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The pertinacious salesman had been eagerly flooding the Motwanis—the chubby Champak and the luscious Leela—with saris, despite their high-nosed rejection of each. “Look at this one madam,” he said, unwrapping a particularly transparent one in soft yellow, “this one is made just for you. It will make you look even sexier.”


Two things happened at the same time. Leela smiled flirtatiously at him, and Champak got up and grabbed his collar, shouting that he will teach him how not to be impertinent with his customers. He did not stop fuming till the Store Manager agreed to suspend the salesman. The poor salesman kept pleading to him to not take away his only means of sustenance but Champak Motwani was not moved.

Another word that pertains to the root tenere is appurtenance. An excited Hansika joined the running club and within a single shopping jaunt, was fully equipped with the running gear—three tee-shirts, a pair of running shorts (for summers) and two pairs of track-pants (for winters), running shoes, goggles, a cap, a wrist band, a pedometer, et al—all branded. Her father was not impressed. A runner is made not by such appurtenances, he said, but by his sincerity. He was proved right the very next morning; she failed to get up for her first run.


A tenable explanation, an untenable one and the tenets of Jainism all have the same root.

to spread out,
to be open

When a nation ‘expands’ its territory, it ‘spreads out’ to a larger geographical area. An expansive man ‘spreads out’ his arms in welcome the moment he sees you. He hugs you and tells you how happy he is to see you. You can see the joy dripping from his face. You think of how special he makes you feel and how different he is from the others. Most people just smile and say, “Nice to see you”, shake hands and go their own way, and you know that they said that just for saying.


Impertinent: (adj) rude; not pertinent.

Origin: L im-, not + pertinent


Sustenance: (n) means of livelihood, means of supporting life; (v) sustain: to support

Origin; L sub-, under + tenere, to hold => ‘to hold from under’ => ‘to support’

  • Around 60% people of India depend on agriculture for sustenance.
  • Agriculture sustains the majority population of India.

Pertain: (v) to relate to, to be relevant; (Adj) pertinent: relevant.

Origin: L per-, through + tenere, to hold => ‘to hold through.’


Appurtenance: (n) something that comes attached to another, more important thing; (in plural) the tools, clothes and other equipment needed for a particular task.

Origin: L ad-, to + per-, through + tenere, to hold => ‘to belong to’


Jaunt: (n) a short pleasure trip.


Tenable: (adj) that which can be supported or defended.

  • Many recent cases of theft and dacoity in the state had been imputed to migrant labourers. The general public was, therefore, clamouring for a ban on the entry of more labourers into the state. However, the chief minister of the state knew that such a ban was not tenable, or even correct.

Untenable: (adj) that which cannot be supported or defended.

Origin: un-, not + tenable

  • When a corruption case was reigstered against a senior IPS officer, the Government decided to not award him a service medal on the Republic Day as it had initially planned. Bestowing medal upon a tainted officer would have been untenable before the Opposition and the media.

Tenet: (n) beliefs held by a religion or a particular school of thought.

Origin: L tenere, to hold => ‘beliefs held.’


Expansive: (adj) very friendly, open; spread over a large area; capable of expanding.

Origin: L ex-, out + pandare, to spread => ‘to spread out’

Related word: expanse

(n) a large area; something spread over a large area.

  • He loved looking out at the vast expanse of the Arabian Sea from his sea-facing bungalow in Mumbai.

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