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Latin nubere to marry

To marry is called nubere in Latin language.


Ryan Adhivaish, the scion of the rich and famous Adhivaish family, finally told his parents about Mahi Mehra. He had met Mahi in university, he said. Her parents had already met him and approved. Now, would they both please meet her? They would really like her, he was sure.


His mother shook her head the moment she discovered that Mahi was from the middle-class. She also shook her son, as if trying to wake him up. Did he not know how artful those middle-class girls were, she asked? And their parents were even more so; they encouraged their nubile daughters to entice rich men like him. Such girls married not the man but his money; she would forget all about him within two days of the marriage and would care only about the big cars and the big diamonds. He was such a sensible boy, how could he fall into her trap? It behooved him to marry somebody of their own class, not a gold-digger like what-was-her-name?-yeah-Mahi.


Ryan remained adamant; his Mahi was not like that; he had promised to marry her and he would and that was that.


In the end, his parents acceded to his wish (like they always had) but on the condition that Mahi would first sign an agreement that if she and Ryan divorced within 10 years of their marriage, she would get only ` 10 lakh in alimony. The agreement would be null and void after that duration.


Ryan demurred about placing stipulations upon his love. But his mother complained that when Ryan’s father and she were compromising so much for him, could he not accept even one little demand of theirs, that too a demand which they were making for his own good? “Tomorrow, if you feel that the girl had married you in greed, at least you would be able to get rid of her without giving away a chunk of your fortune in alimony. If there is no avarice in her heart, if she really does want to be your good wife all her life, then what problem would she have in signing the paper?”


The girl’s family did have problems though. Ryan’s parents had made a mockery of the nuptial vows, they said. What did those rich people think Mahi was? How dare they place such an offending stipulation about her? And, what security was there for her in that marriage? What if Ryan left her, just like that, after a year or two? Their daughter was not a plaything!


Finally, the two lovers came up with an agreement that placated both the niggling families. The new contract stated that if the marriage failed due to an infidelity or misdemeanor of Ryan, Mahi would get half his fortune, but if Mahi was the one at fault, she would get only 10 lakh rupees. Both Ryan and Mahi were confident of their connubial bliss; they knew that matters would never come to such a pass; they were doing this only to appease their families and get their approval.


They signed the prenuptial agreement, followed it soon after by the nuptial ceremonies and yes, they did live happily ever after.

‘Ever after’ lasted five years, till Mahi died in a road accident. Ryan was heartbroken! Everybody’s heart went out to the young widower. “Life is so cruel!” they bemoaned.


After a year of mourning, Ryan married the woman he had been in love with for the past three years. He sometimes regretted having arranged for Mahi’s death but then, would tell himself that the rash prenuptial agreement he had signed had left him with no other option. Divorce would have been too expensive.


Latin semen  seed

The ‘semen’ of men contains the seeds of their future children.


Something that contains the seeds of future growth is called seminal. And, a place where the seeds of knowledge are sown, is called a seminary. The word ‘seminar’ is actually an American play on the word seminary. People come to a seminar, scatter or gather the seeds of knowledge, and then go away.

One evening, 10-year-old Som came to his papa in tears of remorse. “Papa, when you had said no to buying me a cycle, I was very very angry and said bad things about you to my friends. I did not know then papa that you would get me a cycle. I am very sorry.”


Som’s father comforted him and wiped his tears. Later that evening, he took the child for a walk and gave him a bunch of beautiful peacock feathers. Then, he told the excited boy to keep throwing a feather after every five minutes. Som’s face fell. “Don’t worry. I’ll get you another set.” Upon this assurance, Som remained fully attentive to his watch and followed his father’s instructions scrupulously.


After the last feather was dropped, his father asked him to go back and pick up each feather that he had dropped. Som was flustered. “B…but papa, I cannot! Wind would have blown them away by now. It is impossible!”


“Precisely,” his father replied. “Precisely, my son. That is what I want you to understand. Just like you cannot bring back the feathers you scattered, you cannot bring back the bad words you disseminated. You do not know where all your words may have travelled by now and to how many people they would have given a wrong impression of your papa. Saying sorry to me will not undo all that. Yes, I forgive you but remember, my son, that words inflict more damage than any knife or sword. So, always think before you speak.”


IE pater  father
The English ‘father’ is arisen from the Indo-European root, pater- .


 Bharat mata ki jai!

We have all heard this slogan umpteen number of times. Did you ever wonder why we never say Bharat pita or Hindustan pita?

It’s not just us. People the world over usually view their country as their mother. However, the word that they use for their devotion to their country—patriotism—comes from the Latin patris, which means fatherland. Two men who have the same patris are compatriots, and one who is out of his fatherland is an expatriate.


The Sanskrit pitr and the English father are in this family as are the following words:

Pater-1: patrimonypatricianpatron

Pater-2: patronizepaternosterperpetrate


IE ma mother

Ma, maiyya, mata, 
matri is how we lovingly address the most special woman in our life. Note that while the first two words are simply based on m-sound, the latter two are built on three consonants- m, t and r (mata is a simplification ofmatri). It may fascinate you to know that Greek has a word Maia which means ‘good mother.’


‘Matrimony’ means marriage, though its elements show it to mean ‘state of motherhood’ (Latin mater means ‘mother’ and the suffix  monium means ‘state, condition’). This little etymological fact tells us that the primary function of marriage has always been to grant social sanction to motherhood.

The other mater words are: maternalmatrixmatriculatemadrigal


Also in the ma family is the Latin word mamma. It means breast. That is why the animals which suckle their young ones are called ‘mammals’.


Latin nasci to be born

Latin word nasci's meaning in English is to be born.


A nascent rock band in Mumbai, the Renaissance in Europe and prenatal sex determination in Punjab would all be left in the lurch without the root nasci.

Have you ever noted that year-old kids, who cannot even feed themselves without spilling food on their bibs and the floor, somehow speak perfectly sensible sentences? They seem to know intuitively the right order of words, the right tense and the right gender of things in their mother tongue. That is why many behavioural scientists believe that language is innate rather than learned. While the words themselves are picked up from the child’s immediate environment—he cannot speak a word he has not heard before—the ability to acquire language, the propensity to express oneself through speech instead of mere gestures and gesticulations seems innate.


The innate qualities of a man, the qualities that he was born with, are called his ‘nature’. Something that is beyond the natural is preternatural.

A man is a native of the land where he was born. And that birth-land of his is called his ‘nation’. Someone who retains his native simplicity is called naïve.

Two people or languages that were born together, that is, into the same family, are called cognates. Look at this word carefully. The gn- part of it seems similar to genus which means ‘race, stock.’ The word would still mean the same if you assumed it to be made of L. co- + genus instead of L. co-+ nascere. Is it just a coincidence? No. The root nasci is actually a simplified form of gnasci, to be born, and is therefore a member of the gen- family.


Latin oriri to rise


The word origin, meaning ‘rise’ or ‘the point of rise’, is from this root as are the following words:

There is another word from the root oriri but to find it, you have to read the passage below. It is from the novel ‘The Country Doctor’ by Honore de Balzac, a celebrated French novelist of the nineteenth century. In this passage, the eponymous country doctor is making a confession about his early youth.

“At first I went through the experience, more or less vivid, that always comes with youth—the countless moments of exultation, the unnumbered transports of despair. Sometimes I took my vehement energy of feeling for a resolute will, and over-estimated my powers; sometimes, at the mere sight of some trifling obstacle with which I was about to come into collision, I was far more cast down than I ought to have been. Then I would devise vast plans, would dream of glory, and betake myself to work; but a pleasure party would divert me from the noble projects based on so infirm a purpose. Vague recollections of these great abortive schemes of mine left a deceptive glow in my soul and fostered my belief in myself, without giving me the energy to produce. In my indolent self-sufficiency, I was in a very fair way to become a fool, for what is a fool but a man who fails to justify the excellent opinion which he has formed of himself? My energy was directed towards no definite aims; I wished for the flowers of life without the toil of cultivating them. I had no idea of the obstacles, so I imagined that everything was easy; luck, I thought, accounted for success in science and in business, and genius wascharlatanism. I took it for granted that I should be a great man, because there was the power of becoming one within me; so I discounted all my future glory, without giving a thought to the patience required for the conception of a great work, nor of the execution, in the course of which all the difficulties of the task appear.”


The word from the root briri in the passage above was abortive. It means ‘unsuccessful, failing to achieve a goal or causing abortion.’


Latin creare to create
Latin crescere to grow

The word create comes from creare. The other word from this root is procreate.
After ‘creation’ comes growth; hence, the root crescere. When a man’s wealth ‘increases’, it grows and when it ‘decreases’, it grows downwards. The flag of Pakistan has a ‘crescent’ moon—that is, a growing moon—in the centre. It symbolizes progress.


When a company recruits new employees, it grows in size. The same idea of growth is also seen in the following words: accrueaccretioncrescendoexcrescence


IE al-  to grow, nourish


The sage Vishwamitra was doing an intense meditation in a jungle and Indra, the lord of the gods, was losing his sleep over it. Successful completion of this penance would have endowed Vishwamitra with great powers. Indra wanted to prevent that at all costs. So, he sent Menaka, the most winsome woman in all worlds, to allure the sage.


The decoy worked beautifully; the sage was so entranced by Menaka’s charms that he forgot all his austerities, forgot that he was an ascetic and ascetics were not supposed to look at women. How could he not look at her? He would die! Oh, his dear Menaka, her dulcet name was all that he could remember and chant! Fraught with passionate love, he sang songs to her and gamboled with her and made love to her day after day and night after night.


He came to his senses only when Menaka gave birth to a girl. It was then that he realized that he had better and nobler things to do than just waiting upon a woman and cleaning the noses of sniveling infants. He reproached Menaka for thwarting his meditation and asked her to take the baby and go away. Menaka also thought that now that her mission had been accomplished, she should go back. So, she left the baby by the side of a river and went back to heaven.


A flock of birds found the forsaken baby girl and surrounded her. When the child began to cry, they brought her fruits and leaves to suck. Then, a few of them flew in different directions to see if they could get a human somewhere. Rishi Kannav happened to be passing nearby. They attracted his attention and brought him to the child. The Rishi was surprised to see the baby, and was also taken in by her cherubic face. He took her with him and raised her as his foster daughter.


The Sanskrit word shakunta means bird. So, Rishi Kannav named his daughter Shakuntala, meaning one who was nourished by birds (al- means ‘to nourish’).


Scion: (n) descendant or heir of a wealthy family.

(adj) someone who has the skill and the cleverness to get what he wants, whether by the straight route or a roundabout one.

(adj) lacking the art of manipulating things his own way, simple, innocent; lacking art, knowledge or skills, ignorant, uncultured; not artificial at all, natural.
Origin: Artful: art + -ful=> ‘the one who knows the art of getting things done.’ Artless: art + -less. => ‘the one who does not have this art.’

  • Shilpa made many moral rules, and tried to keep them, but her artful little son knew how to melt his mother’s heart.
  • There was an artless charm in her face and manner, a simple grace in all her movements and a low, delicious melody in her voice. 

Nubile: (of girls) marriageable.

Origin: nubere


Entice: (v) to attract by arousing hope or desire.

  • Srimati gave away a phoren perfume and a saree to her neighbour’s maid. “Are you trying to entice my maid?” the maid’s maalkin, Srimati’s neighbour, asked angrily when she came to know. “Oh no, no!” Srimati replied (the truthful answer was ‘yes’).


Behoove: (v) to be necessary or proper.

  • “There is so much good in the worst of us, and so much bad in the best of us, that it ill behooves any of us, to find fault with the rest of us.” Edgar Cayce. Ill-behooves means ‘does not behoove’, just like ‘ill-fitting clothes’ mean ‘clothes that do not fit well.’
  • It behooves a Member of Parliament to listen to all points of view patiently and to respect opinions that are different from his own.

Demur: (v) to hesitate in doing something because you are not sure whether doing it would be right.

Origin: L de- + mora, delay

  • “Dhaani, you must teach that asshole a lesson! He thinks that he can beat you and get away with it? Don’t tolerate this obnoxious behavior, I tell you, or it will become a habit with him. Go to the police, right now!” Dhaani’s angry sister counseled her upon discovering that Dhaani’s husband had beaten her that day and had done it before too. “But Di,” Dhaani demurred, “will bringing in the police be right? What will the kids think? That their mama put their papa in jail? I don’t think they will be able to handle that. I’m not sure that going to the police is the solution.”
  • During the magic show, the conjuror asked a man in the audience to give him his gold wrist watch. The man demurred a little but on being assured that he would get the watch back, he unfastened the watch.

The other word from the root mora is moratorium.


Moratorium: (n) legal permission to delay the payment of debt or doing of a duty.

  • The drought had greatly reduced the crop yields. So, the government announced a moratorium of one year on the repayment of loans
  • taken by the peasants from the government, private financiers or co-operative banks.
  • When the government of India proposed to allow the cultivation of genetically modified brinjal in the country, environment activists and the general public came out in the streets to oppose the move. They said that the safety of GM foods had not yet been established and demanded a moratorium on their introduction in the country till that was done.

Stipulation: (n) a condition put in a contract.

Avarice: (n) excessive greed; greed to have more and more and more. Adjective: avaricious

  • Desire can be satisfied, avarice can’t be.
  • King Midas was avaricious. He was the richest man of his kingdom, yet he was not satisfied and prayed for more gold.

Nuptial: (adj) related with marriage.

Origin: L nubere, to marry.


Niggle: (v) to keep complaining about small things

Connubial: (adj) related to married state. Same meaning as conjugal.

Origin: L com-, together + nubere => ‘married together.’


Appease: (v) make peaceful, pacify.

Origin: L pais, peace


Prenuptial: (adj) before marriage.

Origin: L pre-, before + nuptial


Lament: (v) to express sorrow or regret. The key word here is ‘express.’ If someone feels sorrow but does not show it, you cannot use the word

lament for him.

  • An example of lamenting is women crying in grief over the death of a loved one.

Rash: (adj) done in a hurry without giving a proper thought to the matter.


Seminal: (adj) related with a seed or the semen.

An idea which later grows into a big new technology or philosophy or some other development is like a seed which later grows into a big tree.

That is why such an idea is called a seminal idea.


Seminary: (n) a place where the seeds of something are sown and grow into large trees. These seeds are not real but metaphorical. Usually

that ‘something’ is knowledge. So, an educational institution—especially one that imparts religious training—is called a seminary. But if we

take the seeds to be those of crime, we may say that a particular slum is a seminary of crime.

qqA Muslim seminary is called a madrassa.


Scruple: (n) conscience. (v) hesitate because of conscience. A guy who always listens to his conscience is called scruplous. He is honest. The

opposite is unscruplous.

  • “How could you steal your own father’s money?” Abhi’s shocked mother shook him. “Do you have no scruples?”
  • Abhi’s mother was shocked that her son did not scruple to steal his father’s money. She had always believed, and not just believed but also boasted before all neighbours and relatives, that no one could be more scrupulous than her son. “Once, when he was small, he had found a wallet on the road outside our house. It had a thick wad of notes. He took the address from the driving license in the wallet and went all the way to the other end of the city to return it to its owner. That man was very impressed by his scruples, and even more when Abhi refused to accept any reward. ‘You are very well brought up, my son,’ the man had remarked.” How often she had told this story to everybody! And now, that very satyaawadi Harishchandra had done such an unscrupulous thing!


Flusterd: (adj) behaving in a very confused and nervous manner.

  • He was 10 minutes late for the test and, as a result, was flustered, so much so that the invigilator asked the peon to get a glass of water for him.

Disseminate: (v) to scatter all over, like one scatters the seeds in a field with one’s hand.

Origin: L dis-, apart + semen => ‘to spread the seeds apart’


Inflict: (v) to give pain and suffering.

Umpteen: (adj) a large number of.


Expatriate: (n) one who is living out of one’s birth country.; (adj) civing out of one’s birth country

Origin: L ex-, out + pater, father => ‘out of fatherland’

  • These lines from the movie Kabuliwala (1966) beautifully express the longing of an expatriate Pathaan for his motherland: Ai mere pyaare watan, ai mere bichhde chaman, tujhpe dil qurbaan. Tu hi meri aarzoo, tu hi meri aabroo, tu hi meri jaan.
  • The Punjabis are the largest and most visible expatriate community of Southall, London.

Patrimony: (n) the property or other things inherited from one’s father.

Origin: L pater

qqAlthough we still call ourselves a democracy, the system of governance in our country has in fact become patrimonial. Look at any

state or the centre. You will find that most of the power has been concentrated in a few families.

  • Business too is conducted on a patrimonial basis in India. The heads of most big business groups are men and their successors are their sons, brothers or cousins.

Patrician: Patricians and Plebians were the two classes of free citizens in ancient Rome. The Patricians were the upper class, the nobles and

the wealthy land-owners. The Plebians were the lower class and included the rest of the free population, from the tradesmen to the very poor.

Inter-marriage between the Patricians and the Plebians was forbidden.

  • Fateh’s friends called him a nawaabzaada not because he really was one but because he carried himself like a patrician.

Patron: (n) someone who offers father–like protection or support.

  • A restaurant is able to run only because of the money given by its customers. Its customers are, therefore, its patrons.
  • Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti is popularly known as Garib Nawaz—patron of the poor.
  • Akbar was a great patron of arts and music. The great musician Tansen was one of the many protégés of Akbar.

Protege: (n) a person who gets protection or support, including financial support, from a patron.

Origin: L protegere, to protect. The word ‘protect’ itself is from this root.


Patronize: (v) to offer support or protection; to behave arrogantly towards someone as if one was a patron of that person.

  • We refuse to let anyone call us ‘common people.’ How dare anyone be so patronizing that he tells us we are ‘common’? Each one of us is special even if nobody seeks our autographs.
  • People remain glued to television programmes and no longer patronize musical concerts or theatre.

Paternoster: (n) a sequence of words used as a prayer or a magical formula; a big bead in a rosary upon coming to which a Christian, who is praying with a rosary, says the prayer called Pater Noster.

Origin: L pater noster, our father. The first prayer medieval Christians recited on prayer beads was the Pater Noster. This prayer was called so because its first two words were pater nosterAnother word which uses the root noster is nostrum.


Perpetrate: (v) to produce, to cause to happen.

Origin: L per-, through + pater => ‘to father’ => ‘to produce’

  • The Chief Minister assured everybody that he would do everything to bring the perpetrators of the recent violence against the minority community to account..
  • Draupadi could not understand why the Pandavas were standing silently as the Kauravas attempted to do her cheer haran, instead of crushing the perpetrators of that horrible act to pulp.

Do not confuse perpetrate with perpetuate.

Used only in compound words, like matribhumi, matribhasha etc.


Maternal: (adj) related with mother.

Origin: L mater, mother.

  • Maternal love is said to be the purest form of love. 

Matrix: (n) the source, the mother. In maths, a rectangular array of numbers or quantities into rows and columns.

  • Pain is the matrix of art.

Matriculate: (v) to be registered or added to a list; becoming eligible to enter university (and thus be added to the list of university’s students).

Origin: L matrix.

  • In British India, the 10th class of the school used to be called Matric and its exam was called the Matriculation exam, because after

10th class, a student entered university.


Madrigal: (n) a short poem on non-religious subjects that was usually sung without musical instruments, in the 16th and 17th century.

Origin: L mater => ‘origin’ => ‘close to the original form, without much development’ => ‘sung without instruments’


Nascent: (adj) just born; in the process of being born

  • India is still a nascent democracy; it is not fully developed yet.

Renaissance: (n) rebirth; (capitals) A movement that began in 14th century Italy that marked the rebirth of the arts, literature and science in


Origin: L re-, again + nasci, to be born => ‘to be born again’


Prenatal: (adj) before birth.

  • Prenatal and postnatal leave is a fundamental right of every female worker. ‘Postnatal’ means ‘after the birth.’

Lurch: (v) to roll suddenly to one side; a sudden jerk.

  • The governmet lurched from one political crisis to the next.
  • The moment he saw the beautiful girl, his heart lurched.

Intuition: (n) knowledge gained without any conscious thought or logical inference.

  • He had an intuition that somebody was watching him. He looked back and saw a strange old woman staring at him.
  • “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma—which is living with the results of
  • other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the
  • courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”—Steve Jobs
  • The salesman in the sari shop knew intuitively that the female customer who had just taken her seat in front of him would like saris in softer colours and without loud embroidery.

Innate: (adj) inborn.

Origin: L in-, in + nasci, to be born => ‘that which was within you when you were born.’

  • Men are considered to be rational and women, emotional. Some people say that this difference is innate, while others say that it is a result of the different ways in which a man and a woman are reared. This is a debate of ‘nature’ versus ‘nurture.’

Gesture: (n) a movement of the body, usually that of hands, which expresses an idea or emotion.


Gesticulate: (v) to make gestures.


Preternatural: (adj) supernatural, extraordinary.

Origin: L praeter naturam => ‘beyond nature’

  • She had a preternatural ability to read other people’s minds. Her accuracy rate was 100%!
  • A few hours before his death, a preternatural calm descended upon the patient. It seemed that his fear of death and his pain were gone.

Native: (n) belonging to a place by birth.

  • Sheela is a native of Budhiya village. She has gone to her native village for the vacation. Her grandparents still live there.
  • The natal home of an Indian married woman is called her mayka.
  • The mango plant is a native of India. 

Naive: (adj) someone who has a childlike simplicity. He has not yet learnt how to play clever tricks with other people or to be worldly wise.

Origin: L nativus -> Fr. naif, someone who is still in the natural state

Naïve has a similar etymology to ingenuous.

  • The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naive forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget.
  • The new employee was a brilliant guy but he was extremely naïve about the cruelities and politics of the business world. The poor chap tried to apply the mantra he had been taught as a child—honesty is the best policy—in his business dealings and fell down on his face.

Cognate: (adj) related by birth; two things that are so similar in nature that they seem to be related by birth.

Origin: L co-, together + gnatus, natus, born => ‘born together’


Orient: (n) east; (v) to turn the face of something towards east; to direct something in a particular direction.

Origin: L oriri, to rise => ‘the direction in which the sun rises’ => ‘east’

  • The countries which lie to the east of Europe have traditionally been referred to as the Oriental countries or, as a group, The Orient.

Correspondingly, the Oriental countries have called the countries that lie to their west as the Occidental countries or, as a group, The Occident.

Origin: L oc-,ob-, down + cidere, to fall => ‘the direction in which the sun falls’ => ‘west’

  • The Occidental countries include European countries, Canada, U.S., Mexico, Australia and New Zealand.


Aborigine: (n) a person who has been living in an area from the very beginning as opposed to the later invaders and settlers.

Origin: L ab origine, from the beginning.

  • Some scholars believe that the adivasis are the aboriginal people of India. This is also reflected in the etymology of the word: Skt

adi-,first + vaasi, inhabitant => ‘the first inhabitants.’


Despair: (n) state of hopelessness


Procreate: (v) to produce children.

Origin: L pro-, forth + creare, to create => ‘to create forth’ => ‘to create future generations’

  • So many people just eat, rest, procreate and pass away, without making the world any better through their existence.
  • The Indian society allows only married individuals to procreate.

Accrue: (v) to grow; to grow by addition.

Origin: L ad-, towards + crescere, to grow => ‘to grow towards a greater number.’

  • Interest accrues in your bank accounts daily. But, the bank does not credit you that interest on a daily basis. Rather, it pays you the accrued interest, as calculated by the formula: Interest= Principal * Rate * Time/100
  • Wisdom accrues with age.

Accretion: (n) a steady growth. The noun form of the verb ‘accrue.’

  • The accretion of his waist accompanied the accretion of his wealth.
  • Accretion of knowledge continues throughout one’s life. A man learns something new, whether consciously or not, every day.

Crescendo: (n) an increase in volume, especially in a musical performance. The point of highest volume is also called a crescendo.

  • Jana Gana Mana, our national anthem, reaches a crescendo with the ‘Jaya he, jaya he’ at its end.
  • A.R. Rahman’s career reached a crescendo with his victory at the Oscars for the song ‘Jai ho.’

Excrescence: (n) a tumour like outgrowth. L ex-out + crescere.

Origin: L ex-,out + crescere, to grow => ‘something that grows out’


Endow: (v) to gift an income or a skill. Such a gift is called an endowment.

Origin: L en- + dower, to give. Dowry too is from the root dower.

  • The millionaire endowed his former college with an annual grant of ` 50 lakh.
  • He was endowed with a beautiful voice. But as the wise say, it is not your endowments that matter but what you do with them. He totally wasted his talent.

Winsome: (adj) attractive

Origin: win+ some => ‘that which wins the heart.’

  • Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is a winsome woman. Her smile is especially winsome.

Allure: (v) to attract; (n) power of attraction

Origin: L ad-, towards + lure => ‘to lure towards’

  • Everyday, hundreds of young men and women come to Mumbai from all over India and outside with dreams of becoming Bollywood stars. The allure of Bollywood is mainly the fame it offers.
  • Part of her allure was her simplicity.


Entrance: (v) to fill with delight or wonder; to put into a trance.

Origin: L en-, in + trance.


Trance: (n) a hypnosis like state. When a man is so lost in something that he becomes absent to everything else around him, he is said to be

in a trance.

Origin: L transpire, to go across => ‘to go across to a different mental state’ => ‘to go across to a state different from the normal, wakeful state

of the mind.’

  • The sleepwalker walked as if in a trance. His wife kept calling him but he kept moving forward like a programmed robot.

There is another ‘entrance’ which is built as enter+ -ance and means ‘entry point.’ The two entrances are homonyms.


Austere: (adj) extremely simple.

  • To live in austerity requires great self-discipline and strictness with oneself. Therefore, ‘austere’ also means ‘very strict.’
  • A rishi lives an austere life. 

Ascetic: (n) someone who lives extremely simply and keeps his desires to the basic minimum because he thinks that self-denial is a virtue.

  • The Rishi- munis and sadhus in the Hindu religion are all ascetics.

Dulcet: (adj) sweet

  • The dulcet tones of the instrumental music relaxed all his tensions.

Fraught: (adj) loaded with, full of (tension, distress, etc.)

Origin: cousin of freight. Freight is the load that is transported by a ship or a train or some other vehicle.

  • The relationship of the husband and the wife was fraught with tension. Another way of saying the same thing: the couple had a fraught relationship.
  • The road less travelled is often fraught with bumps and dead-ends. But it is on that road that you have a chance of reaching somewhere no one has been.

Gambol: (v) to skip about playfully.

Origin: It gamba, leg

  • The children and the squirrels gamboled on the grass. Goats gamboled happily in the fields.

Another word from gamba is gambit.


Gambit: (n) a clever opening in chess in which the player sacrifices one or more pawns or some other unimportant piece with a bigger gain

in mind.

Origin: It gamba, leg => ‘tripping someone by putting one’s leg in his way and making him fall.’


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