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What are the adjectives that you use for the grown-ups? Old. Elder. Adult.


Now, here is a task for you. You have to try and guess the meaning of the Latin word adolere. It is made of ad-+ alere (the prefix ad- means towards and alere means ‘to nourish, grow’). The answer is at the end of the discussion on this root.


The other English words that have grown out of alere are: alimentalimonyalumnusalma mater, coalesce.

Then we have the word ‘abolish’, which literally means ‘to take away the nourishment’ and so, to kill something  (L. ab- means away).


Snivel: (v) to leak at the nose; to pull up all the mucus in one’s nose audibly. One usually has so much mucus in one’s nose that it needs to be

pulled up, when one has a cold or is crying.

Origin: cousin of sniff and snuff.

  • The old man had become virtually a child. If no one came to visit for a long time, he would wander through his rooms in misery, go up to the window, bite his lips pensively, heave a deep sigh, and end by virtually snivelling.
  • The crying child sniveled as she told her mother how her elder sister had eaten her share of the cake. The mother then reproached her elder daughter: “Shalu, you are older than her. This is not how an elder sister behaves. Say ‘sorry’ to her now. And, learn to be mature.”


Reproach: (v) to tell someone or show him by your actions that you unhappy or disappointed about something he did. Such an expression of

disapproval is also called a reproach.

Origin: L re- + prope, near => ‘to bring close’ => to show one’s true thoughts.’

  • Ravi reproached his brother for lying to him by saying: “I didn’t expect this from you. I trusted you.”
  • “There is a luxury in self-reproach. When we blame ourselves, we feel that no one else has a right to blame us.” Oscar Wilde

Someone on whom no one can raise a finger, whom no one can reproach, is called ‘irreproachable.’ The other words from the root prope are approach and propinquity


Thwart: (v) fail the plans or hopes of.

  • The Pakistani team thwarted India’s hopes of winning the cricket World Cup.
  • The hero of the movie thwarted the villain’s plans of launching a terror attack on India.

Forsaken: (adj) given up, left all alone with no support. The verb form of the word is ‘forsake.’

  • The writer said that she had been fed in her early youth many old wives’ tales about how men would instantly forsake a beautiful woman when they saw a brilliant one. After she got out in the world, she felt it was her duty to record that she had never seen it happen.

Cherub: (n) a child angel with wings; (adj) cherubic, meaning ‘angelic.’

  • The baby girl charmed everyone with her cherubic smile. 

Foster: (adj) reared; (v) rearing, to rear like a parent; to encourage the growth of

  • Devaki was Krishna’s biological mother and Yashoda, his foster mother.
  • Krishna was the foster son of Yashoda.
  • Working together and eating together fosters the love of a married couple.

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