Coupon Accepted Successfully!


Paragraph 4

Love is not the only thing that sinks people. Sea storms do too. The visibility was poor as gusts and gales raged, and before the captain realized, the ship hit an iceberg! He immediately sounded the alarm and ordered all sailors to jettison the cargo. This frantic effort could not save the vessel. It sunk. Men floundered about in the waters, fighting for life. By the time help arrived, all that was left were dead bodies and flotsam.


The tragic news drew many an ejaculation of horror from whoever heard it.

The bereaved families conjectured that it was the fault of the captain. He had not slowed down the ship, they said, despite the storm and the reports that ice floes were present in the area. But of course their judgment was subjective; their loss had made them unable to look at the situation objectively. With the objective of investigating the cause of the accident, the government instituted a committee. Whatever they may do now but the men once lost will never come back. Like a projectile never does.


Greek ballein to throw

The words from this root are:


Throw the ball: ballistics, hyperbole

Ballein means to throw: parabola, palaver, problematic

Throw the ball, oh, throw, throw, throw!: parleyparlanceparliament


Jesus Christ often told parables to impart his message to his followers in a manner that they would both enjoy and understand. An example is ‘the parable of the prodigal son’. It is the story of a man who has two sons. The younger son is insolent and demands his share of property while his father is still alive. The father fulfills his wish. The son then goes away with all his money and wastes it recklessly. He comes to his senses only when he has squandered all his wealth and has to do menial jobs to buy his food. Then, he feels sorry for all that he’s done and returns to his father and falling at his feet, pleads with him to accept him as his servant since he is no longer worthy of being his son. The father picks him up and hugging him with love, shouts to his servants to kill a calf to celebrate his son’s return. The elder son complains, “Father, I feel cheated. He did not respect you, took all his share, spent it as he wanted and now, he is back in the family. What did he lose? Nothing. And, what did I gain by respecting every word of yours and going not a step beyond your wishes? Nothing.” The father smiled and explained, “My son, you have always been with me. Everything that I have is yours. The reason why we must celebrate is that this other son of mine was dead and has come alive again. We have found him whom we had lost.” Through this parable, Jesus warns his followers that someone who rebels against the loving father, the Almighty, has to ultimately suffer for his sins. But if, even then, he confesses his sins to God and feels sorry for them from the heart, God is so generous that he forgives him easily.


Latin torquere to twist

A ‘torque’ is a twisting force. It makes a body rotate or twist about an axis. A tortuous road is full of twists and turns, as in the hills.


Mrs Jayanti Lal, Mrs Sheila Punj and the other eight members of the kitty party were counselling their youngest and soon-to-be-married member, Naina, on the perfect honeymoon spot.


Mrs Punj suggested a hill station. Mrs Lal immediately contorted her nose and said, “Ugh! Hills have nothing to offer but tiring trekking on tortuous tracks. Take my advice, Naina. Go to a beach.”


Mrs Punj retorted with a sweet smile. “The tortuous tracks won’t worry you Naina. You are fit.” Ha-ha, she laughed inwards. “One should have seen the face of that fat and fatuous Jayanti Lal! She did not mutter a single word after that for the whole evening,” she triumphantly told her husband later in the evening.

Torquere is also involved in ugly torts like distorting truth and extorting money.


Gust: (n) a sudden, strong blast of wind.


Gale: (n) a very strong wind.


Jettison: (v) to throw goods overboard from a sinking vessel in order to lighten its weight. The goods, thus thrown, are called the Jetsam.

Origin: L jacere, to throw -> jactare, to throw


Frantic: (adj) desperate or crazy with fear or anger, etc. Alternate spelling: frenetic.

  • The state of violent excitement that a frantic person shows is called a frenzy.

Flounder: (v) to struggle clumsily or helplessly.

Origin: from founder, which means ‘to sink.’


Flotsam: (n) the wreckage of a ship and the jetsam which did not sink and is found floating on the water

Origin: from ‘float’


Ejaculation: (n) exclamation

Origin: L e-, out + jacere, to throw => ‘to throw out (words, for example)’


Bereaved: (adj) grieving at the death of a loved one. Also, bereft.

Origin: OE Be+ reave, to rob => ‘robbed of a treasure’

  • Twenty people lost their lives in a train accident. The Railways Minister announced a grant of 1 lakh to the bereaved families. Bereft of her only son, a crying old woman asked the minister if the money could bring her son back. The minister had no answer.

Conjecture: (v) to guess; to make an opinion without sufficient evidence; (n) such an opinion.

Origin: L com-, together + jacere, to throw => ‘to throw the clues together and form a theory.’


Floe: (n) a detached floating ice sheet.

Origin: from float.


Subjective: (adj) belonging to the mind of the subject; therefore, changing with his mental state

Origin: L sub-, under + jacere, to throw


Objective: (adj) related to a tangible object; therefore, unchanging, uninfluenced by emotions.

Origin: L ob- + jacere, to throw


Objective: (n) goal; something worked toward or striven for.

Origin: L ob- + jacere, to throw


Projectile: an object ‘thrown forward’ which is incapable of self-propulsion.

Origin:. L pro-, forth + jacere, to throw

  • The path followed by a projectile is called its trajectory.

Origin: L trans-, across + jacere, to throw


Parable: (n) a story which teaches a moral or religious lesson.

Origin: Gk para-, alongside + ballein, to throw => ‘to throw the lesson you want to teach alongside a story’ => ‘a seemingly simple story whose characters actually have a deeper, symbolic meaning and which gives a profound lesson.’


Prodigal: (adj) spending extravagantly.


Insolent: (adj) rude


Reckless: (adj) one who acts without thinking of the consequences, rash.

Origin: reck, to think + less.

  • “Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts. Don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours.” Kurt Vonnegut
    A related word is reckon.

Squander: (v) to waste away.


Ballistics: (n) study of projectiles which are used as firearms, such as bullets, rockets, missiles, etc., (adj) ballistic: related with ballistics, become illogicaly angry.

Origin: Gk ballein, to throw

  • India has many indigenous ballistic missiles
  • The housewife went ballistic when the servant broke the expensive vase.

Hyperbole: (n) a statement which is exaggerated for effect, to convey a sentiment or idea

Origin: Gk hyper, beyond + ballein, to throw => to throw beyond

Examples of hyperbole:

  • To say, “The whole town was there at Sharma’s birthday bash,” when every resident of the town was not actually there.To say, “You are the best father in the whole world,” without having any survey or formal comparison with every other father in the world.
  • A housewife complaining, “The electricity is always gone here,” when, in fact, the power cuts in her city last for two hours in the morning and two hours in the evening.
  • The geometric curve hyperbola has the same etymology as hyperbole.

Parabola: (n) a geometric curve each point of which is equidistant from a fixed point (focus) and a fixed line (directrix).

Origin: Gk para-, alongside + ballein, to throw => ‘to throw alongside’ => ‘to compare’


Palaver: (n) idle talk; (v) to talk idly.

Origin: Gk para-, alongside + ballein, to throw => ‘to throw alongside’ => ‘to compare’ => ‘to compare notes’ => ‘to talk’

  • The two old women—sisters, one of whom had come to stay with the other after a long, long time—sat in the cosy sun of the winter day and talked about relatives and their childhood. Their palaver ended only when the grandchildren of the host sister returned from school.
  • Sheikh Chili’s father challenged him to execute his dreams and not spend his time palavering about them.

Problematic: (adj) causing problem, questionable.

Origin: from ‘problem.’ Etymology of problem: Gk pro-, forth + ballein, to throw => ‘to throw before one in one’s path’ => ‘to present an obstacle’ a problematic future, a problematic idea, a problematic child.


Parley: (v) to talk; to have a conference or discussion. (n) such a conference.

Origin: Gk para-, alongside + ballein, to throw => ‘to throw alongside’ => ‘to compare’ => ‘to compare notes’ => ‘to talk’

  • The peace parley between the heads of the two warring countries failed in the seventh round.
  • The villagers sent Sham, who being a BA was the most educated among them, to parley with the deputy commissioner on their behalf for linking their village to the main road which ran a few kilometres away.

Parlance: (n) speech, way of speaking.

Origin: related with parley.

  • The Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code has entered the common parlance to denote a cheater.
  • In the legal parlance, a criminal is a person whose crime has been proved in a court. However, the common people use the word for anybody who has been charged with a crime.

Parliament: (n) a place or meeting where parleys on public or national issues are held.

Origin: related with parley.

  • Two words related with parliament are: parliamentary and unparliamentary.
    Parliamentary: (adj) related with Parliament, according to the rules of the Parliament.
    Unparliamentary: (adj) not according to the rules of the Parliament.
  • When an Opposition leader named two of his former colleagues in a press conference and said that they had now started licking the shoes of the Prime Minister like dogs, there was an uproar in the political circles. Many politicians criticized his use of unparliamentary language for his colleagues.

Tortuous: (adj) full of twists and turns.

Origin: L torquere, to twist


Contort: (v) to twist out of shape.

Origin: L com- + torquere, to twist


Trek: (n) a journey, especially a difficult one; (v) such a journey

Origin: related with ‘track’


Alliteration: (n) the words of a phrase or sentence having the same first letter or first sound.

Origin: L ad- + littera, letter

  • An example of alliteration: Chandu ke chacha ne Chandu ki chachi ko chaandi ke chamche se chatni chataai.
  • The other words from the root littera are: letter, literacy and obliterate.

Obliterate: (v) to destroy completely.

Origin: L ob-. Against + littera, letter => ‘to rub against a letter’ => ‘to make the letter disappear.’

  • The hero of the movie Naam-o-nishaan mitaa doonga vowed to obliterate the villain and his evil empire.

Retort: (v) to give a clever reply; (n) such a reply.

Origin: L re-, back + torquere, to twist => ‘to turn back’


Fatuous: (adj) silly

Origin: L fatuus, foolish

  • Related word: infatuate, meaning ‘to make silly.’

Origin: L in-, in + fatuus, foolish => ‘to bring into foolishness’

  • Many people initially behave foolishly around the people they are attracted to. This is called infatuation.


Tort: (n) any wrongdoing, other than those related to contracts, which can be addressed and remedied by civil law; the area of law that deals with such wrongdoings.

Origin: L torquere, to twist => ‘twisted’ => ‘injured’


Distortion: (n) twisting out of shape; (v) distort.

Origin: L dis-, apart + torquere, to twist

  • In order to ensure that money power did not distort the election process, the Election Commission placed strict restrictions on the money that each candidate could spend in his campaigning.
  • The play was based on the life of King Ashoka but it distorted many facts of his life.

Extortion: (n) to use violence, force or threats to get something (money, information etc.) out of a person.

Origin:L ex-, out + torquere, to twist => ‘to wring out by twisting’

Test Your Skills Now!
Take a Quiz now
Reviewer Name