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The root regere can tell you stories of not only such maladroit kings as Rajan but also of adroit swordsmen, incorrigible drunkards, corrigenda published in newspapers, rectified mistakes, men of rectitude, resurrection of the dead and resurgence of a dying militant group.

Latin  ducere to lead


An ‘education’ leads a child out of darkness (L. e-, ex- means ‘out’). An ‘introduction’ leads the newcomer into the ongoing conversation.


An inducement leads the babu of the government office into approving a file he otherwise would not have passed.


A deduction brings one’s salary down, or brings a theory down from the general to the particular (L. de-, down). Induction is just the opposite. It leads you into the general from the narrow confines of the particular.


When you ‘reduce’ your expenses, you lead them backwards. The words ‘duke’ and ‘duchess’ too are from ducere.


The other words from this root are:

The Duke and the Duchess lead us-1: ductile, duct

The Duke and the Duchess lead us-2: abduction, seduction

The Duke and the Duchess lead us-3: adduce, conduce

The Duke and the Duchess lead us-4: conduit, educe

The Duke and the Duchess lead us-5: endue, subdue

The Duke and the Duchess lead us-6: transduce, traduce

Greek polis city


The words from this root are:

Police, Polity, politic, impolitic, cosmopolitan, metropolis


The word polis is from an IE root: pel- (different from the pel- meaning ‘to fill’). Now, the IE ‘l’ changes into ‘r’ in Sanskrit, so what is the word that we get in Sanskrit? Pur!!! Yes, that suffix of just so many Indian cities- from the ubiquitous Rampur to Kanpur to Sholapur to Sitapur to Hamirpur to Saharanpur to…- ‘pur’ means city. The ‘pur’ also flew beyond India, and landed right into Singapore. The name of that city-state is a combination of the Sanskrit simha, lion, and puram, city, and so Singapore literally means ‘The Lion City.’


jus, juris
to swear, take an oath


Is it just a coincidence that juris and jurare sound so similar? The answer is ‘No’ because the idea of taking an oath is fundamental to the legal process.


A group of people who are chosen to judge a case are first made to swear that they will uphold the tenets of justice and will be impartial and fair. They are, thereafter, called the ‘Jury’.


A very famous dialogue from the Hindi movies, an integral part of every courtroom scene, is ‘Main Geeta ke upar haath rakh ke qasam khaata hoon ke main jo bhi kahunga, sach kahunga, aur sach ke siwa kuchh nahin kahunga.” If, despite that oath, the witness gives a false testimony, he is committing perjury.


“Tumhe meri qasam hai…mujhe sach batao!” The maudlin mothers in maudlin Bollywood movies often resort to such adjurations to make the hero tell them the truth. And then, when the poor guy does give in to the emotional blackmail and confesses his wrongdoings, they abjure him at once, turning their face away with a decisive “main qasam khaati hoon ke aaj ke baad tumhara chehra nahin dekhoongi!”


An ‘injury’ means ‘an unlawful conduct’, or an injustice. But what is justice in the first place? And, what is law? What makes a law valid? Do we really need to obey the law? What is the purpose of law? What is the function of law? What is the right punishment for an act? Who has the right to make the law? A critical inquiry into all these, and more, questions is called jurisprudence.


Imagine a group of men sitting around a holy fire in a dimly lit cave, chanting mantras and swearing together their loyalty to their common god. They are doing this because they need a favour from their god. Either they need to exorcise a ghost from somebody, or they need to summon a spirit or perform a miracle. Thus, conjuration means to call or send away or alter something, as if by magic or by supernatural powers.


A ‘just’ ruler is one who rules by law, not by his own arbitrary will or whim.


The word ‘judge’ has come from the Latin word judex, which is a compound of jus+ dicere, to say, pronounce. Therefore, a judge is someone who shows or pronounces the law. The body of judges, and therefore, the overall system of justice in a country, is called its ‘judiciary’. The adjective pertaining to the judiciary is judicial.


A judicious man shows good judgment, while a ‘prejudiced’ man makes his judgment about who is guilty even before listening to the actual facts of the case; the principles of justice hold little value for him. (L. pre, before + judicium, judgment).


Latin ordo order

The word ‘order’ is used in two senses. Its first meaning is ‘row, arrangement, rank’, as in the phrase ‘the ascending order’. An ordinary thing is a part of the regular arrangement, that is, it has no quality which will make it stand out. 


The words based on this meaning of the root are:

Ordo-1: Ordinate, inordinate

Ordo-2: primordial, coordinate

Ordo-3: subordinate, insubordination

The other sense of ‘order’ is of a command and is found in ordain, ordinance and ordination.

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