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I had asked you why the word temporal also meant ‘not related to God.’ The answer is that the concept of time exists only for us mortals. God is said to be akaal or kaal-rahit, that is, eternal, beyond time.


Greek       chronos    time


I was in class nine that year. My summer holidays were going on and on and on and I was jaded with too much free time. Mama noticed my ennui. “Why don’t you create a family chronicle?” she suggested. I jumped up at the idea. Wow! Yes, I would do that! It sounded so cool to be called ‘The Family Chronicler’!

I immediately started interviewing my family members about their life histories. They were all amused by the idea but they cooperated. As I listened to them, I was surprised that I had known so little about my loved ones!

Each evening, I would consolidate all the quick notes that I had jotted down during my interviews into a register. But I soon encountered a problem. My interviewees’ memory made temporal jumps as they recounted their stories and because I wrote exactly as they spoke, my notes started seeming haphazard. For example, while Biji (my grandmother) was telling me about my papa’s boyhood, she suddenly remembered an anecdote about my brother’s childhood and started telling me that, and then, she told me that her elder brother too had done something similar. After finishing that tale, she came back to my papa’s boyhood only to digress again soon after. I realized that I would have to rewrite my notes in a chronological order when I was finished with the interviews, to make a coherent story. I felt that I was no longer creating a mere roster of dates and events but writing a novel based on my family! This inspired me to delve deeper into my family’s history.

One day, Biji showed me Baba ji’s (my grandfather’s) documents. Among them were old sepia photographs of Baba ji and Biji. I raved about the pulchritude of the young Biji till she laughingly told me to shut up and drew my attention instead to a bundle of folded yellow pages wrapped in transparent polythene. I took one out and opened it. It was an Urdu letter.

“Noora’s letters,” she smiled.

Noor Mohammad was Baba ji’s crony. They had grown up together in abutting houses in a small village in Lailpur district of Punjab. Then, when Baba ji and Noora were 22, came 1947. India got divided, Lailpur fell into Pakistan and my paternal family had to relocate to the Eastern (the Indian) Punjab. But Baba ji never lost touch with Noor Mohammad.

I already knew this much. Now, Biji told me more.

“Noora and your Baba ji were born within a month of each other,” Biji said. “Your Baba ji used to tell me that they were so alike, in looks and habits, that strangers often mistook them for twins! Then, after the Partition, the very day on which your Baba ji wrote him a letter saying that our wedding had been fixed, he received Noora’s letter giving him the same news!”

“What a coincidence!” I exclaimed.

Biji laughed. “There were more. When we sent him the news of your papa’s birth, guess what came soon after? The news of his son’s birth! Then, a few years later, your chacha ji (paternal uncle) arrived within a month of Noora’s younger son. These coincidences really convinced the two cronies that their lives were synchronized, that whatever happened to one would simultaneously happen to the other too.”

Wow! I looked at the letter wistfully. “Baba ji,” I thought, “I did not even know all this!” The sight of Urdu (which he had taught me four summers ago), the letters of Noora, the story Biji was telling—they all made me feel a proximity to Baba ji. I felt that he was still with me, that he was sitting with us right then. I read the letter. It was full of nostalgia for the past, for the days of Noora’s and my Baba ji’s boyhood, for the propinquity there had been between their homes and their families and their selves. Noora had written that among the few regrets of his life was not being able to meet Baba ji again. The only contemporary thing he had written about was the frustration he felt at his chronic diabetes, which over the years had wrecked his eyes, his heart, his nerves, his kidneys…Then, he had joked about seeing who would hold on longer—he or my Baba ji.

At the end of the letter was the date: 10th August, 1998. I started. Baba ji had died in December 1997! I showed the anachronism to Biji.

“Oh this…I had written a letter to Noora telling him about your Baba ji’s death. His grandson read that letter first. Noora’s eyes had become incapable, so the boy used to read out his letters to him, and write down the replies Noora dictated. I got a letter from Noora’s elder son, in which he grieved over your Baba ji’s death and requested me to keep sending the letters on your Baba ji’s behalf. He said that Noora would lose his will to live if he came to know of your Baba ji’s death. He was fighting his disease only because he believed that, since your Baba ji was still alive, his time had not come yet.”

“So Biji, you continued writing the letters?”


“Is he still alive?”

“No. He died in December 1998. In this final milestone of their lives, the years got mismatched a bit, but the two friends did keep the months in tune.”


Latin         annus       year


The ‘Annual’ Function of a school is a yearly affair, as is an ‘anniversary’, of birth or death or marriage. The other annus words are:

Annus-1: Biennial, millennium, quinquennium, vicennial

Annus-2: annals, annuity, perennial, superannuate


Latin         mutare     to change



The words from this very easy root are:

mutate, transmute, commute

Mutare-2: permutation, mutual


IE     sen-  old


The Sanskrit word sanaatan, which means ‘ancient, time-honoured, eternal’, is from this root.

One who is ‘senior’ to you is older and more experienced than you, and the ‘senior citizens’ are the old people of a country. The root of senior is the Latin word senex, meaning ‘old.’


Spanish and Italian are Romance languages. This means that they are derived from the ancient Roman tongue, Latin. Hence, they abound in words derived from Latin roots. Of course, English too abounds in such words, but it is based on German. The languages derived from ancient German are called the Teutonic languages, and English is one of them.

The Spaniards politely address all men as Senor. It is derived from ‘senior’ and is an equivalent of ‘Sir’ or ‘Mr’ Many people go “Aha!” upon hearing Senor and break into this dialogue in proper Shahrukh style:

Bade bade shehron mein chhoti chhoti baatein hoti rehti hain, s-s-s-s-senorita’

The word Senorita, that Raj insists upon using for Simran in the movie Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayeinge, is the female counterpart of Senor. It is used for an unmarried girl. A married woman is addressed as Senora.


The Italian words of address too are derived from the root sen-. The Italians use Signor for a man, Signorina for an unmarried woman and Signora for a married one.

The other words begotten by sen- are:

Senex is old-1: Senectitude, senescence, senile

Senex is old-2: senate, sire, surly


Greek       geras                old age


This root is found in the words progeria, geriatrics and gerontocracy.


IE     nek-         death



The Hindi words naash and nasht are from this root. Naash means death or destruction. Nasht means completely destroyed.

Similarly, the Latin nex means death. That is why a disease or a virus that does poora naash is called pernicious. And, a battle in which the two parties kill each other off is called antar-naashak in Hindi and internecine in English.

The Greek word nekros means ‘corpse’ and is the source of necrosis and necromancy.

Both Indian and Greek mythologies say that the drink of gods conferred  immortality upon anybody who drank it. We call it amrit. The Greeks called it ‘nectar’. The word nectar is formed by combining the roots nek- and ter-. The IE root ter- means ‘to cross over, overcome’. So, the nectar ostensibly helped people overcome death.

Note: The Latin prefix trans- is derived from ter-. Ter- is also found in the Sanskrit words taaran, ‘a crossing over, passing’, tairaaki and avataar (crossing over from heaven to earth).


Temper: (v) to moderate.
Origin: L temperare, to proportion duly => ‘to remove the excess’ => ‘to moderate’

  • Regret for what we did will be tempered by time. It is regret for what we didn’t do that will keep torturing us.

Temperate: (adj) moderate
Origin: L temperare, to moderate

  • The Temperate Zone is that zone of the earth which is neither too hot (torrid) nor too cold (frigid).
  • The Speaker of the Lok Sabha asked the angry Member of Parliament to be temperate in his speech. “Such angry, loud-mouthed outbursts may work in the street quarrels of a village but they ill-behoove a member of the Indian Parliament.”

The opposite of temperate is intemperate.

  • A drunkard is a man who drinks alcohol intemperately.
  • Intemperate eating of one’s favorite foods will make one fat.

Temperance: (n) moderation, self-control. The lack of self-control is called intemperance.
Origin: Ltemperare, to moderate

  • Ram and Shyam were twins who got separated soon after birth. Ram was adopted by a rich childless couple and grew up into a spoilt, intemperate young man. He gambled and drank away all the wealth of his foster father. Shyam was raised by a poor labourer and amassed great wealth by following the three good habits of ‘economy, temperance and industry’ which his foster father had taught him.

Industry: (n) dedicated hard work; (adj) industrious.

  • Shyam, who worked day and night to achieve success, was industrious.

Temperament: (n) the nature of a person.
Origin: L temperare, to proportion duly => ‘to make a mixture of different behavourial tendencies deciding what amount of anger/calmmess,
cheerfulness/gloominess, optimism/pessimism, enthusiasm/unexcitability etc. should be put in for a particular person’ => ‘the unique mixture
of these tendencies that defines a particular person’.

  • In the movie ‘Seeta aur Geeta’, the eponymous twins looked alike but were remarkably different in temperament. While Seeta became easily afraid and followed everybody’s orders, Geeta was self-confident and took no nonsense from anyone.

Tempest: (n) storm

  • The room was very still. Nobody talked to anybody. Nobody looked up. It seemed like the quiet before a tempest.
  • “Love is an ever-fixed mark that looks on tempests and is never shaken.” Shakespeare
  • A relationship that is frequently under storms is a tempestuous relationship

Jaded: (adj) tired due to overwork or overindulgence.

  • The tennis player was jaded after playing three international tournaments in quick succession.
  • Shifa was crazy about ice cream. But one summer, she ate so much ice cream that she became jaded. Now, even the sight of ice creamnmade her want to vomit.

Chronicle: (v) to make a written record of a time period; (n) the written record of a time period
Origin: Gk chronos, time => ‘story of a particular time’

  • Akbar’s court historian, Abul Fazal, chronicled his reign in the books Akbarnama and Ain-i-akbari.
  • Abul Fazal’s books Akbarnama and Ain-i-Akbari are chronicles of Akbar’s reign.

Consolidate: (v) merge into a whole; make solid and strong.
Origin: L com- + solidus, solid => ‘to make solid.’

  • The hero consolidated his position as Number 1 in Bollywood by giving four successive blockbusters in one year.

Jot: (v) to write a quick note; (n) the least bit.
Origin: Gk iota, the ninth and the smallest letter of the Greek alphabet (just like i is the smallest letter in the English alphabet) => very small amount

  • I do not care a jot about what anyone says.

Haphazard: (adj) random, not in any order.
Origin: Eng hap, chance + hazard, risk => ‘a matter of chance, involving a risk’ => ‘random’

Anecdote: (n) a short story of something interesting that happened

Chronological: (adj) ordered according to the time of occurrence.
Origin: Gk chronos + -ology, study => ‘studying the time of occurrence of events’ => ‘arranging events according to their time of occurrence.’

Coherent: (adj) logically connected; sticking together. Opposite: incoherent.
Origin: L co-, together + haerere, to cling => ‘the things that cling together’
Cohere: (v) to stick together; (n) cohesion.

  • The various reasons that he gave for not accepting the job did not cohere. This means that those reasons did not stick together. They were not logically connected.
  • Another way of saying the same thing: His explanation for not accepting the job was incoherent.
  • Hate speeches made by political leaders against people of other religions damages the cohesion among the different religions of India.

The other word from the root haerere is ‘adhere.’

Adhere: (v) to cling to; (n) adhesion
Origin: L ad-, to + haerere.

  • The university adhered to its admission policy and refused to give in to the students’ demands to change it.
  • Something that clings to another is called an adhesive. Fevicol is an adhesive. An adhesive bandage is that which sticks to the body.

Roster: (n) list

  • Many countries demanded that Cricket be included to the roster of Olympic sports.

Delve: (v) to go deep into.
Sepia: (n) brown colour.

Rave: (v) to talk with wild enthusiasm; to talk wildly like a mad man.

  • Everybody who watched the movie ‘Avatarraved about it. It got compliments like “the most awesome movie ever,” “the movie that will redefine filmmaking,” “breathtaking 3-D effects”, etc.
  • Deepu’s father, mother and elder brother scolded him when he came home after midnight, that too drunk. Infuriated by their criticism,

Deepu did not realize what he went on saying. “You people have destroyed my life,” he raved. “Drinking my blood all day, not letting me do a single thing I want, you call this home? It’s a jail. A jail, do you hear me? You all have made my life living hell. Bah! You call this life? It’s better that I go somewhere and drown myself. Yeah, that is what I should do. Right. The best solution to all your problems and mine. Let’s just end this daily drama forever. You too will live happily after becoming free of a pest like me, won’t you? A pest is what I am, right? Am I not mother dear? And you, my dear elder brother, Lord Ram personified, you too will be relieved, won’t you? You will not have to support your wastrel, good-for-nothing brother any more…you will not be embarrassed by this useless brother of yours who could not even get one job…yes, everyone will be happy that way. I know you will be. I should make everyone happy, shouldn’t I?

I can do at least that for all of you, my loved ones. Haha, my LOVED ONES! What a…” “Shut up!” Deepu’s father interrupted. “Haven’t you ranted enough already? Go to your room and sleep. We will talk when you are in your senses. Go!”

Wastrel: (n) a person who wastes his time roaming uselessly and doing nothing—a loafer, a person who wastes money.
Rant: (v) to talk wildly like a mad man.

Pulchritude: (n) physical beauty.
qqIn the song ‘Kya khoob lagti ho, badi sundar dikhti ho,the hero praises the heroine’s pulchritude.

Crony: (n) a long time friend.
Origin: Gk chronos, time

  • Before elections, politicians promise to serve the people. After getting elected, they serve their relatives and cronies.

Abut: (v) to share a border with.

  • Two houses that abut each other share a wall. A house that abuts on a road shares a border with the road, that is, the boundary wall of that house lies on the road.

Synchronize: (v) to cause to happen at the same time.
Origin: Gk syn-, together + chronos, time => ‘to time together.’
Two things that occur at the same time always are said to be synchronous (adj form) or in synchronization (noun form).

  • The movement of hands and legs of all the soldiers in the march past was perfectly synchronous.

Wistful: (adj) sadly longing for something, ‘sadly’ because one is aware that what one is wishing for is difficult to have.

  • Twenty nine-year-old Rhea was flipping channels on the TV when she caught a glimpse of ‘The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.’ She couldn’t believe her eyes. Yes, it was indeed the Granada series that she used to love so much in her childhood! “Oh wow!” She laughed, no, she was delirious with joy. “Jeremy Brett!” There he was in front of her again—her first love! “Oh wow!” She just couldn’t believe her good luck. She watched the whole episode without flapping her eyelids once. When it ended, she missed her childhood. “If only those days could come back,” she thought wistfully. “Those evenings, that funny black and white TV, how we brothers and sisters used to lie down on the carpet to watch Jeremy, with Papa sitting on the sofa behind us, explaining what we didn’t understand…oh Papa, how I miss you! How I miss being that innocent little girl!” Feeling terribly nostalgic, Rhea picked up her phone and called home.

Proximity: (n) nearness
Origin: L proximates, near.

  • A person’s acceptance of behaviour that flouts social rules is inversely proportional to his proximity to the flouter. If he is told that so-and-so in his organization is a drug-addict, he will probably simply shrug off the news saying: “So what? Half the world is into drugs these days. It’s no big deal.” If his best friend becomes a drug addict, he will be disturbed and will try to instill good sense into him. But if his wife gets addicted, he will be worried to death—for her future and his—and will not be able to breathe easily till he has admitted her to a de-addiction centre and she is cured completely.

The word ‘approximate’ too is from the same root. It means ‘nearby, close.’

  • Approximate chairs are those that lie close to each other.
  • When someone says that he bought his house for ` 1 crore approximately, he is saying that he paid ‘close to ` 1 crore’ for it. The exact figure that he paid was ` 99, 45,000.

Nostalgia: (n) a sentimental longing for a place, time or people left behind.
Origin: Gk nostos, a return home + algos, pain => ‘feeling pain to return home’ => ‘homesickness’
A pain killer is called an analgesic.
Origin: Gk an-, no + algos, pain => ‘condition of no pain’

Propinquity: (n) nearness
Origin: L prope, near. The words approach and reproach too are from the same root.

  • Propinquity is what keeps the neighbourhood kiryana shop and vegetable vendors in business even in the age of modish retail stores.

The malls and the retail stores may be big and air-conditioned and glamorous but the kiryana shop is much closer to home and so, easier to go to.

Chronic: (adj) long-lasting
Origin: Gk chronos.

  • Diseases that come, trouble you for some time and go are called acute diseases. But the diseases that come to stay are called chronic diseases. For example, diabetes, heart diseases, etc.

A chronic smoker is one who has had the smoking habit for a long, long time.

  • Start: (v) to make a little movement of the body suddenly out of shock at what has just seen or heard
  • Anachronism: (n) something that is shown to exist in a time period to which it actually does not belong.

Origin: Gk ana-, against + chronos => ‘against the correct time period’ => ‘referring to wrong time period’

  • Anachronisms are usually found in historical novels or movies because the writer or the director got his facts wrong or did not pay adequate attention to detail. For example, in the movie Titanic, Jack (the hero, played by Leonardo di Caprio) says that he went fishing on Lake Wissota in Wisconsin. This is an anachronism because Lake Wissota, a man-made lake, was created five years after the Titanic sank and Jack died

Biennial: (adj) happening after every two years, lasting two years.
Origin: L bi-, two + annus

A biennial event and a biennial survey are done once every two years. But biennial plants are those that last two years. Carrot is a biennial plant.
Biennial is often confused with biannual. Biannual events are those that happen two times in one year. It has the same etymology as biennial.

Millennium: (n) a period of 1,000 years.
Origin: L mille, thousand + annus
Many Christians believe that the world will end one day, and that before that end, Jesus Christ will rule the earth for a 1,000 years. This
will be a period of happiness and justice for all. They call this period ‘the millennium.’
From this specific Christian context, the word ‘millennium’ has generalized to mean any hoped-for future period in which all will be
happy and no one will suffer any pain or injustice.

uinquennium: (n) a five-year period.
Origin: L quinque-, five + annus.
The Latin quinque is from the IE root penqwe, which means ‘five’. The other derivatives of penqwe are the Sanskrit pancha and the Greek pente.

Vicennial: (adj) happening after every 20 years, lasting 20 years.
Origin: L viceni, twenty each. This Latin word is a cousin of the Hindi bees, twenty.
A related word is vicenary. It means ‘related with twenty.’

Annals: (n) a record of the years, history. Just like the words ‘maths’, ‘trousers’ and ‘spectacles’, ‘annals’ too looks plural but is actually singular.
Origin: L annalis, yearly

  • In the annals of Test cricket, the match between West Indies and Australia in December 1960 is recorded as the only one ever in which all 40 wickets fell with the scores exactly equal.
  • The song ‘Pyaar hua iqraar hua’ is counted amongst the finest in the annals of Hindi film songs.

Annuity: (n) a yearly payment that is made to a person for a definite number of years or for his whole life, usually because he has made an investment that entitles him to such yearly payments. He can also arrange to get this money at intervals other than one year, for example, every three months.
Origin: L annus => ‘yearly payment.’

Perennial: (adj) lasting throughout the year; staying forever.
Origin: L per-, through + annus => ‘lasting throughout the year’=> ‘(of plants) evergreen’ => staying forever

  • Perennial rivers are those that keep flowing all through the year; they do not dry up in the summers.
  • Perennial plants are those that have a lifespan of more than three years.

Superannuate: (v) to retire because of old age.
Origin: L super annum => ‘above a year in age (used for cattle)’ => ‘too old to work’

  • The lecturer was due to superannuate on March 31, 2014. She, however, took voluntary retirement in 2009.
  • When Shesh Lal superannuated five years ago, he diverted a chunk of his retirement benefits to a fixed deposit so that he had enough money for his daughter’s wedding, which was likely to happen around five years later.

Mutate: (v) to change.
Origin: L mutare

  • An ordinary teenager Peter Parker became the Spiderman due to a genetic mutation. This mutation was brought about by the bite of a radioactive spider and endowed him with preternatural strength and many spider-like qualities like creating webs, clinging to walls and super alertness to danger.

Transmute: (v) transform
Origin: L trans-, across + mutare => ‘to change across forms’ => ‘to change from one form to another’

  • Everything touched by King Midas transmuted into gold.
  • The Metamorphosis is a story by Franz Kafka in which the central character goes to sleep one night and finds the next morning that he has transmuted into a huge insect!

Commute: (v) to travel, to change.
Origin: L com- + utare => ‘to change (condition, position etc.) => ‘to travel (because when you move from one place to another)’

  • How do you commute to your college?
  • The Delhi Metro is a boon for the commuters who earlier had to travel in overcrowded buses or pocket-emptying autorickshaws and had to sweat in traffic jams for hours.
  • Dostoevsky, the Russian writer, was getting ready to die. The firing squad of the Russian army was getting ready to shoot him. Just then, he was informed that his death sentence had been commuted to four years of hard labour in a prison of Siberia.

Permutation: (n) a change in the order of constituent elements; the arrangement resulting from such change.
Origin: L per-, thorough + mutare => ‘to change thoroughly’

  • The following six permutations are possible for a set of three alphabets- (e, h, t): eht, eth, hte, het, the, teh

Mutual: (adj) reciprocal; common.
Origin: L mutare => ‘involving exchange’ => ‘reciprocal’=> ‘both parties have it’ => ‘shared, common’

  • It was very difficult, Ravi was very nervous but finally he said it—he told Mita that he loved her. She smiled and said, “So, the feeling is mutual. I thought it was just me.” Now that was news for Ravi. “You love me too? Since when?” He had never guessed that! “Since we first met,” Mita replied with the same placid smile.
  • Charles Dickens wrote a novel titled Our Mutual Friend. This phrase is used for a shared friend of two people.

Senectitude: (n) old age
Origin: L senex, old => ‘the state of being old’

  • Senectitude is not synonymous with ill-health.

Senescence: (n) old age
Origin: L senex, old => ‘the state of being old’

  • In India, we think that a senescent person should renounce all pleasures and take sanyaas. If an old man or woman tries to look good or enjoys his life, people are quick to jeer by saying ‘boodhi ghodi laal lagaam.

Jeer: (v) make fun of.

  • Raju’s classmates jeered him when he got 0/20 in the Maths test. “Raju Hero…got a Zero!” “Raju Hero…got a Zero!” they sang all day whenever he was nearby.
  • A scene from a Hindi movie: “You will fight me?” The 300-kg Sumo wrestler jeered the lanky hero. “Sorry. I don’t fight with mosquitoes.”

We could also have used the words ‘mocked’ or ‘derided’ in place of ‘jeered’ in these sentences. Jeer, mock and deride mean the same—to
make fun of.

Senile: (adj) related with old age, displaying mental decline in old age.
Origin: L senex

  • Week after week, builders and property dealers came to the old man with attractive offers for the sale of his huge bungalow. But he swept them away saying he needed the backyard for his beloved dog to walk, run and play ball in. `The old uncle has gone senile’ they would jeer and walk away.

Senate: (n) an assembly of the senior-most decisionmakers of a government, whether they are are elected or nominated. For example, the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha at the central level and the Vidhan Sabha at the state level in India.
Origin: L senex => ‘a council of elders’

Sire: (n) father; (v) to father.
Origin: L senex => senior => sire

  • The French word for Mister is Monsieur. Monsieur developed from ‘mon sieur’ which means ‘my father, my lord’ and is, therefore, a very respectful way of addressing a male of high social standing.
  • “My son married four years ago but he is yet to sire an heir. Please do something baba,” Kalawanti humbly prayed to the baba who had come to her village three days ago. He was said to be a very powerful baba.
  • The word ‘sire’ comes from the same root that sired ‘senior.’

Surly: (adj) rude, bad-tempered.      
Origin: From ‘sir’. ‘Sirly’ meant ‘lordly.’ ‘Surly’ was just an alternate spelling of ‘sirly.’ The meaning development occurred as following:
‘Lordly’ => ‘arrogant’ => ‘rude’ => ‘bad-tempered.’

  • The husband came home from the office. The wife gave him a glass of water. “What’s the matter sweetheart?” She asked. “You look tired today.” “What if I am?” was his surly reply. She still smiled and said, “You go and get fresh. And see what I prepare for you. Your tiredness will…” “There’s no need,” her husband cut her short. “You just go on enjoying your life. I’ll manage myself.” She did not understand his sudden surliness. He had been quite cheerful in the morning; what had happened during the day?

Progeria: (n) a rare congenital disease in which the body ages abnormally fast.
Origin: Gk pro-, before + geras, old => ‘becoming old before the normal age’ => ‘becoming prematurely old’

  • Amitabh Bachchan’s character in the movie ‘Paa’ had progeria. By the time the child was 12 years old, his organs and skin were like those of a 70-year-old.

Geriatrics: (n) branch of medicine dealing with the care and the diseases of the old people.
Origin: Gk geras, old age

  • A geriatric physician is a doctor of the elderly.

Gerontocracy: (n) rule by old people.
Origin: Gk geras + -cracy, rule.

  • India can be called a gerontocracy. Most of the members of its central and state legislatures are old. The average age of Indian Prime Ministers since 1947 is 65.2 years. The average age of Chief Ministers is 67.

Internecine: (adj) mutually destructive.
Origin: L inter-, mutual + nex, death

  • “Do not go,” the man’s wife implored. ‘Do not go,” his mother implored. “You will kill them and they will kill you. What is there to gain out of this internecine battle? I’ve already lost your father to this foolishness. Now, I cannot lose you. You are my only son. At least, for the sake of your responsibilities to this house, to your wife, to your mother, do not go.” The man looked at his mother with contempt. “You may be able to digest your family’s dishonour. I cannot. I will teach them a lesson; will end this feud once and for all.

Get out of my way.” He pushed the two pleading women aside and went to fight with his enemies. The enmity of his family with that of the thakur’s had gobbled up many generations of each but still showed no sign of abating. His mother’s fears proved true. The fight was internecine. He was shot dead soon after he killed two of his ‘enemies’.

Pernicious: (adj) that which brings death or destruction.
Origin: L per-, thorough + nex, death => ‘thoroughly deadly’

  • Smoking is a pernicious habit.
  • “Ban the TV!” “Ban the Fashion Shows!” “Ban the pubs!” “Ban the music videos!” “Ban Valentine’s Day!” “Ban skirts!” “Ban this!” “Ban that!” Such fiery calls are made every few days by unemployed, semi-literate hooligans. Their stated reason is the pernicious effect of westernization on the Indian culture. The actual reason usually is hunger for publicity.

Fiery: (adj) full of fire.
Hooligan: (n) one who shows violent, lawless behaviour.

Necrosis: (n) death of cells or tissue.
Origin: Gk nekros, dead body

Necromancy: (n) calling the spirits of the dead to know the future from them or to command them to do something.
Origin: Gk nekros + -mancy. See ‘mantic’.

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