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Little Shirley too had many soft toys but they never talked to her. And, look at that man’s toy monkey! Not only was it saying things to him, but saying such funny things that everybody was laughing. “Mama,” she turned decidedly to her mother but was hushed with a “shhh, later.” As soon as the show ended and the lights came on, Shirley, who had bottled herself long enough, spilled out. “Mama, I want that man’s monkey.” “Why darling?” her mother picked her up, “Shirl already has so many toys, doesn’t she?” “Yes but I do not have a talking monkey. I want a talking monkey. His monkey.” Her mother laughed and then dropped the bombshell. “Darling, it wasn’t the monkey but the man who was speaking.” “What???? No mama, it was the monkey. I saw him. I know!” “Shirl, that guy knows how to talk with his lips closed. He is a ventriloquist.” The mysterious long, new word made Shirley forget her monkey. “Venti what mama?” she asked curiousily. “Ventriloquist,” her mother repeated. Ventlilokist. Ventlilokist. That was all that Shirley chanted that day. She felt so grown up, so elegant while saying that word!

The other words from this root are:


Loqui-1: Circumlocutionobloquysoliloquy

Loqui-2: grandiloquencemagniloquenceeloquence

Latin nuntiare to say
In Latin 'to say' meaning is 'nuntiare'.


When I ask you to ‘pronounce’ nuntiare, I am asking you to say it out (L. pro-, forth). When you say something formally, or publically, your statement is said to be an announcement. The other words from this root are:



Latin dicere to say
A ‘dictation’ is a saying aloud of words, and ‘diction’, the manner in which they are said. All the words that are said are collected in a ‘dictionary’. A ‘dictator’ is the guy who tells everybody else what to do, and punishes severely anybody who goes beyond his say.


There is a famous dictum: think before you leap. King Naurooz had not heard it. One day, as he was getting ready for the court, the royal astrologer arrived in great agitation and told him that a boy born that morning would bring the end of his rule. The first thing that Naurooz did upon entering the court was to pass an edict that all the baby boys born in all parts of the kingdom that morning be killed. Everybody in the court was aghast at the indiscriminate order! Oblivious to the horrified faces of his courtiers, he asked his chief minister to make sure that not even a single child was spared. The ministerdemurred; he could not do such a gruesome act! Slaughtering infants! The king looked at him with fury and very much daunted by that look, the poor minister slunk away to carry out the carnage.

That evening, a shabby woman with disheveled hair and tattered clothes came crying into the court. The palace guard apologized for letting her in but said that he had no choice. She had been sitting by the gates for many hours, wailing incessantly and creating quite a scene. She had even rent her clothes in her grief. Then, the queen had sighted her and had directed him to take her to the court.

A minister looked at the tatterdemalion, and asked her what she wanted. “I want justice,” she said.

“You’ll get it.” The king replied. “Tell me what happened.”


“This morning, royal soldiers came and impaled my son, the precious son I had gotten just today after many grueling years of prayers and austerities. And you took not even a minute to kill him. I had not even seen him properly yet.” Her voice suddenly steeled. “Now, I want justice. I want justice for the murder of my son.”

Most of the ministers, even those who had secretly hated the king for his ruthless edict in the morning, now scoffed at her gallDeranged woman! Her grief had maddened her. Did she even realize that she was indicting the king? The king!

“Foolish woman, go away!” said one minister. “You said ‘murder’? How dare you?” said another. She looked around. Nobody seemed to have taken her seriously. She became downcast and started walking towards the door. Then suddenly, she stopped, turned, and before anybody could stop her, cursed the king. “May every day of your rule kill a member of your own family! Then you will know.”

The king, shaken by the terrible malediction and by her temerity to utter it, ordered his soldiers to take her away and behead her immediately. Then, he tried to calm himself. Nothing could happen from random words by a random woman. Of course, nothing would happen, he reiterated to his shaken self all through the evening and the night.

The next day, his mother died. Naurooz was daunted but he held on. It could just be a coincidence. The following day, his favourite queen, the love of his life, died. He was rent asunder by grief. And lurking under that grief was trepidation. Who next? His little sons? No! No! No! He immediately announced that he was abdicating the throne and until his eldest son came of age, his younger brother, Prince Saurooz, would rule in his stead.

The astrologer’s ‘prediction’ came true.


The other words for dicere are:

Dicere-1: indexcontraindicationinditeinterdict

Dicere-2: vendettavindicatevindictiveavenge, revenge, vengeance

Dicere-3: jurisdictionbenedictionbenison

Dicere-4: predicamentparadigm

IE prek- to ask, entreat
The Hindi word prashan is from this root. And, a prashan—an asking—that you make to God is called a prarthana or a prayer. “Ishwar allah yeh pukaar sun le…” goes one prayer song. “Itni shakti humein dena data…” is another.


Look at these words: Precariousdeprecateimprecate

In each of these three words, the root prek- jumps out towards you, but there are two words in which it doesn’t and one is actually surprised when he is told that they too are from prek-. These words are:



Did you raise your eyebrows too? What happened was that the root underwent the following sequence of changes:

Prek-sk -> pork-sk -> posk ->posto

Latin rogare  to ask
In Latin 'to ask' meaning is 'rogare'.



An interrogation by a police officer is a ‘questioning session between’ him and you; he can ask you or anybody any questions because that is his prerogative He did not have to ask someone to grant him this right. He got it the moment he donned the policeman’s uniform.

However, such power corrupts some policemen; they arrogate the title of ‘Mai-baap’ of the area; they enjoy it when the poor grovel in their feet for help; it gratifies their arrogance and makes them feel like the lords of the universe.

Many religions bind their people to pay tithes to the actual lord of the universe. To donate more than that is supererogatory, ‘over and above what was asked out of them.’ The Church said that this helped people reach their quota of goodness faster. The ‘superabundant merit’ that they continued to collect after that was deposited in the Spiritual Treasury of God, which could then be disposed by the Pope for remitting the sins of the ordinary believers.


A surrogate is someone who is ‘asked in place of another.’ The uncle of a fatherless child usually becomes his surrogate father. The king was outraged when one day a few orphans came with the complaint of mistreatment by their relatives. He immediately abrogated the law banning adoptions. That a child stayed in a loving family was more important, he said, than his staying in his natural family.


Latin clamare to call, cry out
When you ‘claim’ something, you cry out that it is yours. In order to prevent any random person from claiming that the makers of a movie or a TV serial stole details from his life, the producers run a disclaimer—‘This is a work of fiction and any resemblance to any person dead or living is purely coincidental.’


What is an ‘exclamation’? Nothing but ‘a crying out’. I hope you do not exclaim when you are told that the words below are from clamare. The root is pretty obvious in all of them.

Call maar-1: clamorclamantacclaim

Call maar-2: declaimproclaimreclaim

Latin vocare  to call
In Latin 'to call' meaning is 'vocare'.


The job at whose call we obediently get out of our bed each morning, get ready and report at our office, is our vocation. On the other hand is our avocation which calls us away from our main job.

When two policemen entered the office, everyone left their desks and crowded around them. Was Rehaan Sheikh their colleague? The police enquired. “Yes”, they all nodded, “but why?” He had been arrested for attempted robbery of his landowner, they were told. “He!” Oh, he must have been framed! He could do no wrong! They all vouched for his integrity.

As soon as the policemen left, all his friends in the office arranged an advocate and rushed to the police station.

An advocate always takes a clear, unequivocal stand. You always know whether he is arguing ‘for’ or ‘against’ an issue or a person. The politicians, on the other hand, are masters of equivocation. The statements they make and the answers they give are such that they can be interpreted either ‘for’ the issue or ‘against’ it. Politicians rarely make their stand clear.

A vociferous speaker puts so much energy into his words that everything around—the glass on your table, the tables, the ground and the walls—starts trembling. You shut your ears helplessly to escape the din. But suddenly everyone around you starts shouting. You open your ears, and hear passionate avowals of retaliation. ‘Apni aan bachayeinge! Hum unko sabaq sikhayeinge.” The provocative lecture has done its job, you think. The crowd has been provoked.


It was on a calm Sunday afternoon that 60-year-old Gayatri Sinha convoked all her family members for an emergency meeting. Surprised by her summons, they were stunned by her announcement. She was taking sanyas! Some gasped, some gaped. Then, all exhorted her to revoke her decision but she said her decision was irrevocable.

Years passed. Her decision had been irrevocable, indeed. She had renounced them all. But they had not been able to. Random things—an adage she had often said, a song she had sometimes hummed, a colour she had always liked, a stick she had started using—still evoked in Umesh’s mind the memories of his mother. He still invoked his mother at the slightest pain or shock or sorrow he felt. “Hai ma!” Oh, how he wished she was still there!


Ventriloquist: (n) a person who speaks without seemingly moving his lips, and shows the voice to be coming from some other source, usually a dummy or a soft toy held in his hand.

Origin: L ventri-, stomach + loqui, to speak => ‘to speak from the stomach’


Circumlocution: (n) to talk in a roundabout manner.

Origin: L circum, circle + loqui, to speak

  • “Seth ji, as you know the prices of everything have reached the sky these days. It has become impossible for an honest man to get two square meals for his family…” The shop owner interrupted his employee impatiently and said, “Cut these circumlocutions and come straight to the point.” The poor man lowered his head and nervously mumbled an appeal to increase his salary.
  • Two days after Rehaan gave Haya a poem in which he had confessed that he loved her, they met to talk about it.

Haya: Rehaan, you are my very very good friend and I don’t want to spoil this.

Rehaan: Haya, please don’t use these circumlocutions with me. I’m ready for any answer. But please tell me clearly.

Haya: Hmm….(taking a deep breath)…well, the truth is that I don’t love you and never will…I am sorry. You asked for frankness, Rehaan, and I’ve taken you at your word. This is my answer without any attempt at circumlocution.”


Obloquy: (n) public use of highly insulting and disgracing language for someone by a group of people or by all people.

Origin: L ob-,against + loqui, to speak

  • Most rape victims do not dare to report the crime to the police because they fear obloquy. Our society percieves a raped girl as having fallen from virtue, as if it was her fault that she was raped.

Soliloquy: (n) a talk with oneself. Especially, the talk of a character of a drama with himself so that the audience can know what is going on in his mind.

Origin: L solus, alone + loqui, to talk

  • A scene from an old Hindi movie:
    The old woman walked around the empty, dark palatial house, feeling very melancholy. She soliloquized:
    “Oh, if I only had not slapped Raadha, or having slapped her, if only I had kept my cool and let Kishan vent out his anger! He would have cooled down after some time. They would still have been with me.” She choked back a little sob. Then she looked at the central courtyard and said:
    “It was right here. Oh, if it was to happen over again, I wouldn’t say that—I wouldn’t say it for the whole world. But he’s gone now; I’ll never, never, never see him any more.”
    This thought broke her down, and she wandered into the darkness, with tears rolling down her cheeks.
    “Look at her! Now the old termagant is crying. Earlier, she had made her bahu’s life living hell. Got what she deserves,someone from the audience shouted in delight.

Melancholy: (adj) in a very sad, gloomy mood.


Grandiloquence: (n) the act of talking grandly, using big words, usually in order to impress or show off

Origin: L grandis, great + loqui, to talk

  • Mughal-e-Azam is full of grandiloquent dialogues. Sample the dialogue below:

Akbar: Humein yakin hai ke qaidkhanay ke khaufnaak andheron ne teri aarzoo`on mein woh chamak baqi na rakhi hogi jo kabhi thi!

Anarkali: Qaidkhanay ke andhere kaneez ki aarzoo’ on ki roshni se kam thay!

Akbar: andhere aur barhaa diye jaayeinge!

Anarkali: aarzu’ein aur barh jaayeingee!


Magniloquence: (n) grandiloquence

Origin: L magnus, great + loqui, to talk


Eloquence: (n) clear, impressive speech; (adj) eloquent, meaning ‘speaking’.

Origin: L e-, out + loqui, to speak

  • Eloquent silence, eloquent eyes
  • People usually get eloquent when telling their own stories, or after consuming alcohol.

Enunciate: (v) to express clearly.

Origin: L e-, out + nuntiare, to say

  • “Well Miss Jutinder,” the friend of a friend clearly began the conversation at a wrong note. “Well,” I said with a smile on my face and daggers in my eyes, “my name is J-A-P-I-N-D-E-R.” I enunciated my name knowing that otherwise he would next call me Japneet.

Renounce: (v) to give up; (n) renunciation.

Origin: L re-, back + nuntiare, to call

  • Gautam Buddha renounced the pleasures of his palace and family and set out on the difficult search of truth.
  • Sanyaas means a renunciation of all that one has hitherto loved and found good.

Denounce: (v) to criticizes; (n) denunciation.

Origin: L de-, down + nuntiare, to say

  • The writer told her audience that the parts of her story that were taken straight out of real life were denounced as impossible and absurd, and the scenes that she made up out of her “own silly head” were pronounced ‘charmingly natural, tender, and true’.
  • The ill-treatment meted out by Sudhanshu Kakkar and his wife to his parents was denounced by all.
  • The ill-treatment meted out by Sudhanshu Kakkar and his wife to his parents received universal denunciation.

Mete out: (v) hand out, apportion.


Dictum: (n) saying

Origin: L dicere, to say


Edict: (n) authoritative order.

Origin: L e-, out + dicere, to say


Aghast: (adj) horrified

  • In the movie Jodha Akbar, the newly-wed Jodha, unaccustomed to the brutal ways of the Mughals, is aghast to see her husband— emperor Akbar—have a traitor thrown down from the roof repeatedly till his death.

Traitor: (n) one who betrays trust.


Indiscriminate: (adj) making no distinctions; applicable for all.

  • “People are constantly in search of idols, heroes, villains, sirens—in search of individuals, in search of noise. Anyone who is conventionally and moderately ‘successful’ becomes a celebrity. It’s indiscriminate—it can be Miss Universe, or a writer, or the maker of a ridiculous TV soap, the minimum requirement is success. There’s a particular kind of person who comes up to me with this starstruck smile—it doesn’t matter who I am—they just know I’m famous; whether I’m the ‘Booker PrizeWinner’ or the star of the Zee

Horror Show or whatever is immaterial.” Arundhati Roy

Opposite of indiscriminate is discriminating.

(v) to make distinctions, to not mete out the same treatment to everyone. A person who discriminates is called discriminating.

qqOrdinary fans loved the latest movie of the actor Hriday Rolan but his discriminating admirers unanimously felt that his performance in this movie was below his earlier preformances.


Oblivious: (adj) ignorant of, having no idea of; (n) oblivion: the state of being unknown or not knowing.

  • There was a time when Geetanjali was the number 1 herione of the Hindi film industry. The whole nation seemed to be crazy about her. Then, other, younger heroines slowly took the spotlight from her. People forgot her but she felt incomplete without her former adulation. She hated the oblivion which age had forced her into. When she couldn’t take it any more, she killed herself.

Adulation: (n) great, enthusiastic praise or admiration.


Ghastly: (adj) horrible


Slaughter: (v) to cut animals or like animals.

A related word is ‘onslaught.’

Onslaught: (n) a very angry and forceful attack.


Slink: (v) to move loosely, half-heartedly or without energy.


Disheveled: (adj) untidy, messy.


Tatterdemalion: (n) someone dressed in torn clothes.

Raggamuffin has a similar construction and means the same.


Impale: (v) to pierce with a pointed stick.

The word ‘pole’ has the same root as ‘pale’ part of impale.


Grueling: (adj) very tough

Gall: (n) boldness


Deranged: (adj) mad


Indict: (v) to accuse, to charge formally in court.

Origin: L in-, in + dicere, to say


Downcast: (adj) without hope.

Origin: Down+ cast => ‘spirits cast down’


Malediction: (n) curse

Origin: L malus, bad + dicere, to say


Temerity: (n) boldness, courage.


Reiterate: (v) to repeat.


Rend: (v) to tear apart.

  • The widow’s wails rent the skies and Lord Vishnu himself had to come down and console her.

Asunder: (adv) split apart.

Related word: sunder.

Sunder: (v) to split.


Lurk: (v) to wait in hiding.


Abdicate: (v) to give up.

Origin: L ab-, away + dicere, to say


Index: (n) an indicator.

Origin: L in-, in + dicere, to say


Contraindication: (n) prohibition

Origin: L contra-, against + in- + dicere, to say

  • The dangerous rides of the amusement park, like the High Hurricane, Earthquake, Upside Down and Chakkar pe chakkar, were contraindicated for small children, heart patients and pregnant ladies.

Indite: (v) to write.

Origin: L in-, in + dicere, to say

  • Gulzar is an amazingly versatile songwriter. He has indited many poetic masterpieces. But, he has also composed songs written in the language and idiom of common people- covering the whole gamut from a rustic of UP to a hep youth who dances the night away in a Mumbai disco.

Gamut: (n) range


Interdict: (v) prohibit; (n) prohibition.

Origin: L inter-, between + dicere, to say => ‘to forbid’

  • Scene from the novel David Copperfield. David Copperfield came into the room where his mother and Miss Murdstone, her sisterin- law (from her second marriage), were sitting. His step-brother (who was only a few weeks old) was on his mother’s lap. He took the baby very carefully in his arms. Suddenly, Miss Murdstone gave such a scream that David all but dropped the baby. Here’s how he describes what happened:

‘My dear Jane!’ cried my mother.

‘Good heavens, Clara, do you see?’ exclaimed Miss Murdstone.

‘See what, my dear Jane?’ said my mother; ‘where?’

‘He’s got it!’ cried Miss Murdstone. ‘The boy has got the baby!’

She was limp with horror; but stiffened herself to make a dart at David, and take the baby out of his arms. Then, she

turned faint; and was so very ill that they were obliged to give her cherry brandy. David was solemnly interdicted by her, on her recovery, from touching his brother any more on any pretence whatever; and his poor mother, who, David could see, wished otherwise, meekly confirmed the interdict, by saying: ‘No doubt you are right, my dear Jane.’


Vendetta: (n) enmity involving lot of blood shed.

Origin: from L vindicta.

  • In many Hindi films of the 1970s and the 80s, the hero turned into a vendetta machine whose sole purpose in life was to kill the villain who had killed his family or raped his sister.
  • Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak is the story of vendetta between two Rajput clans. The first qayamat comes when Ratan refuses to marry his girlfriend Madhumati, after making her pregnant. She kills herself in despair and her brother Dhanraj Singh shoots Ratan on his wedding day. This makes the two families blood-rivals of each other. Years later, Dhanraj’s son Raj and Randhir’s daughter Rashmi fall in love and elope. That leads to the second qayamat in the history of the two families. 

Vindicate: (v) prove right.

Origin: L vindicare, to lay a claim

  • When the court declared the dacoity-accused ‘not guilty’, his mother said that her faith in her son had been vindicated.

Vindictive: (adj) seeking revenge.

Origin: L vindicare, to lay a claim

  • When the Bollywood star Tauqeer Hussain left his wife for a heroine, she wrote a vindictive article in a tabloid in which she revealed many shocking secrets of his life which she said she had stayed quiet about till then, for the sake of her marriage. She accused him of having links with underworld, evading Income Tax, sleeping with his heroines, exploiting aspiring actresses by promising them films and many other salacious details.

Avenge: (v) to take revenge on somebody’s behalf.

Origin: L ad-, to + vindicare, to lay a claim

  • A group of young Hindu men, brandishing their trishuls and shouting slogans of ‘Jai Siya Ram’, burnt a copy of The Holy Quran outside the masjid. Then, they forced their way in, throwing all over the masjid compound, raw pork, and pamphlets proclaiming that this attack was to avenge the slaughter of cows by the Taliban in Afghanistan.
  • Veeru tried to kill Gabbar Singh to avenge his best friend Jai who had been killed by Gabbar Singh’s men.

Vengeance: (n) revenge

Origin: L vindicare, to lay a claim

  • The Imam of the masjid gave a call for vengeance and the blood of the young Muslim boys started boiling. They vowed to teach all who had desecrated their masjid, a memorable lesson. 

Jurisdiction: (n) the area in which an authority, like a court, has its say.

Origin: L juris, law + dicere, to say

  • “Today, for the first time in our long and chequered history,” he said, “we find the whole of this vast land... brought together under the jurisdiction of one constitution and one union which takes over responsibility for the welfare of more than 320 million men and women who inhabit it.” Dr Rajendra Prasad, addressing the nation on 26th January 1950, as he took the oath of office as the first President of the Republic of India.

Benediction: (n) blessing

Origin: L bene-, good + dicere, to say

  • Doodho nahaao, koodo fallo, sada suhaagan raho etc. are benedictions.
  • Laying a bouquet of flowers and the gift-wrapped doll upon the bed, the young mother kissed the sleeping Soha, she said this

benediction: “A happy birthday, and God bless you, my daughter!”


Benison: (n) blessing

Origin: L benedictio -> Fr beneicon -> Eng beneson

  • God has showered His benisons upon our motherland. Our country is blessed with immense natural wealth, with mountains and plains and forests and rivers and oceans and snow and sun.

Predicament: (n) a difficult or dangerous situation in which you cannot think what to do.

Origin: L pre-, before + dicare,to say

  • Seventy-year-old Sharma ji arrived in Delhi—for the first time in his life—checked into the pre-booked hotel, had a late lunch and then went out to explore the streets of Delhi by himself. When it started getting dark, he thought of returning to the hotel and…realized that…he didn’t remember the name of the hotel! Or even the area! He checked his pockets. The chit bearing the hotel’s address was in the other pants, hanging in the hotel’s bathroom. Oh God, what a terrible predicament! He panicked, wishing he had listened to his sons and bought a mobile or had not come alone. What would he do now? 

Paradigm: (n) model, framework.

Origin: Gk para-, side + deiknynai, to show => ‘to show side by side’. The Greek word deiknynai is related with dicere.

  • Some scholars have established a paradigm of police character. They say that policemen are typically more authoritarian, aggressive and rigid, and that they are more distrustful and suspicious of the people they interact with than other professionals.

Authoritarian: (adj) having authority; dictatorial.


Precarious: (adj) very risky; held up by on only a very thin and weak support.

Origin: L prex, prayer => ‘surviving only on a prayer’

  • Rudir Gupta was the only breadwinner of his family of five. The family’s financial situation became precarious after his death. Their only source of income now is his father’s measly pension. The family does not know for how long that will continue, because since

Rudir’s death, old Mr Gupta’s health has been precarious. The poor old man has not been able to recover from the tragedy.

Measly: (adj) very little in amount.


Deprecate: (v) to lower in value, belittle.

Origin: L de-, away + prex, prayer => ‘to ward away by prayer’ => ‘to consider something evil’

  • Some of us deprecate what we have done and refuse to take any credit for it. Perhaps we do not realize that such self-deprecation betrays a low self-esteem and decreases our worth in the eyes of the others.
  • In the movie ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’, the protagonist tells his young son that people will always try to deprecate him but he needs to be strong enough to do what he wants. He says, “You got a dream, you got to protect it. People can’t do something themselves, they want to tell you that you can’t do it. You want something? Go get it.”

Imprecate: (v) to curse; (n) imprecation, a curse.

Origin: L im-, in + prex, prayer => ‘to call in prayer’

  • Rudir’s mother muttered dreadful imprecations on the head of the drunken driver who had jammed his car into her son’s scooter, killing him on the spot. “Tere moonh mein keede padein,she wailed, “tera kuchh na rahe. Narak mein sade tu!”.

Postulate: (v) to claim or assume something to be true and then use that assumption in further reasoning.

Origin: L poscere, to request -> postulare, to ask

  • John Dalton postulated that elements are made of tiny indivisible particles called atoms, and that all atoms of a particular element are identical.

Expostulate: (v) to protest.

Origin: L ex- + postulare, to ask => ‘to ask strongly’

  • Old Mrs. Sharma decided to take sanyas. “But we need you, ma” expostulated her sons, “your grandchildren need you! Do not go, please!” They could not change her mind though.

Prerogative: (n) an automatic right that a person has by virtue of his status or job.

Origin: L pre-, before + rogare, to ask

  • The upper caste Zamindars believed it was their prerogative to do what they want to with the lower-castes.
  • It is the government’s prerogative to charge citizens for the services it provides through taxation.

Don: (v) to put on (clothes).

Origin: Contraction of do on

The opposite is Doff, meaning ‘to take off or get rid of.’

Origin: Contraction of do off


Arrogate: (v) to take for oneself without permission or right.

Origin: L ad-, towards + rogare, to ask


Grovel: (v) to lie face downwards at somebody’s feet.


Arrogance: (n) belief that one is superior to all others.

Origin: from arrogate


Tithe: (n) the ‘tenth’ part of agricultural produce or personal income set apart as an offering to God or for charity.

Origin: from ‘tenth’

  • The old man absolutely believed in the power of tithing. He said that it was his life’s experience that the more he had given away, the more was that came back.

Supererogatory: (adj) more than is required, ordered, or expected.

Origin: L super-, above, + e-, ex-, out, +rogare

Surrogate: (n) a substitute who does one’s job.

Origin: L sub-, under, in place of + rogare


Outrage: (v) to anger or offend; shock.; (n) anything that strongly angers, offends or shocks.

Origin: L outr(er), ‘to push beyond bounds.’

qqHis screams and harsh cacophonies were an outrage to the very name of music.


Abrogate: (v) to do away with, abolish.

Origin: L ab-, away + rogare, to ask


Disclaim: (v) to claim having no link with something. A notice which makes such a claim is called a disclaimer.

Origin: L dis-, away + clamare, to call


Clamor: (n) loud noise; (v) make noise, ask for something loudly and noisily.

  • The small temple atop the mountain was far away from the noise and the clamor of the material world.
  • After the third dacoity in two days, the people of the city clamored for increased police patrolling.
  • Her hungry heart clamored for the happiness that was its right, and grew very heavy as she watched friends or lovers walking in the summer twilight when she took her evening stroll.

Clamant: (adj) urgent, crying.

  • Population control is a clamant need of the hour. We just cannot afford to let our numbers multiply unchecked.

Acclaim: (n) appreciation; (v) to appreciate.

Origin: L ad-, at + clamare, to call => ‘to call in praise’

  • Satyajit Ray won great acclaim for his very first film, Pather Panchali.
  • Dilip Kumar was acclaimed for his performance in the movie Devdas.

Declaim: (v) to give a speech.

Origin: L de- + clamare, to call

  • The Prime Minister declaimed his Independence Day speech from the Red Fort.

Proclaim: (v) declare

Origin: L pro-, forth + clamare, to call

  • A successful marriage needs a lot more than “I love you” proclamations. It needs trust, respect, tolerance, understanding…

Reclaim: (v) to claim again; to recover.

Origin: L re-, back + clamare, to call

  • Many sea-side cities are built on reclaimed land, that is, the land which has been recovered from sea.

Vocation: (n) job

Origin: L vocare, to call => ‘calling’


Avocation: (n) a secondary job or a hobby.

Origin: L a-, away + vocare, to call => ‘that which calls away from one’s main job’


Vouch: (v) guarantee, speak in favour of.

Origin: a advocare Fr avochier Middle english voucher .


Advocate: (v) to support strongly, to speak in favour of.

Origin: L ad – to + vocare => ‘to call to help’


Unequivocal: (adj) clearly taking one side, leaving no doubt about one’s stand on an issue.

Origin: See equivocate


Equivocate: (v) to speak equally on two opposing sides of an issue.

Origin: L aequus, equal + vocare


Vociferous: (v) carrying a lot of voice.

Origin: a vox, voice + ferre, to carry


Din: (n) noise


Avow: (v) to declare; (n) avowal: a declaration.

A related word is ‘disavow.

Disavow: (v) to publicly declare having no link with something.


Provocative: (adj) that which arouses some emotion or action.

Origin: a pro –, forth + vocare => ‘to call forth’

Convoke: (v) to call together; (n) convocation: a meeting that is called together. (Latin con – means ‘togethor’)


Gape: (v) stare open-mouthed in great surprise.


Exhort: (v) to suggest very very strongly.

  • The musician Frank Zappa is noted for his exhortation, “Drop out of school before your mind rots from exposure to our mediocre educational system. Forget about the Senior Prom and go to the library and educate yourself if you’ve got any guts.”

Revoke: (v) to call back. (Latin re – means ‘back’)

  • The prince said that if he could revoke his connection to the royal family and make himself a person of common descent and ordinary connexions, he would gladly do so.

Irrevocable: (adj) that which cannot be called back or undone.

  • The young man supported the concept of live-in relationships saying that he should have an opportunity of trying how he liked living with somebody before binding himself to her irrevocably through marriage.
  • “Forget the past,” the wise old woman told the girl pining for her lost lover. “The past is irrevocable. It is gone and will never, ever come back, no matter what you do, no matter how much you cry.”

Adage: (n) saying

  • An old adage says, “The best conversations are those in which you respond to ideas, not words.”

Evoke: (v) call (some image, emotion or memory etc.) to mind. A thing which does that is called evocative. (Latin e – means ‘out’)


Invoke: (v) to call someone in one’s speech.

  • You invoke your mother by saying “oui ma!” You invoke god by saying “Hey bhagwaan!” or “Hey Ram!” etc.


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