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People earlier believed that because the eyes of a jaundiced person were yellow, everything appeared yellow to him. A quotation from the early 1700s says: ‘all looks yellow to the jaundiced eye.’ So, the phrase ‘jaundiced eye’ became a metaphor for a prejudiced view.


Latin   cura  care

A disease is ‘cured’ by appropriate care. A ‘pedicure’ takes care of the feet and a ‘manicure’ of the hands (pedis, foot; manus, hand). A curator too takes care, but of more important things.


An ‘accurate’ proofreader reads every word with great care.

The policemen travelled all the way to Bhushan’s tiny village in Assam to procure evidence against him.

In contrast to these three diligent professionals stands Mr Moti Mehra, who boasts before everybody with a hideous big grin, that his job is a sinecure. He has no cares, he says, at job, or at home (his wife is “a coy cow”), or about future. His hefty bank balance makes him feel secure (se-, without), and so, he treats life like a never-ending party.

Proxy and scour may not look like it but are from the same root.

Note: The word ‘care’ is a cousin, not a child, of this root. It evolved independently in English, along with its cognate chary.


Jaundiced: (adj) yellowed; prejudiced.

  • The doctor could tell by the jaundiced look of his patient’s face that he was being poisoned.
  • To Ravi’s jaundiced gaze, his wife appeared to be the loveliest creature of earth.
  • When his marriage didn’t work out, Ravi began to take a thoroughly jaundiced view of all women and often advised his friends against getting into a relationship. “These women only want a man’s money,” he told them. “They cannot be trusted at all. No woman is trustworthy.”

Curator: (n) caretaker, especially of a museum.


Procure: (v) to obtain something by care and special effort.

  • Like most Punjabi expatriates, Gary Sandhu—born and brought up in Canada—went to Punjab to procure a wife.
  • The Municipal Corporation of Delhi decided to procure 60 lakh new dustbins.

Hideous: (adj) repulsive

  • Hideous forms of violence still continue to be unleashed upon the women in the subcontinent.

Sinecure: (n) a job that requires little or no work but provides good salary.

Origin: L sine, without + cura, care => ‘a job without any cares or responsibilities’

  • When he retired at the age of 58 from the directorship of the company he had set up, Mr Natarajan was given a sinecure position as The Chief Mentor.

Hefty: (adj) having a lot of weight, bulky; (v): heft, to lift a weight.

  • The trainer made the weightlifters train at 80% of the maximum weight they could heft in one try.

Proxy: (n) a substitute, a person authorized to appear as one’s representative.

Origin: Abbreviation of ‘procuracy’, that which has been prowred.

  • In order to cast their vote, a voter must appear in the election booth himself. He cannot vote by proxy. Only the soldiers posted in remote deserts and glaciers are allowed to nominate their proxies.

Scour: (v) run through; to clean or get rid of (something undesirable) by or as if by a cleansing action.

Origin: a ex– + curare, to care for ‘to clean’ ‘to wash’

  • The old wooden chair was scoured with soap and sand and polished with wax and then provided with a substantial hather cushion.
  • The streams running down the slopes of the mountains scoured them of their treasures of minerals and essences.

Chary: (adj) cautious, staying alert of hidden dangers.

Origin: OE cearig, full of care

  • The absconding murderer was chary of the friends he made in the new town.
  • He was chary of computers and the new technology.
  • People were chary of eating chicken because an influenza epidemic had broken out among the chickens in West Bengal.

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