Coupon Accepted Successfully!


Paragraph 2


Emancipation of women and manumission of slaves means taking back the hand which held them in its grasp and setting them free.

The other words built on manus are:


Manus-1: manacles, mandate, countermand

Manus-2: commandeer, mannered

IE deks- right

South is called dakshin in Sanskrit. Can you figure out why?

In the Hindu mythology, Daksh was the son of Brahma, born out of his right hand.

Do you remember the chiral compounds that rotate plane polarized light towards the right? They are ‘dextrorotatory’.

The other words from deks- are dexterous and ambidextrous.

As for South being called Dakshin, sun rises in the east and if you were to stand facing the rising sun, south would be on your right hand side.



Latin pug- fist

The Latin words pugil and pugnus both mean ‘fist’, and pugnare means ‘to fight with the fist.’ That is why, the pet line of a Bhai of Mumbai is “Punga liya toh pug-doonga.” Are you wondering how he knows the meaning of pug-? He had done his Masters in Literature but could not get a job. The frustration pushed him into the Underworld.

The pug- words
are: Pugilist, pugnacious, impugn, repugnant


Latin tradere- to hand over

‘Traditions’ are handed over from one generation to the next.


A person who hands over his motherland to the enemy is called a ‘traitor’ (short for ‘traditor’), and the name for his detestable act is ‘treason’.

An extradition is the handing over of a criminal by the country in which he is hiding to the one where he has perpetrated crimes.


IE ped foot

Pag ghungharoo baandh meera naachi thi and Amitabh Bachchan naache bin ghungharoo ke.

The word pag as well as the other words we use for foot-paun and pair-are from this root.

The four-footed cot that a poor man sleeps on is called a chaarpai. And, because this impecunious man goes paidal everywhere, he iscalled a padchaari in Sanskrit and
 pedestrian in English. The other words under this root are:

Ped-1: quadruped, impede, impediment

Ped-2: impeach, unimpeachable, expedite

Ped-3: expedient, pedigree, podium

Ped-4: podiatrist, antipodean

The foot soldier in chess is called a ‘pawn’. Like its Indian counterpartpeyaada—pawn derives its name from a root meaning foot, the Latin pes. Peons and pioneers have the same sense of being foot-soldiers.

The Latin root peccare means the same as our idiom ‘paun dagmagaana’. This root is found in the words peccadillo and impeccable. Note that it is not physical stumbling that we talk about here, but a stumbling from moral standards. Falling denotes sin, in both Hindithink of the number of times you’ve heard of a gira hua insaan—and

English, hence the words fallible and infallible.


The foot—of a man or a mountainis at the bottom, at zero height. So, when a situation has hit rock bottom, has become as bad as can be, foot-related roots are used for it.

The words pessimism ,pejorative and impair were born thus.


Latin     calx     heel, lime

Latin had two words called calx. One meant ‘the heel of the foot,’ and the other ‘lime.’ The heel word yields  recalcitrant and inculcate.


One night, little Vikram regally declared that he was not going to school anymore. Of course his mother woke him up as usual the next morning. This enraged Vikram. How dare his parents not heed his wish! His mother, seeing that he was not getting up on his own, scooped him out of his bed. Regarding this as insult to injury, he started ‘kicking back’ furiously, shouting that he would not go to school, come whatever may.

Imagine throwing such a recalcitrant child onto the ground, digging your foot into his chest, and then repeating to him the mantra that ‘truancy is a bad thing and good children do not do it’ till he says he has imbibed it and cannot forget it ever. That is what the word inculcate suggests, ‘to put your heel into.’ Thankfully, my parents and teachers were not so overzealous about teaching me.

The lime word gave us ‘chalk’, ‘calcium’, ‘calculus’ and ‘calculate’. A small pebble was called a ‘calculus’ and since the earlier mathematical operations were done with pebbles, the process was called ‘calculation’.


Emancipate: (v) to free from slavery.

Origin: L e–, ex–, out + mancipare, to own ‘to free from ownership. The word mancipare is formed as under: L manus, hand + capere, take’

‘to take in one’s hand’ ‘to own’.

  • Karl Marx sought a way to emancipate the working class from the economic slavery of the their industrial bosses. The answer he found was Communism.

Manumit: (v) to free from bondage.

Origin: a manu, from one’s hand + emittere, to send away ‘to send away from one’s hand.’

  • Slave owners usually manumitted a slave when he had become old and was therefore not useful to them any more.
  • In ancient Rome, slaves could also secure their manumission by paying the price their owner had tagged on them. They were paid wages for their work, so it was possible for them to save the required sum over the years.

Manacles: (n) handcuffs; (v) manacle: to tie one’s hands with manacles.

  • The police discovered the kidnapped child in a dark store in the basement of the building, lying gagged and manacled.
  • The businessman requested the police officer to not handcuff him. “Sir, all my employees will see me, please,” he said uncomfortably.

The officer, however, refused to make an exception for him and directed his constable to manacle the businessman. The man felt humiliated to be taken out of his office in manacles and vowed to himself that he would teach that police inspector a lesson. “You don’t know around whose hands you’ve dared to put these manacles,” he seethed within himself.

Gag: (v) to put something in the mouth of a person to prevent him from shouting or speaking.

Seethe: (v) boil in anger


Mandate: (v) pass a binding order.

Origin: a manus, hand + dare, to give ‘to give into one’s hand’ ‘to commit to one’s care’

  • Susheel’s grandfather had mandated that the whole family should be present at the dining table at 8 pm sharp every day. No one dared to be a minute late.

Countermand: (v) to pass an order which says the opposite of an earlier order.

Origin: Counter + mandak.

  • The family had booked their first big car with great delight. However, just two days before the delivery, the head of the family suffered from a heart attack. Most of the savings were diverted towards his treatment and so they countermanded the order for the car.
  • “Nathu Ram, move to the East Gate immediately with three men,” Inspector Jeevan hollered into Nathu Ram’s walkie-talkie. “But sir, Inspector Sudhir had instructed me to not move from Gate 2 under all circumstances,” Nathu Ram asked. “I am countermanding that order,” Jeevan spoke with great urgency. “D as I say. Quick!” 

Commandeer: (v) to seize a private property (usually a vehicle) for military or public use.

Origin: L com- + manus, hand => ‘command’ , to hand over authority. Commandeer = command + -eer => ‘to command someone to give their property for public use.’

  • When the inspector’s jeep broke down, he commandeered the first car that came his way and ordered the driver to follow the terrorist’s truck.

Mannered: (adj) put-on, artificial, not natural.

Origin: a manus, hand manuaria, a way of handling something

  • “God! Why can’t people just be themselves!” Daksh fretted after meeting an aunt of his girlfriend. That woman clearly aspired to be super-sophisticated. She had dressed herself like those fashionable Mumbai socialites, “ooh”ed and “aah”ed regularly, generously dropped words like ‘darling’ and ‘sweety’ and talked only in English—her English was pathetic—because, he was sure, she thought that was what made people cool. The way she talked, the way she walked, the way she behaved were all mannered. 

Mansuetude: chiral: (adj) not super imposable on its mirror image.

Origin: GK cheir, hand


Dexterous: (adj) skilful, quick in actions; (n) dexterity.

  • Dexterity is what the hero of almost every Hindi movie shows when 10 bullets are fired at him at the same time and from different angles but he moves his body first here, then there, then there in such a way that he escapes every bullet.
  • The Chairman walked to the window of his office to see what was causing the noise below. Seeing nothing there, he walked the six steps back to his seat. In the 30 seconds of his absence, his dexterous manager exchanged the papers the Chairman was going to sign with another set.

Ambidextrous: (adj) equally skilled with both hands.

Origin: a ambi–, both + dexter, right–handed ‘both hands are like right-hand’

  • Ambidexterity by birth is extremely rare. Some people, however, teach themselves to be ambidexterous, by practicing equally with both hands.
  • Ambidexterity is highly priced in juggling, shooting and sports like basketball, baseball and football.
    Pugilist: (n) boxer
  • Mohammad Ali is one of the most famous pugilists in the world.

Pugnacious: (adj) ready to fight, fighting or getting irritated over small things.

  • Raju seemed to be very disturbed about something. He was in a pugnacious mood since the morning and kept getting riled over every small thing and shouting warnings and threats to anyone and everyone. His friends took him to a movie hoping his mood would improve, but 20 minutes into it he angrily exclaimed, “Oh, what crap!” and walked out. Then, when he had cooled somewhat and was returning to the movie hall with an ice cream cup bought from his favourite shop in that mall, the security guard of the hall stopped him from entering with the ice cream. Raju’s pugnacity returned. He dared the guard to stop him. The guard politely explained that though that ice cream shop was in the same shopping mall, it was outside the precincts of the cinema hall and as a matter of policy, the cinema did not allow eatables from outside. Raju rolled up his sleeves and told the guard to be ready for the consequences if he dared to bar his way. When the guard still remained firm, Raju punched him in his stomach! The other employees of the hall, who had already come to the spot, held him from his arms and ordered him to leave. Now feeling humiliated as well as angry and not quite knowing how to express it, Raju threw his cup onto the floor with great violence and stomped out.

Precincts: (n) the boundary.


Impugn: (v) to express doubt about.

Origin: L im-, in + pugnare, to fight => ‘to attack’

  • “Do you impugn my bravery, madam?” The hero of the film asked the heroine indignantly. “I will show you my strength by beating the goons who stole your purse to pulp.”
  • The gold watch of the new daughter-in-law went missing. She said she distinctly remembered having put it on her dressing table in the night but the next morning, when she came to the table after bathing, it was gone. “Of course no family member can take it. That leaves only one suspect.,” she said. Her father-in-law thundered, “I will not let you impugn Hariya’s rectitude bahu! He has worked most faithfully for us for twenty years. Have you checked under the dressing table and the bed?”

Repugnant: (adj) inspiring strong hatred

Origin: L re-, back + pugnare, to fight => ‘to fight against’ => ‘you are fighting against a thing because you hate it.’

  • After she came to know of the cold-blodded manner in which her son had first kidnapped and then murdered a teenaged girl and hacked her body and burnt all the pieces in a tandoor, she loathed him absolutely. Her heart was filled with shock that her son was capable of something so repugnant. She cried to the policemen to take him away and not incarcerate the beast for his life. She never visited him in jail. Even the thought of him as her son filled her with disgust. 

Detest: (v) hate very much.

  • Consider the situation described for the word ‘repugn’. The old woman detested her son for what he had done. His deed was detestable.

Extradition: (n) the legal process by which one government may obtain custody of individuals from another government in order to put them on trial or imprison them.

Origin: a ex-, out + tradere, to hand over => ‘to hand over to someone outside’.

Pedestrian: (n) a man travelling by foot; (adj) commonplace, ordinary.


Quadruped: (n) a four-footed animal.

Origin: L quadru four + –ped–, foot

  • Cows, goats, kangaroos, buffaloes are all quadrupeds. A centipede however has a hundred feet!

Impede: (v) to come in the way, to try to stop from moving forward.

Origin: a im,– in–, in + pedis, foot ‘to put shackles in the feet.’

  • After poisoning her husband, the wife phoned her lover and said, “My dear, now there is no one to impede our union.”
  • Several roads, including the National Highway, were blocked by trees uprooted by the violent storm. This impeded the rescue operations to the storm-hit areas. 

Impediment: (n) a roadblock.

Origin: same sa impede.

  • In the song jo waada kiyaa, who nibhaana padegaa; roke zamaana chaahe laakh khudaai, tumko aana padega, a lover insists to his sweetheart that she will have to keep her promise and come, no matter what the impediments on her way.

Impeach: (v) to formally accuse a government official of wrongdoing.

Origin: same as impede.

  • The judge was impeached after a national newspaper published an investigative report that he accepted bribes from culprits to pass judgments in their favour.

Unimpeachable: (adj) one on whose conduct no one can raise a finger.

  • The judge’s colleagues and the Chief Justice of his court however stood by him. They said that his conduct in office was unimpeachable and there was not a single black spot in his long record of service. The newspaper report, they said, was a conspiracy to malign him and the court.

Expedite: (v) to speed up.

Origin: a ex–, out + pedis, foot ‘to set the foot free from shackles’

  • Meena’s cell phone beeped once. A missed call from Shyamali. Oh god, that meant that Mohan had already picked her up. They would reach her house in 10 minutes and she could not be late again! She expedited her dressing up and somehow managed to set her dupatta, make-up her eyes, wear her heels and earings and bangles, apply lipstick and nail-polish within 10 minutes.
  • The teacher bribed the clerk to expedite his pension case. Otherwise, his file would have taken at least an year to be processed.

Expedient: (n) a practical solution.

Origin: that which expedites.

  • In the movie Inquilaab, Amitabh Bachchan solves India’s problems by the simple expedient of locking all of the country’s corrupt politicians in one room and taking a machine-gun to them.
  • “You should always ask yourself, my son,” the teacher gently patted the head of the boy who had got his homework done from his elder sister but had then gone to the teacher and confessed his mistake, “not if this or that is expedient, but if it is right.”

Pedigree: (n) line of descent.

Origin: fr. pie de grue, crane’s foot ‘that which resembles a crane’s foot’ ‘a family tree because it spreads out like the foot of a bird’.

  • In his whole life, the nawaabzaadaa did nothing other than boasting about his pedigree. “Do you know whose son and whose grandson
    I am?” was his favourite dialogue.

Podium: (n) a raised platform, commonly known as the stage, on which a public speaker stands while giving his speech.

Origin: GK podion little foot


Podiatrist: (n) doctor of the feet.

Origin: GK pod–, foot + iatros, doctor



  • Antipodean songs, antipodean cafes, antipodean plants.

Antipodean: (n) either or both of two places that are situated diametrically opposite to one another on the earth’s surface; (specifically)

Australia and New Zealand

Origin: GK anti–, opposite + ped–, feet ‘having the feet opposite’?


Peon: (n) landless labourer

  • The peons fought for the right to own the land they tilled.

Pioneer: (n) a foot soldier; the first to walk on a path which later many people took.

  • “Science has been pioneered by charlatans. From the astrologer came the astronomer, from the alchemist the chemist, from the mesmerist the experimental psychologist. The quack of yesterday is the professor of tomorrow.”—Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Mary Wollstonecraft was a pioneer in feminist thinking and writing.

Peccadillo: (n) a minor crime.

  • The mother advocated her son before her husband. “Forgive him for his peccadillo now. Why are you creating such a mountain out of a molehill? What has he done, tell me? Which child does not bunk classes? You are behaving as if he has robbed a bank or killed a man!”

Impeccable: (adj) spotless

  • The officer retired after an impeccable service of 25 years.
  • Impeccable reputation, impeccable taste.

Fallible: (adj) likely to make mistakes.

  • Man is fallible.

Infallible: (adj) one who can make no mistakes.

  • No man is infallible; we all make mistakes.

Pessimism: (n) belief that whatever can go wrong will go wrong.

  • An optimistic man believes that all that happens is for the good, whereas a pessimistic man thinks that all that happens is for the worse.

Pejoration: (n) the act of belittling or lessening the worth.

  • The words ‘mad’, ‘idiot’, budhu and bewkoof are not always used in a pejorative sense. People may also call you so out of fond affection.
  • ‘Fat’ is a much more pejorative term than ‘plump’ or ‘healthy.’

Impair: (v) hurt, injure, disable; (n) impairment: disability.

  • Geeta learnt sign language to communicate with her husband who had a hearing impairment.
  • Geeta learnt sign language to communicate with her hearing impaired husband.
  • “Hope is both the earliest and the most indispensable virtue inherent in the state of being alive. If life is to be sustained, hope must remain, even where confidence is wounded, trust impaired.”—Erik H. Erikson

Yield: (v) produce; surrender; (n) the amount of crope produced per unit land.

  • The use of fertilizers yields more crops.
  • The use of fertilizers increases the yield of the crops.
  • The son yielded to his mother’s wishes and entered the engineering college.

Recalcitrant: (adj) rebelling against authority.

Origin: a re–, back + calx, heel ‘to kick back’

  • After they caught her trying to run away, the family locked their recalcitrant daughter in her room till her marriage.

Truancy: (n) refusal to go to school; missing school without informing the authorities.

  • Despite his mother’s best efforts to lure the child into going to school—she promised to cook his favourite things in lunch and a dessert too—his truancy persisted. “I don’t want to go to school,” he cried, refusing to even budge from his bed. “The teachers scold me. No one plays with me. They are all bad. I am not going to school.”

Inculcate: (v) instil

Origin: a in–, in + calx, heal ‘to stuff in with one’s heel’ ‘to trample’ ‘to impress thoroughly’

  • His father inculcated in him a love for books.

Zeal: (n) great enthusiasm.

  • All his teachers agreed that it was a delight to teach Rudra. He had a zeal to learn.
  • All his teachers took delight in teaching a zealous student like Rudra.

Zealous is a positive word and is used for someone who shows a lot of enthusiasm for a positive cause. On the other hand is the word zealot, which means someone who is so overly enthusiastic about his cause—usually, a religious cause—that he refuses to listen to anybody else or any other point of view.

Test Your Skills Now!
Take a Quiz now
Reviewer Name