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The fish release a large mass of eggs, which ‘spread out’ in the water and are, therefore, called the spawn. It is patent to everyone that the fish population all over the world is dwindling.


‘Letters patent’ are ‘open’ letters issued by the king or the government granting exclusive rights, title or status to a person or an organization. Anybody can read them. In contrast are ‘letters close,’ which are sealed so that only the recipient can read their contents.


The letters patent that grant an inventor the sole right to make, use, and sell his invention for a set period of time are more commonly known as just ‘patents.’


‘Petal’ and patina are also from this root.

Latin flare to blow

The word ‘flavour’, which explains why Seth Paadmaaru eats so much in the first place, is also from the root flare. The Latin word flator meant ‘that which blows,’ hence, ‘an odour.’ Flator became flaor in French, with the meaning of ‘smell, odour’ and from there entered English, in 1300, as flavour.


The one other word from this root is conflate.


Imagine Seth Motu Chand. Can you visualise his 400 metre-in-girth stomach? Good. His feet can barely transport his heft these days, yet he keeps gorging down platefuls of rich, fatty foods at each meal. He eats so much that his insides blow up like a balloon. At this instant, all his employees tightly constrict their noses because experience has taught them that a Seth who inflates, deflates. “Peeeeeee…..” comes the sound soon after, followed by a relieved “Aah!” of the Seth. The bad smell lingers for a whole hour (after all, it was a fart of the great Seth ji, what less can one expect?) All that his poor employees can do about this daily torture is call him Paadmaaru. “We would never work for such a flatulent Seth,” they say, “if we had a choice.” Choice, alas, is what poor people seldom get.


Latin aperire to open, uncover

In Latin 'to open,uncover' meaning is 'aperire'.


The words from aperire are:

Aperire-1: aperture, pert

Aperire-2: overt, overture

Greek kryptein to hide

The words from kryptein are:

Crypt, encrypt, decrypt, apocrypha, krypton


Latin claudere to close

The word ‘close’ itself has come from this root. ‘Inclusion’ means closing in and when you ‘exclude’ somebody from a party that you give, you close him out; that is, you let everyone else come in but when his turn comes, you shut the door in his face.


The other words from the same root are:

Claudere-1: preclude, recluse

Claudere-2: seclusion, cloister

Claudere-:3 disclose, occlusion

Claudere-4: claustrophobia, cloture, sluice

To ‘conclude’ a discussion means to close it.


Latin clavis key

‘Hum tum ik kamre mein band ho, aur chaabi kho jaaye.’ Bobby and her boyfriend had sung that out of romantic desire but men of business too sometimes lock themselves together in a room; their purpose however is to hold a conclave.


An enclave is a locked-in area, an autoclave is a self-locking vessel and a clavicle is so-called because it looks like a key.


Spawn: (v) to lay eggs; to produce, esp. in large number.

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

  • The phenomenal success of Dilwaale Dulhaniya le jaayeinge spawned many Bollywood imitations. The theme of displaced Indians feeling alienated in foreign lands and longing for home has since become a common one in Bollywood films.

Imitation: (n) copy; (v) imitate: to copy.


Patent: (adj) open to sight, that which can be seen by anyone.

Origin: L patere, to be open. Speak patere through the nose and you get pandare.


Dwindle: (v) decrease in number or amount.


Patina: (n) a thin green layer that forms on copper or copper alloys due to oxidation.

Origin: L patere, to be open


Girth: (n) circumference, size.


Deflate: (v) to take out air from, puncture.

Origin: L de-, down + flare, to blow


Flatulent: (adj) generating gas in the stomach.

Origin: L flare, to blow


Conflate: (v) to fuse together, merge.

Origin: L com-, together + flare, to blow

  • The title of Kulwant Kochar’s Hindi novel Man Kurukshetra conflates the mind and the battlefield of the Mahabharata.

Aperture: (n) an opening.

Origin: L aperire, to open

  • The Large Binocular Telescope, built in 2004 and situated at Mount Graham International Observatory, Arizona, USA is one of the largest telescopes in the world. It has an aperture of 11.8 m!

Pert: (adj) very rude; stylish; lively.

Origin: L apertus, open

  • “Shall we order coffee?” asked the mother-in-law. “And I’m sure that’s because ‘coffee’ is the only word you could understand in the menu,” said the daughter-in-law in a pert tone. “It’s high time you begin to act according to your son’s status, ma. Get out of your middle-class past.”
  • When she removed her pert silk scarf from her head, we saw that she had colored her black color to a pert brown.
    The music was pert and lively.

Overt: (adj) open, not hidden.

Origin: L aperire, to open

  • Though Chanda’s father was disappointed when she said that she wanted to be a painter and not an engineer, he kept his feelings to himself. The girl’s mother, however, was overtly disapproving.
  • Interestingly, the opposite of overt rhymes with it.

Covert: (adj) hidden, secret.

Origin: from ‘cover’

  • The terrorist dressed himself like an innocent civilian and went to the Qutab Minar, covertly filming every detail of it with his camera phone hidden under his coat.

Overture: (n) an offer, a first move, an introduction; (v) to make an overture.

Origin: from overt => ‘to open something new’

  • America made many overtures of friendship towards India.
  • The Government of India overtured the hijackers through a newspaper editor who was the only person till date to whom the chief of those hijackers’ terror group had given an interview.

Crypt: (n) a hiding place.

Origin: Gk kryptein, to hide


Encrypt: (v) to hide a message using code language.

Origin: Gk en-, in + kryptein, to hide


Decrypt: (v) to decode a hidden message.

Origin: Gk de-, without + kryptein, to hide


Apocrypha: (n) a book, statement, etc. whose authorship or authenticity is doubtful.

Origin: Gk apo-, away + kryptein, to hide => ‘hidden away’ => ‘identity of author is hidden’

  • My friend told me about a professor who was so absent—minded that he boiled his pocket—match in water white holding the egg for breakfast in his hand. I thought the story was apocryphal.

Preclude: (v) to prevent.

Origin: L pre-, before + claudere, to close

  • The boy said that he was not well educated and this precluded his ever hoping to get a good job.
  • Persons whose social position precluded them from entering the haveli were looking in at the festivities from the road.

Recluse: (n) a person who remains shut off from the world.

Origin: L re-, back + claudere, to close

  • In the movie Sholay, Jai falls in love with Radha, the reclusive widow of the Thakur’s younger son.

Seclusion: (n) isolation

Origin: L se-, apart + claudere, to close => ‘to close apart’ => ‘to shut away from everyone else.’

  • Leaving the unfinished kitchen work for the next day, Claudia tiredly switched off all lights, went to her room, saw her sleeping husband, ran out into the guest room, and in its seclusion, cried and cried and cried. She had been waiting the whole day to be wished, but Jose had forgotten her birthday!
  • It took Jose two years to come out of his self-imposed seclusion and tell the world without hesitation that he was HIV positive. For two years, he shunned his wife, his family, his friends, everybody; he dared not step out of his room and took to bottle, haunted by constant fear of death, and what everybody would say when they discovered.

Cloister: (n) a monastery, convent or other such place which offers religious seclusion; any secluded place.

Origin: L claudere, to close

  • The nuns lived within the secluded confines of the cloister. When the self-sacrifice and reticence required for the cloister began to suffocate the 19-year-old Tina, who had become a nun a year ago, she broke away.
  • While the women of previous centuries led a cloistered existence in their homes, the 20th century women stepped out of the threshold and participated in every public sphere.
    Reticence: (n) silence, reserve, self-restraint.


Disclose: (v) to reveal.

Origin: L dis-, un + claudere, to close

  • The whole class went for a self-organized trip to Shimla. Sitting around the bonfire in the night, they played ‘Truth and Dare.’ Many shocking disclosures were made during the game.

Occlusion: (n) closing of something.

Origin: L ob- + claudere, to close

  • Deposition of cholesterol occludes the arteries.
  • Deposition of cholesterol causes occlusion of the arteries.

Claustrophobia: (n) fear of closed spaces.

Origin: L claudere, to close + phobia, fear


Cloture: (n) closure of a debate by putting the issue to vote.


Sluice: (n) an artificial water channel which has a gate in its upper part which can be lowered to regulate the amount of water that passes through the sluice.

  • When the sluice gates were closed, the water level in the dam started rising.

Conclave: (n) a closed-door meeting.

Origin: L con-, together + clavis, key => ‘locked together’

  • The heads of all Indian states attended the two-day Chief Ministers’ Conclave held in New Delhi.

Enclave: (n) a piece of land which has a unique identity from its surroundings.

Origin: L en-, in + clavis, key => ‘locked-in’

  • Southall is a South Asian enclave in London. More than 55% of its population is of Indian or Pakistani origin. The shops and restaurants here have desi names and most of them even accept payment in Indian rupees. The signboards by the roads are bilingual—in English and Punjabi. Roaming into its streets, one can almost tell himself that he is still in Punjab.

Autoclave: (n) a self-locking pressure cooker in which built up steam is used to sterilize equipment or nutrient media for bacteria.

Origin: L auto-, self + clavis, key


Clavicle: (n) collar bone

Origin: L clavis, key => ‘the bone that looks like a key’

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