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IE     aiw-  life, long life, eternity

The Sanskrit word ayu means ‘age’. The names Ayush and Ayushman mean ‘having a long life.’ The ancient Indians showed great confidence in their medicinal system when they called it Ayurveda. It means ‘knowledge of long life’ (veda means knowledge).

From aiw-, we also get the Latin word aevum, also meaning ‘age’. Aevum is the root of the following words:


Primeva, medieval, coeval, longevity (long-aev-ity)

When we suffix aiw- with -ta-, we get aiwo-ta- which leads us to the Latin word aetus. It too means ‘age’ and gives us the word eternal.

If we now attach –en- behind aiw-, we get aiw-en. This leads us to the Greek word eon. Its earlier spellings, eon’, are even more closer to it IE mother root.




IE     gwei-         to live



Zindagi ek safar hai suhana…sang an ecstatic Rajesh Khanna, ecstatic because Hema Malini was sitting on his bike.The suhana safar of the Persian word zindagi started from this IE root (whose ‘g’ is pronounced as in ‘general’).

Let’s have some fun with this root.

Attach ­wo- to gwei-‘s tail, and you get gweiwo-. Complicated to pronounce? Well, the ancient Indians and Persians simplified this form to jivo-. Hence, the words jivan (and its simplified form jaan), jiva and jivika.

The Romans too simplified it, but instead of removing the middle ‘w’ like us, they cocked off the ‘g’ in the front. So, the Latin form of this root looked like vivo-. It is found in the following words:

Jivo vivo-1: vivid, vivacious, revive, survive

Jivo vivo-2: vivisection, convivial, viviparous

Jivo vivo-3: viable, viand, victual

Jivo vivo-4: vital, vitamin, revitalize, viper

In the early 20th century, Polish scientist Casimir Funk was trying to find out why the people who ate brown rice were less afflicted by the disease beri-beri than those who ate white rice. In 1912, he finally isolated the substance present in rice husk which protected people from beri-beri. He found that this substance was an amine—a derivative of ammonia—and so, called it, Vitamine, the vital amine. He postulated that there were more vitamines, whose deficiency caused diseases like rickets, scurvy and pellagra. He was right. More vitamines were discovered, and when the chemists determined their structure, they found that not all vitamines were amines. The name vitamine proved to be a misnomer now. So, they dropped the ‘e’ in the end.


This then was the story of those gwei- words which have ­–wo- as the suffix. Now, let us throw –wo- back into the box of suffixes and take out –o-. So, what do we get? gweio-. The Greeks used this root as gwio-. The Greeks and the Persians had the habit of converting the ‘j’ sound into ‘z’. So, the root became zwio- to them. Therefore, the Greek word for a living being was zoion. Notice how close zoion is to the Persian words zinda, which means alive and zindagi, life. Zoion is the root of the following words:

Zoology, zodiac, protozoan, azote

The Greeks also amputated the root zwio- and turned it into wio-. But they pronounced the ‘w’ as ‘b’. Hence the bio- we find in biology, biography and symbiosis.


Latin         anima       life, breath, mind


An animated movie is full, not of animals, but of characters that appear to be living. We can see that they are just drawings, but those drawings walk, run, cry, talk, laugh just like living beings. Animals too are from the same root though. The word ‘animal’ simply means ‘a living being’ (The Hindi word jaanwar too means ‘jaan waala, one who has life’). And, what do you call something that is not living? Inanimate.

When Kuku Koel and his wife, Kiki, came to live in the Sundar Jungle, all the animals immediately fell in love with his beautiful voice. His songs made them forget all their stress and sorrows, they said. In a few months, the annual ‘Sundar Number One’ contest came up, and everybody decided unanimously to give the title to Kuku.

When he and his wife returned after foraging for food the next evening, they found their eggs lying cracked on the ground. Being deeply religious cuckoos, they bore their loss with equanimity. “It was God’s will,” they sadly consoled each other. Such accidents happened sometimes.

But, it happened again, then again and then again. They were horrified at the realization that someone was doing it on purpose! But who? And why? Whose animosity had they earned?

They went to Billi Maasi for counsel. She was known for her astuteness and ran the highly successful ‘Billi Advisory Services’ which suggested solutions to all those woebegone animals who were unable to solve their problems themselves. Presently, she listened to Kiki’s woes, deeply lost in thought. “I do not know who bears animus to me, Maasi. Why is he doing it?” Kiki broke down once more.

“You should have come to me earlier, my child,” Billi said. “Perhaps we could have saved some of those eggs. Longanimity solves no problems, it only delays solutions. Ok now, dry your tears. I will tell you how to save your eggs. Lay them in another bird’s nest, the colour of whose eggs matches yours. But beware, that bird should not come to know. No one is so magnanimous that they will willingly feed another’s progeny in place of their own. No, you must do it by stealth. Spot a nest in which an egg similar to yours is already lying, evict that egg and lay yours in there.”

Kiki protested. “But that’s immoral! I will be doing to another what someone is doing to me!”

Billi smiled and said affectionately, “Then, I request you, young lady, to develop similar qualms about eating meat. After all, the insects and caterpillars that you eat too are somebody’s fathers, mothers or children, aren’t they?”

Both Kuku and Kiki still felt uncomfortable about Billi Maasi’s suggestion but they agreed to follow it.

In a few days, their chicks started hatching in the nests of crows, mynas and reed warblers, to the utter shock of the host parents. But, then they thought that the chicks were God’s present to them and so they cared for them with full devotion, brought them food and kept them secure till they fledged and flew away.


Meanwhile, Kiki and Kuku were troubled by the ugly gossip that floated around. The animals had started using the word cuckold for anybody whose wife was unfaithful to him. The insinuation of course was that Kiki was unfaithful to her husband. Kuku had become tired of explaining to everyone that just because his wife laid her eggs in others’ nests didn’t mean that she slept with them too. But of course, the innuendoes kept coming ceaselessly. The harried husband and wife then consoled themselves by saying that at least their chicks were still alive. What was a little loss of reputation in front of that colossal joy?

One day, Billi Maasi called them. “I have found out the egg-cracker,” she told them proudly. “I had had a hunch that day itself when you had told me, but I wanted to verify before telling you. Well, he is Rang Rangeela Mor.”

“Rang Rangeela!” Kiki gasped. “But why?”

“Envy, darling. These peacocks are egotistical creatures. They think too highly of themselves because of their beauty. And, the moment someone else gets praised, they become insecure. When the animals who had always been in awe of Rang Rangeela’s beauty, started showering encomiums on Kuku’s voice, he became extremely jealous. He realized that his own voice must appear to be raspy and grating in front of Kuku’s and could not bear that thought. How could he, the very paragon of beauty be lesser than someone in some department? Then, Kuku became ‘Sundar Number One’, a title that had been Rang Rangeela’s for the last seven years. He could take no more and, out of spite, started breaking your eggs.”

Kiki only cried.

“And, my child, the sad truth is that his children will continue to feel similarly threatened by your children and will resort to similar measures as him. In order to protect your species, you will have to instruct your daughters and daughters-in-law to lay their eggs elsewhere. That really is the only way. You may think of dragging Rang Rangeela to the court, but that will be futile. You know how cases in the Sundar Jungle court drag for ages. So, you cannot incarcerate him, and till he is free, he will keep harming you.”

Kuku bemoaned that the voice which he had always seen as a boon had proved to be a bane for him and his family. The cuckoos to this day lay their eggs in others’ nests.

IE     newo-      new


In 1898, two chemists—Sir William Ramsay and Morris Travers—were working on noble gases. Sir Ramsay had already discovered Argon about four years ago.

Now, they took a sample of air and liquefied it by extreme cooling. Then, they started heating this liquid air. The constituent gases started boiling off one by one and Ramsay and Travers kept capturing each one of them. Nitrogen was the first to go, then into Oxygen, and then, Argon. By now, 99.95% of the sample was gone. The conscientious chemists subjected the remaining 0.05% sample to spectroscopic analysis, lo and behold, it had unprecedented properties! They had discovered a new element! They named that gas Krypton.

A few days later, they did a spectroscopic analysis on the Argon fraction of air and discovered a new gas within it as well! They named this gas Novum (from L. novus, new), but then thought that the name should rhyme with Argon and Krypton and so changed it to its etymological cousin Neon (from Gk. neos, new).

Then, they did an even more thorough analysis of the Krypton fraction, and this time, they found a foreign element in what they had assumed was a pure Krypton sample. They named this element Xenon.

Within 42 days, the two chemists had discovered three elements! Sir Ramsay was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1904, and two years later, in 1906, Morris Travers was appointed as the founding director of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.

The following words are from newo- :

Newo-1: New, novel, novice

Newo-2: renovate, neophyte, neologism

I am sure you’ve already figured out the Hindi words from this family: naya, nava, naveen.


Latin         tempus    time, season


Can you guess why tempus means not only ‘time’, but also ‘season’? That is because, everywhere in the world, time is measured in terms of seasons.

The Latin tempus became temps in French, and then, tens. This is how English got its ‘tenses’—past, present and future—and the word contretemps.


The adjective temporal means ‘related to time’. But it also means ‘unrelated to God or religion, worldly, secular’ and you have to tell me why. Think!

The things that exist only for some time are ‘temporary’. Two people who exist in the same time period are ‘contemporaries’ (L. con-, together).


Tempo is the Italian word for time. When a rustic comes to the city for the first time, he stares open-mouthed at the tempo of city life. Even the tempo of urban music is so fast! Would he able to survive in such mad rush? Should he have left his village after all, he wonders?

When the organizers of ‘The Conference against Communalism’ spotted former IAS officer Feroze Adenwala in the audience, they requested him to give a speech. He had resigned from the IAS in protest when, instead of promptly quelling the communal riots in his home state, the bureaucrats and the state government had temporized, as a result of which, the riots had continued unabated for three days, killing 2,000 people. He now gave a passionate extempore speech exposing how the ruling party had connived in the riots.


Vivid: (adj) full of life, colour or detail.
Origin: L vivo-, to live. => ‘lifelike’

  • The old lady’s description of her childhood home was so vivid that we felt we were actually visiting it.

Vivacious: (adj) full of life and energy.
Origin: L vivo-, to live => ‘full of life’

  • Preety’s vivacity was the first thing you noticed about her. ‘Bubbly’ was the adjective most people used for her. Her enthusiasm for life just bubbled out of her. The vivacious girl was always found laughing, talking or running about. She breathed life into any party or group that she walked into.

Vivisection: (n) cutting up a living animal, especially for research.
Origin: L vivi-, ‘living’ + section, ‘a cutting’ => ‘a cutting of something living’

Convivial: (adj) festive, fond of feasting.
Origin: L con-, together + vivo-, to live => ‘to enjoy the life together’ => ‘to eat together, laugh, dance and make merry’

  • Rakesh was at a small dinner party at Mr Sharma’s—his colleague’s—house. Most other guests were Mr Sharma’s cronies from his previous jobs or college. He had never thought that Mr Sharma, who was always so formal and serious in college, could be so convivialHe cracked awesome jokes, told funny anecdotes, drank to the good health of his friends, never let anybody’s glass or plate be empty, and even sang a song in his croaking voice.

Viviparous: (adj) animals that give birth to their young ones.
Origin: L vivus, living + parere, ‘to bring forth’ => ‘those who bring their young ones forth alive’

  • Humans are viviparious. Birds are oviparous.

Oviparous: (adj) organisms are those that lay eggs.
Origin: L ovum, egg + parere, ‘to bring forth’ => ‘those who bring their young ones forth through eggs’
The root parere is also found in ‘parent’ and pauper. Our parents are the people who bring us forth, that is, into this world.
The root ovum is also found in the words oval and ovoid. Ovary is called so because it contains the eggs. Ovoid means egg-like shape.

Viable: (adj) capable of living; capable of growing.
Origin: L vita, life => F vie, life + -able => ‘able to live’

  • The human fetus becomes viable at seven months. So, even if it is taken out of the mother’s womb after the seventh month, it can survive.
  • In today’s world, it is not viable to support a middle-class family of four on a salary of ` 3,000.

Viand: (n) an item of food, a dish.
Origin: L vivenda, things necessary for living

  • There was a variety of viands at the five-star buffet. Devi, however, was nervous, this being her first visit to such a sophisticated hotel.

She filled her plate with the first viand that appeared familiar and returned to her table.

Victual: (n) food. When used in plural, as ‘victuals’, it means food supplies. (v) to provide with food; to eat food
Origin: L vivere, to live => victus, means of living => food

  • Toshi was aghast to know how much food was wasted at the wedding feast. “It could victual a hundred hungry men for a whole month,” she regretted.
  • The hungry boy rummaged through the kitchen to find at least some victuals.

Rummage: (v) to search thoroughly throughout the length, breadth and depth of something.
Vital: (adj) necessary for life; affecting life.
Origin: L vivere, life => L vita, life. The Latin word vita is a derivative of vivere.

  • It is vital to have Oxygen in the air. It is vital to control river pollution; else what will our progeny drink?
  • Freedom of speech is vital for a democracy.
  • The police inspector made the vital mistake of trusting his enemy. The enemy shot at him the minute he turned away. The gun wound on the inspector’s back proved vital. He died within two minutes.

Revitalize: (v) to give new life to
Origin: L re-, again + vita, life => ‘to give life again.’

  • Drinking a glass of glucose revitalizes a tired person.

Viper: (n) a poisonous snake.
Origin: L viviparous, viviparous => viviper => viper. The earlier people believed that viper was a snake that did not lay eggs. Hence, its name.

Afflict: (v) To inflict pain or suffering upon. Noun: affliction, meaning ‘the pain or suffering which is inflicted upon a person.’

  • Beri-beri is an affliction. Every disease can be called an affliction. Poverty too is an affliction.

Zoology: (n) study of animals.
Origin: L zoo-, animal + -ology, study

Zodiac: (n) a band of the sky which represents the path of the sun, the moon and the main planets. Astrologers divide this band into twelve
segments, each 30 degrees wide (12*30°= 360°). These twelve segments are called the signs of zodiac.
Origin: Gk zoion, animal => zodiaion, little animal + kyklos, circle => ‘circle of litte animals’

Protozoan: (n) a group of single-celled organisms which have a nucleus and show some characteristics of animals like the ability to move and
eat more than one type of food.
Origin: Gk proto-, first + zoion, animal => ‘the first animals.’ This name is actually a misnomer because they are not animals, only have some
animal-like features.
The Gk root proto- is a cousin of the Sanskrit word pratham. Both mean first.

Azote: (n) the earlier name for nitrogen. Antoine Lavoisier was the man who discovered oxygen. He proved that air is made of two
components—‘vital air’ and azote. The vital component was of course oxygen.
Origin: Gk a-, not + zo-, life => ‘lifeless’. So, Lavoisier used the word Azote for that component of air which was not necessary for breathing.

Amputate: (v) to cut off hands or legs. A person whose limbs have been amputated is called an amputee.

  • The doctors had to amputate the leg of the bomb blast victim.
  • In the movie Sholay, Gabbar Singh amputated the Thakur.
  • Lakhs of amputees have been able to walk again with the Jaipur Foot, a rubber based prosthetic leg for people with below-knee amputations.

Four other words have a similar idea of disabling a person: mayhem, maim, mutilate and impair.

Mayhem: (n) the act of intentionally inflicting violent injury upon someone.

  • The terrorists created mayhem in the city with a bomb explosion.
  • Mayhem resulted when the protestors started pelting stones at the policemen who were trying to control them. The police answered with gunshots, first in the air and then at the crowd. The crowd dispersed quickly. One protestor was killed in the incident, three were injured and two constables were injured by the stones the crowd had hurled at them previously.

Maim: (v) to cripple.
Origin: derived from mayhem.

  • Gabbar Singh maimed the Thakur.
  • More than 20 people were killed by the car bomb that exploded in the crowded market and 53 were maimed.

Symbiosis: (n) living together of two organisms of different species for mutual or one-sided benefit.
Origin: Gk sym-, together + bio-, life => ‘living together’

  • The honeyguide bird and the honey badger both love honey. But they can’t get it by themselves. The bird can find beehives but is unable to open them. The badger can open beehives but is unable to find them. So, they become partners. The bird flies all over, locating the hives. Whenever it finds one, it makes codeword noises. The badger understands and comes there. It then tears apart the hive with its sharp claws. Thus, living together is good for both.

Badger: (n) a small carnivorous animal with short legs, long claws and thick fur, which lives in burrows.
Burrow: (n) a hole in the ground dug by a small animal for living.

Animated: (adj) full of life, full of energy.
Origin: L anima, life

  • People said that the poet had gone mad because these days, he cried just like that and then, all of a sudden, started laughing loudly and had animated conversation with himself all day long, no matter where he was.
  • After coming home from a long trip, Prem’s father wanted to see him, and so, here he was, sitting before his father like a prisoner for the past half-an-hour. The little boy was getting bored, his father was no fun at all, and they had nothing to talk about! When his grandmother came to take him to his bed, Prem became animated, wished a cheerful ‘good night’ to his father and without even waiting for the reply, ran towards her and almost pulled her out of the room. His father noticed his sudden animation and felt sad to think that his son didn’t like sitting with him.

Inanimate: (adj.) lifeless
Origin: L in-, not + animate

  • A log of wood is inanimate while a tree is animate.

Unanimously: (adv) with one mind. The adjective form of the word is unanimous, and the noun form is unanimity.
Origin: L uni-, one + animus, mind => ‘one mind’ => ‘everyone has the same thought’

  • There was unanimity in the animals about giving the title to Kuku.
  • The animals were unanimous about giving the title to Kuku.

Equanimity: (n) ability to stay calm even in tough situations.
Origin: L aequus, equal + animus, mind => ‘the two sides of the mind stay equal’ => ‘a balanced mind’

  • During the job interview, two of the three interviewers deliberately talked rudely to the candidate and made fun of him because they wanted to see whether the candidate would lose his cool or maintain his equanimity.

Animosity: (n) hatred that expresses itself in actions.
Origin: L animus, spirit => ‘spirited’ => ‘active, passionate’ => ‘active hatred’

  • On the surface, it seemed that Rudra really loved his elder brother Sudhir. However, inside, Rudra harboured deep animosity against him because he believed that his parents loved Sudhir more. Once, he hid Sudhir’s maths notebook in his father’s study two days before Sudhir’s maths test. Sudhir ransacked his room and then the whole house to find it, and was worried to death. He got poor marks in that test. A week after that, Rudra quietly left the notebook behind the shoe rack in Sudhir’s room. Sudhir discovered it a few days later and blamed himself for not having looked there before. Rudra kept doing such small-scale acts of hatred against Sudhir but neither Sudhir nor their parents ever realized this.

Astute: (adj) very clever. (n): astuteness

  • The people were enthusiastically supporting the Lok Rajya party. Even the most astute members of its rival party could not figure out how to defeat the Lok Rajya party in the elections.

Woebegone: (adj) troubled by problems.
Origin: woe+ be+ go => ‘the one to whom all woes come.’
Woe: (n) misery; something that gives lots of trouble.

  • Comedy films or novels help us forget our woes for some time.
  • An unemployed, alcoholic husband and two children who refused to study were the main woes of Savitri but not her only ones. She also had to struggle with niggling sisters-in-law and an exacting boss at work. Life, to sum up, was very tough for her.

Animus: (n) feeling of hatred or ill will.
Origin: L animus, mind => ‘temper’ => ‘feeling of anger or dislike’

Longanimity: (n) bearing all troubles calmly.
Origin: L longus, long + animus => ‘mind that can bear sufferings for long’

Magnanimous: (adj) big-hearted.
Origin: L magnus, great + animus, mind, soul => ‘having a great soul or having a great mind.’

  • The rich man gave the old age home a cheque of ` 20 lakh. The manager of the home thanked him profusely for his magnanimity.

Stealth: (n) moving secretly so that no one can notice.
Origin: Eng steal => ‘to move like a thief going to steal.’

Immoral: (adj) morally wrong as per the society’s accepted moral code.
Origin: im-, not + moral.
There is another word that people sometimes confuse immoral with—amoral.

Amoral: (adj) that to which judgments of morality or immorality do not apply.
Qualms: (n) uneasiness that one feels because his inner voice tells him that he is not doing the right thing.

  • He lied to his mother without any qualms.
  • The man had no qualms in having an affair with his best friend’s wife.

Hatch: (v) to come out of the egg; to cause an egg to produce the young one by sitting over the egg and warming it.

Warble: (v) to sing like a bird.

  • The flute warbled.
  • The cuckoo warbled throughout the evening.
  • The singer warbled one sad song after another.

Fledge: (v) to grow feathers.
Origin: related with ‘fly’ => ‘to become capable of flying.’
Two related words are: fledgling and unfledged.
Fledgling: (adj) a bird that has just grown feathers and is now learning to fly; someone who is new and inexperienced.

  • Within eight months of its independence, the fledgling country was attacked by its powerful neighbour.

Unfledged: (adj) a bird that has not grown feathers yet and, so, is incapable of flying; someone who is totally inexperienced.

  • The newspaper review of the first painting exhibition of a painter read: “This painter is clearly unfledged. He needs to spend a lot of time improving his skill before putting together his next exhibition.”

Cuckold: (n) the husband of an unfaithful wife.
Origin: Fr. cucu, cuckoo => ‘a male cuckoo whose wife leaves her eggs in others’ nests.’
The name cucu is onamatopoeic. This bird is named after the sound it makes. And this is so not just in French and English—the Latin name
for the word is cuculus, the Greek name is kokkyx and the Sanskrit, kokil.

Insinuation: (n) something said indirectly. (v) :insinuate: to say or do indirectly

  • The gossipy aunties in the neighbourhood did not dare to say anything directly but they insinuated that Shukla ji of 221-B and Reema Sinha of 227-A were having an affair. Their following words could have no other meaning: “These days both Shukla ji and Reema have suddenly become very health conscious. They leave their houses within minutes of each other every morning but curiously, neither reaches the park. God knows which park they go to. Mrs Shukla was talking to me the other evening and she wondered why her husband’s weight was not reducing when he spent two hours in the park each morning. I thought within my heart, ‘Yes baby, I wonder about that too.’ Poor Mrs Shukla, she is so ingenuous. A man like Shukla can cheat on her very easily.”

Innuendo: (n) an insinuation.
Origin: L in-, towards + nuere, to nod => ‘to nod towards someone’ => ‘to point at someone’ => ‘indirect suggestion’

Harried: (adj) harassed, troubled by repeated attacks. (v) harry: ‘to harass, trouble by repeated attacks’.

  • The State Electricity Board harried the residents by cutting off the power supply daily for six hours, that too during the hottest hours.

Colossal: (adj) huge.
Origin: Gk kolossus, statue => ‘The Colossus of Rhodes’ => ‘something as huge as the Colossus of Rhodes.’
Hunch: (n) an idea, a guess.

  • The young pilot, who was killed in an air crash, seemed to have had a hunch about his impending death. Just one day before his fateful flight, he had posted a letter to his home—something he never did—in which he had written: ‘All my life I kept postponing important things, thinking there was enough time to do them later. But I’ve realized that life is capricious. I may die tomorrow! So, Baba, Aai, Amma, Bhai, I want you all to know that you mean a lot to me. Perhaps I do not show it, and perhaps I’ll never say it, but I live for you. Baba, Aai, I fought with you the last time I was home but I really love you. You are both…” and so he continued. The letter reached his home five days after his death. His brother, who took the letter from the postman, gasped when he recognized the handwriting.

Gasp: (v) to take in breath suddenly, out of shock; to speak when speaking is such an effort that one needs to catch his breath after every word;
to struggle for breath.

  • The dying woman gasped out to the policemen the description of the man who had attacked her and what had happened before the attack.
  • The asthmatic man gasped for breath. He fumbled through all the drawers but could not find his inhaler.

Fumble: (v) to feel with hands clumsily
qqThe girl fumbled her way through the dark corridor.

Awe: (n) a feeling of respectful wonder at the greatness or beauty of something; (adj) Awesome: ‘something that inspires awe and makes you
say “wow!”’

Encomium: (n) great praise; (adj) encomiastic: ‘showering great praise.’

  • The newspapers, the television channels and the general public lauded the captain of the Indian cricket team in the most encomiastic terms after the team won the fifth consecutive international series. “The greatest captain ever,” “a modern Chanakya” and “the pride of the nation” were some of the encomiums they heaped on him.
  • Walt Whitman’s ‘Song of Myself ’ is an encomium to selfishness. Its first line is: ‘I celebrate myself, and sing myself.’

Raspy: (adj) harsh, grating.
Grating: (adj) irritating; so annoying that it seems as if someone is scraping your nerves or ears with sandpaper.
We also grate carrots to make gajar ka halwa. That means, we rub the carrots against a steel surface with many sharp protruding holes to get
fine slices of them.

Paragon: (n) the perfect example.
Spite: (n) strong ill will, a strong desire to do harm to a particular person.

  • When Kiran refused Rahul’s proposal, he started maligning her out of spite.

Futile: (adj) useless

Incarcerate: (v) to put into jail.
Origin: L. in-, in + carcer, prison => ‘to put into prison’

Boon: (n) blessing; something that is prayed for.
Origin: Old Eng ben, prayer

Bane: (n) something that brings death or destruction.

  • The school students were asked to write an essay on: Internet—A boon or a bane?

Krypton: Origin: Gk kryptein, to hide. Ramsay and Travers named this gas Krypton because it remained hidden and did not reveal itself until
detailed analysis of air was done.

Xenon: Origin: Gk xenos, strange.
Another word from the root xenos is xenophobia.
Xenophobia: (n) fear or hatred of strangers. A person who shows xenophobia is called a xenophobe.
Origin: Gk xenos, strange + phobia, fear

Novel: (n) new. Something new is called a novelty or an innovation.
Origin: L in-, in + novus, new => ‘something new brought into being’

  • Most Hindi films have the same old predictable plots. Movies with novel storylines are rare.
  • The directors of Hindi movies prefer tried and tested formulas rather than risk novelty.

Novice: (n) a beginner, new to something.
Origin: L novus, new.

  • The young parents were novices in bringing up children. They made many mistakes with their first child.

Tyro is another word that conveys the same idea.
Tyro: (n) a beginner.
Renovate: (v) to make new again.
Origin: L re-, again + novus, new => ‘renew’

  • The Sharmas renovated their 20-year-old flat.

Neophyte: (n) a beginner.
Origin: Gk neos, new+ phyton, plant => ‘newly planted’ => ‘just begun to develop’

  • I’m a total neophyte at literature,” the young man smiled at the attractive girl in the library to whom he had been just introduced by a common friend. “But I am trying to cultivate a taste. Will you please guide me how to start?”

Neologism: (n) a new word.
Origin: Gk neos, new + logos, word

  • ‘Saifeena’ and ‘Brangelina’ are neologisms coined by the media to refer to the celebrity couples of Saif Ali Khan-Kareena Kapoor and Brad Pitt-Angelina Jolie, respectively.
  • Vitamine was a neologism coined by the British scientist Casimir Funk. The word slowly entered common English as ‘vitamin.’

Contretemps: (n) an unlucky accident that causes embarrassment.
Origin: Fr contre-, contrary + temps, time => ‘opposite times’ => ‘bad times’

  • Rihaana slipped out of the party to the terrace where Kabir was waiting for her. The terrace was dark. She could only see Kabir’s silhouette in the distance. “Smart boy,” she thought, “made sure that no one can see us.” She went to him and without saying anythingkissed him. He kissed her back. “Love in the dark, huh?” She teased him. Suddenly the arms holding her loosened. “What happened?” Rihaana asked. He lit up his cigarette lighter. By the dim light, both realized the contretemps. The man was not Kabir but Rihaana’s boss Atul Nagpal. Atul had also arranged to meet his girlfriend on the terrace.

Silhouette: (n) outline

Temporal: (adj) worldly

  • Man often forgets that he will die one day and leave all his temporal possessions behind.
  • The kingdom was ruled by a dual monarchy consisting of a Dharam Raja—the spiritual leader, and a Lok Raja—the temporal leader.
  • The priest refused to allow Dalits into the temple. He did not relent even when the police intervened. When an officer told him that he had to let Dalits in because the country’s law mandated equal rights for everyone, the priest became furious and said: “Apply your temporal laws to temporal matters. Don’t you dare to meddle in religious matters! No temporal court can decree what should or should not be done in a temple of God.”

Secular: (adj) worldy, not religious.

  • India is a secular state. It has no state religion.
  • Diwali, Christmas, Id and Gurpurab are religious festivals while Independence Day, Baisakhi, Makr Sankranti, Raksha Bandhan, etc. are secular festivals.

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