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Barqat was a poor young man of a city called Shams. One day, the cavalcade of the city’s princess, Aaleen, was passing through the bazaar where his grocery shop was. He caught a glimpse of her. He was so dazzled by her beauty that he immediately fell in love with her.

The princess visited the city twice a month. Barqat lived for those two days. And when they came, he moved heaven and earth to see her. Once, he had even dressed up as a transvestite! Because atransvestite’s blessings were thought to come true, the princess’ security guards had let him go up to her and bless her head. She had then touched his feet!

How deliriously happy he had been! He had felt like her husband!


He knew he could never be Aaleen’s husband. The difference in their social ranks was prohibitive. How he wished it wasn’t! How he wished she could know how much he loved her!

One day, an evil jinn came to the mountain in the north of Shams. He was taller than 20 men combined and broader than a 100. His skin was frighteningly white. He uprooted trees as if they were mere twigs and huge rocks as if they were pebbles and hurled them at the city. Hundreds of citizens died and thousands were mangled. Then, as suddenly as this barrage of trees and rocks had started, it stopped. People saw the jinn lie down on the mountain. They looked at the dead bodies strewn all around them and at their own wounded bodies and knew not how to lament this sudden calamity.


The next day, the jinn repeated his fusillade. This time, the royal army was ready. The soldiers shot thousands of arrows and spears at him. But their volley had no effect on him! He simply brushed off all the munitions that had dug into his skin. He did not get even a single scratch! One man, who had climbed close to a toe of the jinn, poured oil over it and set it afire. The fire extinguished by itself and not even a bit of the jinn’s skin was seared. The jinn continued to hurl his volleys at the city and when he got tired, stopped, lay down and snored.


The royal sorcerer said that the jinn was probably a Hathroo jinn. Nobody could kill the jinns of that species; they could die only at their own hands. “Obviously, he would never kill himself,” the king said with distress. Did that mean that the jinn was invincible? Would they never be able to defeat him? That day, he had killed 500 people and the day before, 400. Would the death count continue unabated? The worried king announced that whosoever could vanquish the jinn and evict him from the city would be rewarded with Princess Aaleen.


Here was his chance! His only chance to win Aaleen! Barqat thought hard. Then, he presented himself before the king and said that he could defeat the jinn. The king looked at his lanky body and said, “I doubt.”


“The strength of a man lies in his mind, my lord” Barqat said with a smile. His bold manner evinced his confidence.

It convinced the king. He asked Barqat what resources he needed. Barqat requested for the royal sorcerer.


He asked the royal sorcerer to turn him into a mosquito which buzzed a thousand times louder and stung a thousand times sharper than a normal mosquito. The sorcerer understood. “That is an intelligent plan,” he smiled. He muttered some incantations over Barqat’s head and lo! Barqat metamorphosed into a mosquito!

“The young man’s plan is very risky, my lord,” the sorcerer remarked after the mosquito had flown out. “He can easily get killed. But, there is a slim possibility of success too.”


The mosquito reached the mountain. The jinn lay sprawled over a flat plateau. He was slumbering. The mosquito started buzzing in his left ear. Irked, the jinn covered his ear with his hand and turned over. The mosquito buzzed into the right ear now. “Oho!” the jinn moaned in sleep and covered that ear with his free hand. The mosquito bit the hand. The jinn winced at the spasm of pain and roughly rubbed the bitten area against his body. The mosquito bit the other hand now. That was enough! The jinn sat up in great anger. Who had disturbed his sleep? He roared. Who had dared? The playful mosquito started buzzing around one of his ears. The jinn slapped it with great fury, but the mosquito flew out of the way and the slap hit his own face. Hard! The jinn was now in a black rage. The mosquito bit him on his left forearm. The jinn swore that he would squash the little devil and hit it with full force. The mosquito moved away with celerity and the jinn’s right hand hit his left forearm with such force that the left arm was fractured.


The mosquito continued to rile the jinn relentlessly. By the next evening, the jinn was utterly sleep-deprived, enervated and mangled. Every part of his body was lacerated. The mosquito now flew back to the royal sorcerer and asked him to transmute ten thousand soldiers into similar mosquitoes. The sorcerer immediately obliged.


The jinn had just started thinking that the horrid mosquito was gone for good. When he saw it return with a horde of mosquitoes, he felt so trapped and afraid and desperate that the only escape he could think of was to cut his throat.


Great joy spread in the city. The mosquitoes returned. The sorcerer transmuted them into men again. The king promulgated that the valiant Barqat would be married to Princess Aaleen that evening itself. He told the queen to adorn the bride.


The queen found not Aaleen but her letter in her chamber. She had written that she refused the marriage. Her father could have rewarded the hero with jewels or cash or with a post in the court, why with her? Was she too just a commodity, just a prize to be given? And a prize that anybody could win, whether he was a hoary old man or a father of five? By vanquishing a jinn, a man only proved his bravery, she wrote; bravery had no correlation with the sensitivity, tender-heartedness and other virtues she desired in her husband. But nobody had even asked her what she wanted. She also knew that her point of view would not be understood. So, she was leaving the palace.


The king was livid. How dare his daughter insult him like that? He assured Barqat that his bride would be brought back. Till then, Barqat would be a royal guest.


Barqat too was disappointed. The Aaleen of his dreams had been so docile and obedient, an ideal woman. And this real Aaleen? She could even affront her own father! What was all that nonsense aboutasking her about marriage? Did a woman have to be asked? Anybody else would never marry a run-away woman. But, he would still forgive her effrontery and accept her. With his love, he would make her the Aaleen of his dreams.


He did not get the chance though. Princess Aaleen was captured from a village by the royal army. Feeling utterly hopeless, she pulled out a dagger and killed herself.


Latin rapere to seize, take by force

When a man seizes a woman and forces himself upon her, his act is called a ‘rape’. The Sanskrit word for it, balatkaar, too is formed on the same image. Bal is strength, force; something done by force is called balaat, and so balaatkaar means ‘an act of force.’


Then there is the word ‘rapid’—meaning swift and speedy—which initially denoted the quick carrying off of the valuables that had been seized.


The other words built on the idea of seizing or being seized are:

Rapere-1: rapacious, rapine

Rapere-2: rapt, rapture, enrapture

Rapere-3: ravish, ravage, ravenous

Rapere-4: ravine, surreptitious, usurp


Latin capere to take, seize, catch

To ‘capture’ an absconding criminal means to grab him by his collar or by his arm as he is trying to run away and put him in jail. Once he has been captured, he is called a ‘captive’. A ‘captivating’ beauty seizes the minds of men in a similar fashion. They become utterly incapable of seeing anything but her, of thinking about anything but her.


‘Receptacles’ and ‘capsules’ are both vessels that take in matter. The ‘capacity’ of a receptacle is the amount of matter that it can take.


Something or somebody who has been taken out of the group is called an ‘exception’. All the students of Army Public School were taken to the picnic, except Rinku. He was left behind as a punishment for his exceptionable conduct the day before. He had burst crackers in the boys’ toilet.


The ‘recipient’ of an award is the man who takes it. A ‘receptive’ mind is the one that is ready to take in new ideas and suggestions.

How you ‘perceive’ things is how you take them. A ‘perceptive’ critic is the one who can take in even those nuances that everybody else misses.


The other words from this root are:

Capere-1: capacious, captious, caitiff

Capere-2: anticipate, conceive, conception

Capere-3: inception, incipient, intercept

Capere-4: precept, recuperate, susceptible

Capere-5: conceit, deceit

Latin prehendere, prendere to grasp, to get hold of

You have often encountered Reading Comprehension questions. But what does ‘Reading Comprehension’ mean exactly? You are given a passage to read. It is followed by a set of questions which test how much you have grasped of what you read. ‘Comprehension’ means ‘understanding, the ability to grasp ideas.’


Look at your body and at the meaning of the word prehensile and tell me, which part of your body is prehensile?


The answer is hands. All primates have prehensile hands; except humans, they have prehensile feet too. Monkeys have prehensile tails. Elephants have prehensile trunks.

When you grasp a running criminal by his collar, you apprehend him. The ‘prison’ that you throw him into also has the same word root.


The following words too have origins in prehendere:

Prehendere-1: apprehensive, misapprehension

Prehendere-2: comprehensive, reprehend, reprehensible

Prehendere-3: comprise, apprise, reprise

Prehendere-4: reprisal, pregnable

Prehendere-5: apprentice, prize

Prehendere-6: enterprise, entrepreneur


Transvestite: (n) a person who dresses and behaves like the opposite sex. Usually used for a man who dresses and behaves like a woman.

Origin: L trans-, across + vestire, to dress


Prohibitive: (adj) tending to prohibit something; tending to prohibit the purchase or use of something.

  • The prohibitive prices of fruits have kept them away from the middle class and poor families.

Twig: (n) a very thin, young, small branch of a plant or a tree.


Hurl: (v) to throw with great force.

Hurl is usually confused with hurtle.

Hurtle: (v) to rush with great speed.

  • Disowned by his family, rejected by his friends and torn apart by his remorse at all the wrongs he had done, the man drank and drank and drank and hurtled to his death.

Mangle: (v) to injure the body severely by beating, cutting, crushing etc.; to deform something totally by applying lot of force

  • The car was badly mangled in the head-on collision with the truck.

Barrage: (n) a bombardment of either bullets, missiles, etc. or of questions, insults, etc.


Strewn: (adj) scattered; (v) strew: to scatter

  • The groom’s cousins strew flower petals in his path as he brought the bride home.
  • The dead man’s family strew his ashes in the holy Ganga at Haridwar.

Calamity: (n) a disaster; (adj) calamitous.

  • Earthquakes, floods, war, terror attacks are all calamities.

Fusillade: (n) a continuous firing from a number of firearms at the same time.

Origin: Fr fusil, gun

  • Executing a person by firing squad is also sometimes called fusillading.
  • Forty five civilians and three policemen were killed in a machine gun fusillade by three terrorists in a crowded bus stand.

Volley: (n) a fusillade; the bullets or missiles fired in a fusillade.


Munitions: (n) weapons and ammunition used in a war.


Seared: (adj) burnt; (v) sear: to burn the surface of

  • The host of the cookery show shared with the viewers the recipe of ‘seared fish with mushrooms.’ Vipul liked the look of the dish and tried to make it himself. When he was taking a pan off the gas stove with a cloth napkin, the loose end of the napkin caught fire from the flame. Panicked, Vipul threw the burning napkin on the shelf and tried to put out the fire with his hands. The fire was extinguished but his hands were seared in the process.

Invincible: (adj) one who cannot be defeated.

Origin: L in-, not + vincere, to overcome + -iblis, able => ‘not overcome-able’


Vanquish: (v) to defeat, overcome

Origin: L vincere, to overcome

  • James Bond vanquished many evil brains like Goldfinger and Blofeld.

Evict: (v) to kick out.

Origin: L e-, out + vincere, to overcome => ‘to overcome and throw out’

  • The word ‘victory’ too is from the root vincere.

Lanky: (adj) tall and thin such that the person looks as if merely clothes have been hung on a hanger.


Evince: (v) to show clearly.

Origin: L e-, out + vincere, to overcome => ‘to overcome an argument and bring out the truth’


Convince: (v) to make someone believe or agree with something.

Origin: L con- + vincere, to overcome => ‘to overcome disbelief or doubt’

  • A man about whose role in a crime, a judge or a jury is convinced, is called a convict.

Metamorphose: (v) to change the form. A complete change in form is called a metamorphosis.

Origin: Gk meta-, change + morphe, form


Sprawl: (v) to sit or lie with the legs and arms spread out gracelessly; to spread out gracelessly; (n) a graceless spreading out of something, usually of a city.

  • The city sprawled over the surrounding agricultural land.
  • Due to the city’s sprawl, it became harder and harder to find open areas.

Slumber: (v) to sleep; (n) sleep, esp. light sleep.

  • No one dared to wake the giant from his slumber.

Wince: (n) a sudden facial or bodily expression of pain; (v) to shrink involuntarily, as in pain.


Spasm: (n) a sudden, short-lived wave of pain or joy or energy, etc.; a sudden, involuntary contraction of one or more muscles.

  • The related adjective is spasmodic.
  • Spasmodic: (adj) occuring in short bursts which are separated by periods of inactivity; fitful, intermittent.
  • Spasmodic cough, spasmodic work

Celerity: (n) speed

Origin: L celer, swift.

  • Two related words are: accelerate and decelerate

Accelerate: (v) to take the speed up

Decelerate: (v) to take the speed down


Rile: (v) to irritate.

  • The Britishers were riled by a survey report which ranked France higher in the list of ‘Best countries to live in.’

Enervate: (v) to deprive of energy, exhaust; (adj) enervated: exhausted.

Origin: L e-, out + nervus, nerve fibre, muscle + -ate => ‘to take the muscles out’ => ‘to deprive of strength.’


Lacerated: (adj) with the skin cut or torn apart; (v) lacerate: to tear apart the skin or wound in other manners.


Horrid: (adj) causing horror, horrible.

Origin: Related with horror.

  • Another word which comes from the same root as horror is ‘abhor.’
  • Abhor: (v) to hate something so strongly that you shrink away in horror the moment you see it; (n) abhorrence.
  • She abhorred lies. This is much stronger than saying that she disliked lies. The use of the word abhorred suggests that she just could not stand lies.

Horde: (n) a large group, a crowd.

  • In the 8th century a.d., Persia (modern day Iran) was run over by hordes of Arabs. Many Persians rushed to India and sought refuge here. Jaidev Rana, a Hindu king, welcomed them and promised that India would be a safe haven for them. He, however, stipulated that the Persians should marry within their community and make no attempts at proselytising. Those Persians were the progenitors of the Parsi community of India.
  • Proselytise: (v) to convert or try to make someone convert his religion. A person who does change his religion is called a proselyte.

Promulgate: (v) to declare, to put into effect with a public announcement.

  • The Mughal emperor Akbar promulgated a syncretic religion called Din-e-Ilahi, which combined the best principles of Islam, Hinduism, Jainism, Zoroastrianism and Christianity.

Correlation: (n) mutual relationship.


Affront: (v) to insult in front of everyone by showing contempt or disrespect; (n) an open insult.

Origin: L ad, at + frontem, front => ‘to strike at the front’ => ‘to strike at the face’


Rapacious: (adj) extremely greedy, looting.

Origin: L rapere, to seize => ‘seizing away the desired thing.’

  • The rapacious humans have shamelessly looted the earth which cares for them like a mother.

Rapine: (n) the act of violently seizing another’s property

Origin: L rapere, to seize

  • The dacoits resorted to plunder and rapine, laying waste the whole village.
    Plunder: (v) to loot.
  • Beware: rapine is not ‘raping’

Rapt: (adj) with mind totally absorbed into an activity; enraptured.

Origin: L rapere, to seize => ‘to seize the mind’ => ‘to grab total attention of the mind’

  • The class listened to the teacher with rapt attention. Not an extra sound could be heard.

Rapture: (n) extreme delight, ecstasy.

Origin: rapt + -ure => ‘the state of one’s mind being totally seized by an emotion’ => ‘the state of being so happy that you just cannot see or think anything else.’

  • The Kathak dancer depicted the rapture of a girl who is going to meet her beloved. The performance was so beautiful that the audience was enraptured.

Enrapture: (v) to put into the state of rapture; to delight very, very much

Origin: en-, in + rapture


Ravish: (v) to carry off by force; to enrapture

Origin: L rapere -> Old Fr ravir, to seize

  • When you use the phrases ‘ravishing beauty’ or ‘ravishing music’ or ‘ravishing roses’, what you mean is that you are delighted by the woman’s beauty or the music or the roses.
  • The kingdom of Hupai ravished many of her neighboring kingdoms in her bid to be the largest kingdom of the earth.

Ravage: (v) to destroy completely or almost completely.

Origin: L rapere -> Old Fr ravir, to seize => ‘to seize and then destroy it violently, with force.’

Age ravaged her beauty.

  • A violent tornado ravaged east Bihar, killing 80 people, besides rendering thousands homeless.
  • The dacoits ravaged the village. Try to picture this. Here the word ‘ravaged’ has an additional implication. It means, not only are the dacoits destroying the houses and the huts of the village, they are also looting them. Looting is a type of destruction too.

Ravenous: (adj) extremely hungry; extremely greedy.

Origin: L rapere -> Old Fr ravir, to seize -> Old Fr. ravin, to rush violently

  • His friends were astonished to see him gobble a whole burger in two huge bites. He ordered the waiter to bring two more burgers and explained to them, “I’ve not eaten anything for 24 hours. I am ravenous.”

Ravine: (n) a narrow, deep pit at whose base a river flows and which is sandwiched between two steep hills.

Origin: L rapere -> Old Fr ravir, to seize -> Old Fr. ravin, to rush violently => ‘water rushing at great speed’

  • Twenty persons were killed when a bus fell into a ravine in Himachal Pradesh.

Surreptitious: (adj) done secretly so that no one can notice.

Origin: L sub-, below + rapere, to seize => ‘to seize from below instead of from above’ => ‘to take without being noticed.’

  • After receiving a bribe from a guest at the conference, the waiter surreptitiously replaced the president’s half-drunk glass of juice with another glass which had the same amount of juice but to which poison had been added.

Usurp: (v) to seize something you have no rights over by using force.

Origin: L usus, to use + rapere, to seize => ‘to seize and use’

  • The tenants usurped the house they had rented.
  • The chief of the military usurped the king’s authority.

Abscond: (v) to run away and go in hiding.

  • The man who had murdered the minister is absconding. The police have conducted raids at the houses of all his family friends and friends but have not been able to find him. They have now released his sketch to the public and declared a reward for whoever helps them find him.

Exceptionable: (adj) objectionable

Origin: L ex-, out + capere, to take + -able => ‘worthy of being taken out from the rest of the things’ => ‘worthy of being taken out from the rest of the things because no other thing is as bad.’

  • The opposite is unexceptionable.
  • Unexceptionable: (adj) that about which no one can raise an objection.
  • The politician’s conduct as a Member of Parliament was unexceptionable.

Nuance: (n) a slight difference in meaning, colour, etc.; a fine shade of meaning.

  • The words ‘collect’ and ‘gather’ mean broadly the same but differ in the nuances. ‘Collect’ may imply a careful selection based on some property or rule but ‘gather’ means only accumulation.

Capacious: (adj) spacious, having a lot of capacity.

Origin: L capere, to hold => ‘able to hold much’

  • The car was not a car but a capacious luxurious room that moved placidly on the road.

Captious: (adj) faultfinding; (of arguments, questions, etc. ) trying to trap you.

Origin: L capere, to seize

  • The captious neighbourhood aunties have nothing better to do than to criticize anything and everything that anybody does.
  • A captious argument looks valid on the surface and will trap anybody who is not alert enough to find out its flawed reasoning. An example of a captious argument: X said to Y: ‘You are different from me. You are not what I am.’ Now this was so obviously true to Y that he readily agreed. Next, X said: ‘I am a human.’ Again, the truth of that statement was quite evident. So Y granted this too. Then, X added: ‘Therefore, you are not a human.”

Caitiff: (n) a villainous person with no morals.

Origin: L capere, to seize -> captivus, captive, that is, a person who is seized for a villainy -> ME caitiff

  • The businessman fell in love with the ravishing woman the moment he saw her. He was dismayed when he found that she was married. When, however, he learnt that her husband was a caitiff and greedy to the last degree, he got an idea. He offered 10 lakh to the husband to divorce his wife and, seeing so much money for the first time in his life, the despicable husband readily agreed.

Anticipate: (v) to see, act or feel something in advance; to look forward to something.

Origin: L ante-, before + capere, to seize => ‘to seize beforehand’

  • The MLA anticipated arrest by the police. So, he filed for an anticipatory bail in the court.
  • Though Kanav wished to be liked by Peehu, he did not try to anticipate her opinions before putting forward his own. He wanted her to see his true self and talked frankly.

Conceive: (v) to become pregnant with; to begin; to think or understand.

Origin: L con- + capere, to take => ‘something new taking hold’

  • When a woman conceives, it means a life has begun within her.
  • He has been a part of the project from the day it was conceived.

Conception: (n) beginning

Origin: noun form of conceive.

  • He has been a part of the project since its conception.

Inception: (n) beginning

Origin: L in-, in + capere, to take => ‘to take in something new’

  • The charity hospital has served 5,000 poor patients since its inception 10 months ago.

Incipient: (adj) beginning

Origin: adjective form of inception

  • An incipient stage fire can be controlled with fire extinguishers or small water hoses. At this stage, firefighters do not even need to wear any protective equipment.
  • His literary fame in the 1940s was only incipient, his better work was just then beginning.

Intercept: (v) to get hold of something while it is moving from its source to its destination.

Origin: L inter-, between + capere, to take => ‘to take in between’

  • The intelligence officials intercepted the telephonic conversation of the two suspected terrorists.
  • The Pakistan Navy intercepted an Indian ship that was going to Iran.

Precept: (n) a rule or principle about how to act.

Origin: L pre-, before + capere, to take => ‘to take beforehand’ => ‘to learn something beforehand’ => ‘a rule or principle that is taught’

  • He practiced the precept of thinking before leaping. No one had ever seen him do something rashly and then feel penitent later.
  • Penitent: (adj) feeling sorry for the wrongs done.

Recuperate: (v) to recover.

Origin: L re-, back + capere, to take => ‘to take back health and energy’

  • Hari recovered enough to get out of the hospital but was still weak and so went to the hills to recuperate.

Yoga helps one recuperate from fatigue.


Susceptible: (adj) likely to be influenced or affected by.

Origin: L sub-, under + capere, to take + -iblis, able => ‘able to take up from under’ => ‘responsive’

  • Most women are susceptible to flattery.
  • The weak immunity of an AIDS patient makes him susceptible to myriad infections.
  • Myriad: (adj) innumerable

Conceit: (n) a very high opinion about oneself.

Origin: from conceive. Conceive -> conceit is modelled on receive -> receipt and deceive -> deceit

  • She was remarkably full of conceit. When her room-mate wished her good luck for the job interview, she replied unsmilingly, “Keep your ‘good lucks’ with yourself. Who else but I will get the job.” Even during the interview, when one of the panelists asked her why they should choose her over the other candidates, she raised one eyebrow and said, Because I’m the best.” When they asked her on what basis she claimed that, she merely said, “I’ve seen others. So, I know.” She was not selected for the job. The unanimous opinion of the inteview panel was that such a conceited person would be a bad learner. Someone who thought she was already better than everybody was not very likely to listen to or learn from them.

Deceit: (n) cheating, misleading; deception; (v) deceive: to cheat.

Origin: L de-, down + capere, to take => ‘to take into a trap’

  • It was only after Sukanya Devi’s husband died of a heart attack at the age of 60, that she discovered that he had had another wife for the past 25 years. She was benumbed by his deceit. She could not understand how he could have possibly deceived her for 25 years (no less!) without her feeling the slightest doubt and him feeling the slightest guilt. She didn’t know how to react. And, whom to show her reaction to? That other woman and her children were as much the victims of her husband’s deception as she and her children were.

Prehensile: (adj) capable of grasping.

Origin: L prehendere, to grasp

  • Medusa is a female superhero comic character with prehensile hair. She can use her hair to lift and move heavy objects and can even grasp persons with it.

Apprehend: (v) to arrest; to understand; to fear.

Origin: L ad- + prehendere, to grasp => ‘to grasp, either a running away criminal or some topic’

  • In the film Sholay, Thakur Baldev Singh hires Jai and Veeru to apprehend Gabbar. Thakur himself had apprehended the dacoit once but Gabbar had managed to escape from the jail and had killed Thakur’s almost entire family in vengeance.
  • When the monsoons did not arrive even one week after their usual time, the farmers apprehended a drought.
  • The farmers apprehended the importance of saving the forest. They knew intuitively that cutting down all the trees would reduce the rainfall in the area and the fertility of their lands.

Apprehensive: (adj) fearful, uneasy.

Origin: L ad- + prehendere, to grasp => ‘capable of grasping a sense of danger’

  • She was apprehensive that she was being followed and kept looking around. She made it a point to walk only on crowded roads.

Misapprehension: (n) misunderstanding

Origin: Mis-, wrong + apprehension, understanding

  • “I do not want you to be under any misapprehension that I am still hankering after you,” Raj roughly told his ex-girlfriend Lavi. “I came here only because Simi insisted.” Simi was their common friend. It was her wedding that day and Raj and Lavi—who had been lovers two years ago—had both come to attend it.
  • Hanker: (v) to long for something so strongly that you find no rest or peace.
    Raj feared that Lavi may misapprehend his coming to the marriage as his excuse to get near her once again. That was why he made it clear that that was not the case.

Comprehensive: (adj) large in scope; covering many details or aspects.

Origin: L com- + prehendere, to grasp => ‘grasping much’

  • The documentary provides comprehensive information on the Royal Bengal Tiger.

Reprehend: (v) to blame or criticize.

Origin: L re-, back + prehendere, to grasp => ‘to grasp and pull back’ => ‘to restrain’

  • One should reprehend the deed, not the doer.

Reprehensible: (adj) blameworthy

Origin: reprehend + -able

  • The Opposition termed as most reprehensible the remark of the Chief Minister that the suicide of a farmer in the state the previous day was “a drama”.

Comprise: (v) consist of.

Origin: L com-, together + prehendere, to get hold of => ‘to hold components together’

  • The gift pack comprised of three novels, two poetry books and one movie dvd.

Apprise: (v) to inform.

Origin: from apprehend => ‘to make apprehend’ => ‘to teach, inform’

  • The blackmailer threatened to apprise the police of the businessman’s many crimes.
  • “What’s happening?” The father rushed to the children’s room upon hear hearing shouts of his two sons. His daughter, who had witnessed the whole scene and had unsuccessfully tried to stop the fight, apprised him of how the fight had started.

Reprise: (v) to repeat.

Origin; L re-, again + prehendere, to grasp => ‘to grasp once again’

  • Trisha Oberoi reprised her role of a cute ghost in the sequel to the movie “Pyara sa bhoot.

Reprisal: (n) the act of giving a tit for a tat; giving back at least as much harm and injury as you received.

Origin: from reprise

  • At the 1972 Olympics in Munich, Germany, Palestinian terrorists kidnapped—and killed—11 Israeli athletes. This triggered vengeful reprisals by the outraged Jewish state and further, counter reprisals by Palestinian groups.
  • When America launched its reprisals for 9/11, the only evidence against Osama Bin Laden consisted of intelligence chatter and guesswork. There was no concrete proof at all.

Pregnable: (adj) open to attack.

Origin: L prehendere, grasp + -able => ‘capable of being grasped’

  • The opposite of pregnable is impregnable, meaning ‘that which cannot be attacked or won.’
  • The security was so tight outside the royal palace that it was considered impregnable. It was said that even a bird could not flutter its wings there. Yet, somebody managed to kill the king.
  • Do not confuse impregnable with impregnate, which means ‘to make pregnant’ and is not from the root prehendere.

Apprentice: (n) a person who works with an expert to learn work.

Origin: L ad- + prehendere, to grasp => ‘one who is grasping the methods and techniques of work’


Prize: (v) to force open or out as if with a lever.

Origin: L prehendere, to seize

  • The policemen prized out the truth from the criminal by beating him severly.

Enterprise: (n) a risky project that can be undertaken only by the bold; a company; boldness, adventurous spirit.

Origin: L entre-, between, in the midst of + prehendere, to seize => ‘to seize an opportunity’

  • A private company can be called a ‘private enterprise’.
  • The enterprising man left his well-paying job and started his own enterprise.

Entrepreneur: (n) a person who starts his own business.

Origin: L entre-, between, in the midst of + prehendere, to seize => ‘to seize an opportunity’

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