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How you comport yourself is how you ‘carry’ yourself. If you need any lessons on the matter, look at the deportment of the royals or the aristocrats. Such stately, majestic gentlemen who deported themselves with grave dignity were called portly.


Most of them were also rather fat. So, people slowly started saying “Umm…He looks like a portly gentleman,” as the polite answer to “Isn’t he a fat pumpkin?”

‘Import’ and ‘export’ of ‘portable’ goods is a rather lucrative business. When something is too heavy for us to carry, we hire a ‘porter’. A few of these poor men are illegal immigrants who live in the fear of being ‘deported’ (carried away).

The other words from this, and related, roots are:


Carry the pot to the port, porter!-1: Purport, purported, import, important

Carry the pot to the port, porter!-2: report, rapport, port, passport

Carry the pot to the port, porter! 3: opportunity, opportune, inopportune

Carry the pot to the port, porter!-4: importune, portfolio, ford

Latin latus carried, brought

When you ‘bring back’ an interesting scene that you saw and tell it to everybody, you are ‘relating’ it to them. And, if some of the people do not understand your mother tongue, you ‘translate’ your story into a language they do understand. To translate is ‘to carry across.’


The man who brings in new laws is called a ‘legislator’ (L. legis, law, + lator, bringer)

The other words from this root are:

Latus-1: oblate, prolate, prelate

Latus-2: collate, collation, dilatory

Latus-3: elation, superlative


Latin rota wheel

One ‘rotation’ is one whole turn of the wheel. The earth became ‘round’ by knocking out the ‘t’ of rotundus, wheel like. A rotund man is just like the round globe. A rotund building is called arotunda.


There is a rotund speech too. It has come from the Latin phrase ore rotundo, which means ‘to speak with a round mouth.’ Imagine speaking out so that each element comes out clear, strong and smooth, with a ringing quality to it. Such a rich speech is also called ‘orotund’ (a contraction of ore rotundo).

Latin volvere to roll

A ‘revolving’ door can ‘roll back’. To ‘evolve’ is to ‘roll out, to unfold and open up’. When you ‘involve’ somebody in your plan, you ‘roll him in’, that is you make him a part of your scheme.


Historically, ‘volume’ meant ‘a roll’ of papyrus. Even today, a single manuscript is called a volume. The word’s generalized sense of ‘bulk, mass’ developed out of the sense of ‘bulk, mass of a book.’

The other words from this root are:


Devolve, voluble, convoluted

Latin nare to swim

This Latin root is a cousin of the Sanskrit snati, which means ‘he bathes.’ The common Hindi words snaan and nahaana are from this Sanskrit root.


The words from the Latin nare are:

Natation, supernatant, natatorium

Latin nau- boat

“Ah!” Are you smiling to see the humble nau, on which you have gone boating so often, reveal that it is actually an IE root? Well, the words ‘navy’ and ‘navigation’ are nephews of our nau. They are the children of the Latin navis, which means ‘a ship.’


The Greek brother of nau is naus, again meaning ‘a ship’ and a sailor is called nautes.


The progeny of naus and nautes is: nausea, nautical, ‘astronaut’ and ‘noise’. An astronaut literally means ‘a sailor among stars’ (how poetic!). 

Noise came from nausea and so initially meant ‘discomfort, sickness.’ Slowly, it started being used predominantly for discomforting, sickening sounds.


Since the ship sails in the sea, let us also discuss a root for sea. That root is the Latin mare, meaning ‘sea’, found in marine and maritime.


Remember the ‘mermaids’ that you read about in your childhood fairy tales? They were so called because they were ‘maidens of the sea’. A vessel that can navigate under the sea is called a submarine. The words marsh, morass, mire and quagmire are cousins of marine and maritime.


Comport: (v) to bear or conduct (oneself); behave.

Origin: L com-, + portare, to carry => ‘to carry oneself ’


Deportment: (n) a manner of personal conduct; behaviour; to expel from a country.

Origin: L de- + portare, to carry

  • His deportment made people think that he must be a prince.
  • The Canadian government deported all the Indians who had migrated to the country illegally.

Portly: (adj) fat, bulky.

Origin: L portare, to carry => ‘carrying a lot of weight’

  • Santa Claus is often depicted as a portly old man dressed in red.

Lucrative: (adj) moneymaking, profitable.

Origin: lucre, money

  • The lure of the lucre drove him into the world of crime.

Purport: (n) purpose, intention, meaning.

Origin: L pro-, forth + portare, to carry => ‘to carry forth, convey.’

  • Selfish behavior that purports to be altruistic carries the mask of altruism in front.
  • The purport of the Bhagwad Gita is the meaning it intends to convey.

Purported: (adj) reputed or claimed; presenting an (often false) appearance of being or intending.

  • A man purported to be wealthy conveys—through his actions and appearancethat he has lots of money, but does not really have it.

Import: (n) importance

Origin: L im-, in + portare, to carry

  • He spoke with such careless authority that it was clear that he believed that every word of his was of great import to mankind.
  • It is a crime to marry small children who do not even understand the full import of the word ‘marriage.’

Rapport: (n) a relationship in which both sides feel good about and trust each other.

Origin: L re-, back + portare, to carry => ‘to bring back’ good feelings after meeting a person.

  • The teacher struck a good rapport with the students and soon became the favourite teacher of the whole class.

Opportune: (adj) favourable

Origin: from L ob portum veniens => ‘a wind that is coming towards the port’ => ‘favorable wind’

  • When she saw that her father was in a good mood, Simran thought it was an opportune moment to seek permission for the Europe trip that her classmates were going on.

Inopportune: (adj) inappropriate, not favourable.

  • When she saw that her father was in an angry mood, Simran thought it was an inopportune moment to seek permission for the Europe trip that her classmates were going on.

Importune: (v) to give unwanted attention; to make unwelcome demands.

Origin: L im-, not + opportune

  • I knew that Vikram Seth was staying in the same hotel. He was my favourite writer. But now, the thought of trying to meet him did not occur to me. So famous a writer, I assumed, was sure to be besieged by admirers and would, if anything, be grateful to be spared my importunities.

Portfolio: (n) a portable case to carry documents.

Origin: L portare, to carry + folium, leaf, sheet


Ford: (n) a place where a river is shallow enough to be crossed on foot; (v) to cross a river at such a place.

Origin: L portare, to carry ‘a passage’

  • The name Oxford literally means ‘where the oxen ford’.
  • The ad showed the Ford car driving through a ford, splashing water all around.

Oblate: (adj) flattened at the poles.

Origin: L ob-, toward+ latus, carried

  • The earth is not a sphere but an ‘oblate spheroid’, more curved at the equator and flatter at the poles.

Prolate: (adj) lengthened

Origin: L pro-, forth + latus, carried

  • If an ellipse is rotated about its major axis, we get a prolate (elongated) spheroid, like a rugby ball. If the ellipse is rotated about its minor axis, the result is an oblate (flattened) spheroid, like the Earth.

Prelate: (n) a high ranking priest of the church.

Origin: L pre-, before + latus, carried => ‘carried before others’

  • The highest ranking prelate in the U.K. Catholic Church visited India.

Collate: (v) to put together for comparison or interpretation.

Origin: L com- together + latus, carried

  • The NGO collated data on HIV/AIDS in India.
  • The CBI set up a “cyber crime research and development unit’’ to collect and collate information on cyber crimes reported from different parts of the country.

Collation: (n) light meal

Origin: L com-, together + latus, carried

  • When the collation was over, and every child provided with a slice of cake and a biscuit, Mrs. Watkinson said to Mrs. Morland: “Now, ma’am, you shall have some music from my daughter Jane.”

Dilatory: (adj) serving to dilate, that is, increase in size; serving to delay.

Origin: L dis-, apart + latus, carried

  • Before the operation, the nurse put dilatory drops in the patient’s eye.
  • Instead of taking immediate action against the perpetrators of the riots, the government adopted dilatory tactics like appointing a one-man commission. The minister said that the government would act as per the report of the commission. The commission took fifteen years to complete its investigation.

Elation: (n) extreme happiness.

Origin: L ex-, out + latus, carried

  • She was elated by the news of her son’s job.

Superlative: (adj) the highest degree of comparison.

Origin: L super, above + latus, carried

  • The best is the superlative of good.

Rotund: (adj) round in shape; plump, fat; full-toned or sonorous.

Origin: L rota, wheel

  • The baby looked very cute when joyous dimples broke into his rotund face.
  • The balloon was swollen into rotundity.
  • Rotund stomach.

Rotunda: (n) a round building; especially, one that is round both on the outside and inside; less properly, but very commonly, used for a large round room.


Devolve: (v) to come down upon.

Origin: L de-,down + volvere, to roll

  • The power of governance devolves from the Central government to the States, and from the States to the local bodies such as Municipal Committee and the panchayats.
  • When a person dies, his property devolves on his legal heirs as per the Succession Act, if he leaves no will. If he does leave a will, the property devolves according to it.

Voluble: (adj) talkative

Origin: L volvere, to roll => ‘when words roll down one’s tongue’

  • Alcohol made him voluble and he spoke out everything that he had been suppressing since long.

Convoluted: (adj) complicated; twisted.

Origins: L con-,+ volvere, to roll

  • Who is the son of the son of your grandfather’s father? That is just a convoluted description of your father.
  • The following is the convoluted definition of ‘non-hours work’, taken from the draft National Minimum Wage Regulations of 1998.

The hours of non-hours work worked by a worker in a pay reference period shall be the total of the number of hours spent by him during the pay reference period in carrying out the duties required of him under his contract to do non-hours work.


Natation: (n) swimming

Origin: L nare, to swim

  • Everyone should know at least the simple rudiments of natation. You never know when you might need it.

Supernatant: (n) that which floats over the surface.

Origin: L super, over + nare, to swim

  • Put mud in a glass of water. Stir it. You will see the whole water get murky. Now take the spoon out and leave the glass undisturbed for an hour. The part that has settled down is called the sediment. The almost clear liquid overlying the soil deposit is called the supernatant.

Natatorium: (n) an indoor swimming pool.

Origin: L nare, to swim

  • The swimming competitions of the Olympic Games are held in a natatorium.


Nausea: (n) sea-sickness; a feeling of illness with the inclination to vomit.

Origin: Gk naus, ship

  • The people who are suffering from nausea are nauseated; something that causes nausea is nauseous.

Nautical: (adj) related with sailors, ships or navigation.

Origin: Gk naus, ship

  • A nautical mile is a unit of length used by sea navigators and is equal to 1.852 km (1 mile = 1.609 km)
  • Central Institute of Fisheries, Nautical and Engineering Training offers a B.Sc. in Nautical Science.

Marine: (adj) related with sea

Origin: L mare, sea

  • marine life, marine soldiers, marine exports, marine pollution

1407 Maritime: (adj) related with sea or shipping.

Origin: L mare, sea

  • When it was revealed that the terrorists who had attacked hotel Taj Mahal of Mumbai, had entered the city by the sea, a serious question mark was put on the maritime security of the country.
  • April 5 is marked as the National Maritime Day in the Indian calendar in order to commemorate the date on which for the first time a ship set sail with the Indian flag flying high on it. The year was 1919 and the ship was SS Loyalty of the Scindia Steam Navigation Company. It sailed from Bombay to the United Kingdom.

Marsh: (n) a wetland.

Origin: related with L mare

  • The marsh was declared as a Reserved Forest to protect its ecosystem from being destroyed by construction nearby, felling of trees and dumping of waste there. Several migratory water birds came to the marsh for breeding.

Morass: (n) a marsh, a soft, wet ground.

Origin: related with L mare

  • In the very first physics coaching class, he found himself in a morass of numbers and theorems and proofs.

Mire: (n) a marsh (v) to become trapped in a marsh or a wrongful activity.

  • Meera’s car became mired in mud.
  • He had gone to Mumbai to find a job but became mired in the underworld.

Quagmire: (n) a soft muddy surface which sinks in when you set foot on it, therefore taking you further in.

  • Meera looked around for help. There was no one in the heavy rain. She frantically raced her brain on how to get the car out of that quagmire.
  • His father scolded him, reasoned with him, threatened to disown him—did everything he could—to make him get out of the quagmire of crime.

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