem had five, while the diadem of the princess had a single jewel.
  • On her 18th birthday, the king presented to the princess a diadem of diamonds.

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