Whiteboard Videos – Lo & Behold ! Featuring My blog’s whiteboard video

Remember my last post about infographic making tutorial? Well the world – especially the professional one –  is changing at a lightning pace and people are emphasizing more on presentation of ideas and their effective communication. According to me, there are two components of a successful idea presentation – spark and “impact” .

idea-sparkYour ideas should be out of the box and this is where your cognitive abilities come into play. But equally important and highly underrated is the importance of impact it creates on the audience. The concept you are trying to communicate should reach your audience in the way you want them to understand. Even if your idea or proposal have the required spark, yet if presented in a lousy and unappealing way, downloadthere is a huge chance you might lose out on that well deserved promotion or the coveted deal with your client!

A sparkling thought isn’t enough; it should create the required impact in the minds of the audience.

Usually people use power point presentations to share their plans and project ideas. But they are so run-of-the-mill nowadays that people are looking out for something creative and refreshing. Videos are  frequently usedBusiness-Meeting nowadays to present one’s thoughts and they are fun to make too. They provide a huge range of options – you can include your own footage and voice, other images, audio, subtitles etc. And they are fun to watch too especially in situations where you can’t be there in person to present.

I have come across these whiteboard videos which are very interesting to watch and easier to grasp – especially effective when trying to explain a complicated concept in  layman’ terms.

I have always wanted to make one too. And here’s my experience!

I have made a whiteboard video as an introduction to my blog !

I have used VideoScribe (Free trial version) to create it. There are other tools available as well – rawshorts, powtoon , drawshop etc. You can  search for other whiteboard video maker tools online.

Every tool comes with its own set of instructions and guidelines. You can select images and audio from the vast database that they provide. Have fun creating !

Here is the introductory video of my blog ! Do share your thoughts…

(Audio could have been better but Spare Me for that !)

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Infographics – Data in visual form

Many a times pictures serve as better medium of communication than words, especially when there is a large amount of data to be analysed or a complex relationship between two or more entities to be understood. Each one of us must have realized that seeing a table of numeric, mind boggling data is very difficult to make sense of! But when the same data is made available in a pie chart or a bar graph, we are at much ease. infographicsIn fact, whenever we think of a work, we relate it with a picture in our mind for better processing. Our brain processes image faster than words. Just imagine reading a blog without attractive pictures to assist in comprehension – It would take a lot of patience to read through that. Even we bloggers use pictures to garner attention of fellow readers !

Infographics = INFOrmation  in GRAPHICal form

This does not mean that infographics do not contain text at all, they do! But the texts are more or less a group of words or labels.

Relevance in today’s world:

Infographics form a part of our daily life, even when we do not realize it: Danger Signs, Traffic signs, advertisement posters, maps, campaign & event posters. The professional world also deals with infographics in marketing of products and brand awareness, market trends, financial data analysis and presentations and much more. Recently, I was asked to present my CV (resume) as an infographic to a recruiter. So even Human resource management uses infographics to judge the creativity of a candidate. There is a huge chance that if you are working, you might be asked to create an infographic for your client to promote your product better or to present your idea in front of your boss. In order to be ready for that day or proactively using this technique for an impactful presentation, here’s presenting to you important tips regarding creation of infographics:

  1. There free softwares available online like Piktochart, Easel.ly, Canva where you can sign-up for free and create beautiful and creative infographics for  that event/fest coming up in your college or the next product-branding pitch to your client at office! Moms can also use it to create birthday invites for their kids!
  2. Be to the point and concise. Restrict use of words in your infographic and convey more through images. At the same time, do not put irrelevant pictures.
  3. Don’t use too bold background colours that distracts the attention from the main content.
  4. In case you are creating an infographic CV, highlight your main achievements and landmarks in your career.
  5. Select the theme and look  & feel of the infographic according to the context. For example, in case you are preparing an infographic for a client at workplace, it needs to have a professional ( and not a cartoon like) feel to it.
  6. Be creative.

Example : This is a very basic sample infographic I created for this blog using Piktochart.

Happy creating  and discovering !

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For more :

What is an Infographic?

The 100 Best Infographics [Interactive]

https://www.canva.com/create/infographics/

 

 

Confusables –  Easily Confused Words

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She excepted/accepted his marriage proposal.

Everybody came to the party accept/except Jake.

How many of you have faced difficulties in using similar sounding words – accept or except , affect or effect, canvas or canvass, dissent or descent or decent – and many more ! Well, each one of us has faced such a situation at some point in our writing venture. Sometimes, the difference is in terms of whether  you want a noun or a verb – advice (to be used as a noun) and advise ( to be used as a verb). Sometimes, the difference lies in the usage of a word in a particular context – amicable (focus on friendly relationship between people) and amiable (focus on the person’s individual disposition). Most of the times, the difference can be easily perceived, but often when the meaning is clear, we end up using wrong words because of wrong spellings – an ‘a’ and an ‘e’ can confuse too ( as in stationary (at rest )  or stationery (writing paper and other materials) !!

So here is a list of commonly confusing words we come across in English.

Happy Learning !  🙂

Word Meaning Sentence
 Aberrant Departing from an accepted standard When the astronomer looked into the telescope, he was shocked by the sight of a star moving in an aberrant path.
 Abhorrent Inspiring disgust and loathing; repugnant, loathsome When the citizens learned about the abhorrent crime, they screamed for justice outside the police station.
The abhorrent individual was spurned by his fellow citizens because of his aberrant behavior.

                           

Abjure To give up belief or activity, renounce, relinquish, reject After the tyrant took over the country, the citizens had to abjure their political beliefs.
Adjure Urge or request (someone) solemnly or earnestly to do something. He adjured the editor to cease posting silly articles.
The minister adjured his wayward congregation to abjure the sins of the flesh.

                          

Amoral Lacking a moral sense; unconcerned with the rightness or wrongness of something. Hugh grew up to be an amoral man because his parents never told him the difference between right and wrong.
Immoral Not conforming to or violating the accepted standards of morality. They considered colonialism to be immoral.
Sometimes it seems more shocking to be amoral than to be immoral.

  

Appraise Assess the value or quality of. His merits in this respect, however, can only be appraised by the study of his works at first hand.
Apprise Inform or tell (someone). Each week, the teachers apprise parents of their students’ progress by emailing grade reports.
After we have the jeweler appraise the diamond, we will apprise you of its value.

  

Averse Having a strong dislike of or opposition to something. As a former CIA director, he is not averse to secrecy.
Adverse Preventing success or development; harmful; unfavorable. Taxes are having an adverse effect on production.
I am averse to traveling in such adverse weather conditions.

    

Allude Suggest or call attention to indirectly; hint at. The teacher asked the students to not allude to any online sources in their research papers.
Elude Escape from or avoid (a danger, enemy, or pursuer), typically in a skillful or cunning way. He tried to elude the security men by sneaking through a back door
She would often allude to her childhood, when she would elude her brothers in a game of hide-and-seek.

  

Alleviate Make (suffering, deficiency, or a problem) less severe. To alleviate hunger in our town, each employee of our company donated five cans of food.
Ameliorate Make (something bad or unsatisfactory) better Not only did he ameliorate your grades, but he also found a way to enjoy learning.
Government agencies tried to alleviate the effects of the depression. They attempted to ameliorate the job-seeking process.

   

Amicable Friendliness or goodwill between people or group It was a relatively amicable divorce and at least they remain on speaking terms.
Amiable A person’ friendly disposition One former roommate described him as amiable and talkative
With amiable people like them, it’s not unusual to have an amicable divorce.

    

Afflict To cause suffering or unhappiness, like what a disease does.(Focus on the sufferer) It’s also quite likely that he was afflicted with an eating disorder
Inflict To force pain or suffering with focus on the person/thing causing the suffering. More aggressive Five other men accused of taking part in the fight were convicted of hooliganism and inflicting light bodily injury.
I am afflicted with something terrible, so I inflict injuries upon others.

   

Canvas A strong, coarse unbleached cloth made from hemp, flax, or a similar yarn, used to make items such as sails and tents and as a surface for oil painting. The painting is oil on canvas.
Canvass Solicit votes from (electors or members). In each ward, two workers canvassed some 2,000 voters.
We wore canvas shoes while we tried to canvass the entire neighborhood.

Want to learn more of these words?

I found an excellent site for such words. You can learn more such words here

Kingdom of Words

How many of you are of the view that English is not a technical language and that it is just a language of expression ? Well, nobody can deny the fact that all languages are medium of expressing one’s thoughts – English being one of them -but it does not end there. English is a highly technical language –  similar to all the 22 officially recognized languages in India and ‘God-knows-how-many‘ across the world. Every language has its set of technicalities and a systematic & structured approach. When you read a well structured article or a novel, you can easily understand the flow of ideas and views of the author, because he has interwoven his thoughts into words in a systematic,coherent manner. His ideas have a well defined path – not just roaming around. Following the same path, the author’s words enter your mind and get deeply engraved in it.

Just like there are various ways to solve a mathematical sum, there are numerous approaches to writing in English. I am not suggesting that only one of them is correct. The aim here is to get one’s ideas deeply engraved in the minds of the reader ( just like aim in maths is to get the answer ). Since, English is also a steadily evolving language, people have the privilege to experiment with their approaches in writing. We can enjoy the best of both worlds ! We do not have to restrict ourselves to rules all the time !

So keep experimenting and exploring the language with your own devised ways ! As for the technical part – here is a list of classes in which words are divided – often confused words ! In the future posts, I will introduce a new section – ‘Most Confused Words’ – a list of words that are most confused in English.

Happy Learning ! 🙂

Homophones – A homophone is a word that is pronounced the same as another word but differs in meaning, and may differ in spelling.
 Same pronunciation
 Different meanings
 Different/Same spellings (homophones with same spellings are homonyms)

(Same spellings)
We saw a grizzly bear while vacationing in the mountains.
I can’t bear this burden any longer.

(Different spellings)
My son is presently in the military.
The sun is hidden behind the clouds.

Homonyms – Same words with same spelling and same pronunciation but have different meanings when used in different contexts.
 Same pronunciation
 Different meanings
 Same spellings
e.g. A bear (the animal) can bear (tolerate) very cold temperatures.

Homographs
 Different pronunciation
 Different meanings
 Same spelling

e.g. Wind: I need to wind the alarm clock so I can fly my kite in the early morning gusty wind.

e.g. Desert as in dry climate vs Desert as in leaving alone(they are pronounced differently)

Capitonyms

 Same spelling
  Different meanings on capitalization

e.g. May: In May(month), when spring is almost over, I may(auxiliary verb) pack away my winter clothes.

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Commonly Used Idioms Part – 6

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Let me tell you a well-known trick for remembering idioms with their meanings and usage. If you learn about the origin of the idiom, it will be very easy for you to remember them and use them as and when your writing skills demand ! In the last edition, I shared the origin of ‘Achilles’ heel’ idiom which was interesting and deserving enough to pique your curiosity. This time, I come with a hilarious origin tale – ‘Murphy’s law’. Don’t get deceived– this is not a scientific law ! 😉

This is a humorous adage which means that anything that can go wrong will go wrong !

OriginEdward A. Murphy, Jr. was one of the engineers on the rocket-sled experiments that were done by the U.S. Air Force in 1949 to test human acceleration tolerances (USAF project MX981). One experiment involved a set of 16 accelerometers mounted to different parts of the subject’s body. There were two ways each sensor could be glued to its mount, and somebody methodically installed all 16 the wrong way around. Murphy then made the original form of his pronouncement.

Murphy’s Original Law – If there are two or more ways to do something, and one of those ways can result in a catastrophe, then someone will do it.

 Murphy’s Law – If anything can go wrong — it will.index

 Murphy’s First Corollary – Left to themselves, things tend to go from bad to worse.

 Murphy’s Second Corollary – It is impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious.

For more info, read here

( It was a blast from the past – reminded me of the tough old days when I had to learn the physics laws !  🙂 )

Today, when we want to remind people that even if someone’s plan is well thought of and properly planned, yet there is scope of an error – we say ‘ Do not forget the Murphy law’ ! 😀

You can find hilarious interpretations of Murphy’s making rounds on the internet ! Do check them out !

Happy learning !

Idiom Meaning Sentence
Shy of Having less of something that is needed or expected She was two days shy of her 19th birthday.
Go south To go down, to fall The economy was growing but the things went south after the recession.
One’s goose is cooked One is finished; one has been found out and is in trouble. If I get caught, my goose is cooked.
To be in the eye of the storm To be very much involved in an argument or problem that affects a lot of people International aid agencies were in the eye of the storm when war broke out in the country.
Fit the bill To be suitable for a particular purpose The city needs a strong leader, and the new mayor just doesn’t fill the bill.
Nothing to write home about Mediocre; not as good as you expected. I went to that new restaurant last night. It’s nothing to write home about.
Blue collar Relating to manual work or workers, particularly in industry Blue collar workers in the factories and shipyards were demanding wage increases.
White Collar Relating to the work done or the people who work in an office or other professional environment. The ratio of white-collar workers to production workers in the manufacturing industry was declining.
Scratch the surface To examine only the superficial aspects of something. We don’t know how bad the problem is. We’ve only scratched the surface.
Bring something/someone to knees To destroy or defeat someone or something. To reduce to a position of subservience or submission. The strikes brought the economy to its knees.
Of age Old enough to be considered an adult. He’s of age now; he can buy his own car.
Acid test A test which will really prove the value, quality, or truth of something The acid test for the product will be whether people actually buy it.
Cut the ground from under someone’s feet To make someone or their ideas seem less good, especially by doing something before them or better than them ( to weaken someone’s position) The opposition claimed today’s speech was an attempt by the government to cut the ground from under their feet.
Chase one’s tail To be very busy doing a lot of things, but achieving very little He’s been chasing his tail all week collecting data but the report is still not ready
Think on one’s feet To think and react quickly, especially in a situation where things are happening very fast A good sales man must be able to think on his feet to close the deal.
To not let grass grow under feet Don’t delay in getting something done, always on the move As soon as he finished all the registration formalities, he put the house on sale. He doesn’t let the grass grow under his feet.
Be waiting in the wings Waiting for an opportunity to take action, mostly to replace someone else in their job. The senior manager is going to retire in next 2 months. Two of his juniors who are waiting in the wings will have a fierce competition.
Fever pitch A state of extreme excitement. The football crowd was at fever pitch.
Cut someone to the quick Hurting someone deeply or offending them. Joe had worked for 10 years with all his loyalty for his company. He was cut to the quick when his boss held him responsible for the theft.
Have one’s heart in the right place To have good intentions, even if there are bad results. Good old Tom! His gifts are always tacky, but his heart’s in the right place.
Murphy’s law Anything that can go wrong will go wrong If there are two or more ways to do something, and one of those ways can result in a catastrophe, then someone will do it. We may think we’ve covered all the details for the benefit, but remember Murphy’s law
Go up in smoke If a plan or some work goes up in smoke, it is spoiled or wasted Then his business went bankrupt and 20 years of hard work went up in smoke.
On an even keel Stable, balanced You should know the syllabus and plan well ahead so that your exam preparation goes on even keel
When the dust settles When things have calmed down When the dust settles, we can start patching up all the hurt feelings.
On the boil If a situation or feeling is on the boil, it is very strong or active The corruption scandal is being kept on the boil by a series of new revelations.
White elephant A possession that is useless or troublesome, especially one that is expensive to maintain or difficult to dispose of. The old building is a white elephant of the housing society.
Put to sword If someone/something is put to sword, he/she/it is killed or executed. The notion that the country’s economy is stable is being put to sword by the current market conditions.

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Build Your Vocabulary Part – 8

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Well, since the inception of my ‘Build your Vocabulary’ posts, I have been reiterating the fact that English is a diverse and evolved language, comprising of humongous number of words – many of its own and many borrowed from other languages. I had been focusing only on the quantity – but today I wish to talk about the power a word can have, on your mood, on your relationships, on your life and on you. It might be difficult to believe that words have tremendous power to change situations. A word of cheer can lift your mood, a word of trust can enliven your relationship, and a word of wisdom can give a whole new meaning to your life and change you as a person. Similarly, on the darker side, careless choice of words can be hurtful and dangerous. I intend not to scare you but to make you privy to the enormous power words have and encourage you to harness the power in the best interests of all.A marketing company’s tagline captures the essence of my message- Choose Wisely, Live Well !

Happy Learning ! 🙂

Word Meaning Sentence
Predilection Bias, a preference or special liking for something Your predilection for employees from you native state is pretty evident.
Diabolic Characteristic of the devil, Mephistophelian, wicked, fiendish, malevolent, The diabolical expression on his face was noticeable after he committed the crime.
Syncretic The combination of different forms of belief or practice Religious syncretism is at the heart of a diversified world.
Pique A feeling of irritation or resentment resulting from a slight, especially to one’s pride. Arouse interest or curiosity He was left in a fit of pique when he was denied entry to the prestigious award ceremony.  Hopefully the movie trailer will pique the interest of moviegoers and motivate them to buy tickets to see the film.
Staunch very loyal and committed in attitude Since the two countries are staunch allies it is not surprising they will work together in the war to defeat their shared enemy.
Aplomb Calm self confidence Antonyms : gaucheness Being an orator par excellence, he can deliver any speech with aplomb.
Consonance Agreement, harmony, concord, accord Consonance among all the members of a team, leads to a better performance.
Partisan Prejudiced in favor of a particular cause. Because of your partisan views, you are unwilling to look at other options.
Moratorium A temporary prohibition of an activity. Potential business owners are angry because the county has passed a moratorium on new business licenses.
Clemency Mercy, lenience In their letter to the governor, the victim’s family asked him not to give clemency to their son’s murderer.
Salubrious Healthy, pleasant Vegetables are salubrious foods which provide essential nutrients.
indefatigable Tireless, (of efforts) persisting tirelessly The director of the homeless shelter is an indefatigable woman who works almost eighteen hours every day.
Pastoral A work of literature portraying an idealized version of country life. The story, though a pastoral, has an actual connection with the life of agricultural labor.
Lingua franca  (Italian origin) A language that is adopted as a common language between speakers whose native languages are different. The official language and de facto lingua franca of this country is the English language.
De facto  (Latin origin) In Latin, it means ‘of fact’ Existing or holding a specified position in fact but not necessarily by legal right. The official language and de facto lingua franca of this country is the English language.
Obfuscation To deliberately make something confusing or difficult to understand The loan contract was filled with legal words meant to obfuscate trusting borrowers.
Intelligentsia Intellectuals or highly educated people as a group, especially when regarded as possessing culture and political influence. The intelligentsia of this country has a great influence on the government.
Stalemate a position counting as a draw, in which a player is not in check but cannot move except into check. The government has convened an all-party meeting on Monday to discuss ways to end the stalemate in Parliament.
Obduracy The quality of being obstinate, stubborn or intractable. Your obduracy on this deal has worsened the matter.
Buttress A source of defense or support. Increase the strength or justification for, reinforce After the humiliating way his girlfriend dumped him, his friends rallied to his side to act as a buttress to his deflated ego.
dissidence Protest against official policy The dissident ministers opposed the newly passed bill.
Dissension Disagreement that leads to discord. This maneuver caused dissension within feminist ranks
Cadence Measure or beat of movement A consistent rhythm or beat We were happy when our fast-talking professor started to speak in a slow cadence we could understand.
Perfidy The state of being deceitful and untrustworthy. If you do business with criminals, you should not be shocked when their perfidy comes back to you in the form of a bullet in the back.
Cabal A secret political clique or faction. The cabal of dissident employees is plotting against the executive group.
Cantankerous Bad-tempered, argumentative, and uncooperative. He can be a cantankerous old fossil at times. (Here, fossil means a person who is outdated and resistant to change.)
Aspersion An attack on the reputation or the integrity of someone or something, calumny I don’t think anyone is casting aspersions on you.
Maim Wound or injure so that a part of the body is permanently damaged Jake is an irresponsible driver who will most likely take a life or maim someone eventually.

Build Your Vocabulary – Part 7

Words

Ahh !! Such diversity of words in one language !!

The extent to which the language has evolved is astonishing and at the same time intriguing. Here  I present to you the 7th edition of the vocabulary building tutorial.

Happy Learning and discovering !! 🙂

Word Meaning Sentence
Perspicacious Having a ready insight into and understanding of things. Many perspicacious investors sold their tech stocks long before the market crashed.
Magnum Opus A work of art, music, or literature that is regarded as the most important or best work that an artist, composer, or writer has produced. Origin : Latin This film is going to be the magnum opus of the director.
Complicity The fact or condition of being involved with others in an activity that is unlawful or morally wrong. They were accused of complicity in an attempt to overthrow the government.
Logjam Situation that seems irresolvable. The CEO of the company has a power to break any logjam in financial issues.
Truculent Eager or quick to argue or fight; aggressively defiant. The truculent attitude of students during strike was justifiable.
Opprobrium Harsh criticism or censure. The alleged complicity of the actor in betting brought opprobrium from his fans.
Insouciant Showing a casual lack of concern. Because Bill is insouciant and not concerned about his retirement, he does not worry about saving money.
Budge Make or cause to make the slightest movement The opposition is refusing to budge on its stand against the ruling party.
Dossier A collection of documents about a particular person, event, or subject. The government will soon release dossiers containing the evidence of a planned protest against the government by the opposition.
Tome A book, especially a large, heavy, scholarly one. I prefer reading novels to tomes.
Cuckold (of a man) make (another man) a cuckold by having a sexual relationship with his wife. In the novel, the protagonist cuckolds his employer.
Motif A dominant or recurring idea in an artistic work.A decorative image or design, especially a repeated one forming a pattern. Unrequited love is a frequent motif in the playwright’s works.
Duress Threats, violence, constraints, or other action used to coerce someone into doing something against their will or better judgement. The judge overturned the case because the defendant’s attorney proved that his client’s confession had been given under duress.
Musing Characterized by reflection or deep thought She was looking over the sea with sad, musing gaze. She missed him.
Beleaguer Put in a very difficult situation The board is supporting the beleaguered director.
Nemesis A downfall caused by an inescapable agent. The enemy which constantly causes problems The whole world witnessed the nemesis of the country whose sole nemesis was poor governance
Renege Go back on a promise, undertaking, or contract. The government had reneged on its election promises.
Heteronormative Denoting or relating to a world view that promotes heterosexuality as the normal or preferred sexual orientation. We used to live in a heteronormative culture but things are changing now.
Churlishness Deliberately rude behavior Although she is a beautiful and talented actress, she has a reputation for being churlish and difficult to get along with.
Fractious Irritable and quarrelsome. They fight like fractious children.
Debunk Expose the falseness or hollowness of (an idea or belief) to reveal the inaccuracies associated with a belief The scientist hoped to debunk the genetic theory by completing his own research.
Jingoism Extreme patriotism for one’s country that often shows itself through aggression towards other nations The dictator’s jingoism caused him to constantly rant about his nation’s superiority while threatening his rivals with war.
Tantalize Torment or tease (someone) with the sight or promise of something that is unobtainable. Excites one’s senses or desires. Since I am on a diet, I must ignore the tantalizing smells coming from the bakery.
Desperado A desperate or reckless person, especially a criminal. No one could believe that the decently dressed man was a desperado.
Livid Furiously angry After sitting in the airport for nine hours, I was livid when I learned my flight would be delayed another six hours.
Contestation The action or process of disputing or arguing There is a global contestation over the distribution of natural resources.
Annulled Declared invalid ( an official agreement, decision or result ) The elections were annulled by the general amid renewed protests.
Profligate Recklessly extravagant or wasteful in the use of resources. Licentious and dissolute During the mayor’s campaign, he swore to put an end to profligate government spending.
Bootleg Make, distribute, or sell (alcoholic drink or a recording) illegally. Government has to enforce measures to curtail bootlegging.
Hooch Alcoholic drink, especially inferior or illicit whisky. Prohibition of liquor in a state will lead to larger number of deaths due to hooch tragedies.
Pacifist A person who believes that war and violence are unjustifiable. She was a committed pacifist all her life.

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Foreign Words in English – Spanish

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Hola Amigos !!

Here I am with my 2nd Edition of Foreign words – this time exploring the Spanish lexicon, and I must tell you this venture has been as exciting and revealing as the French voyage…..

About the language :

Spanish is one of the most popular languages in the world, next to Mandarin Chinese and English. Approximately 425 million people worldwide use Spanish as their primary means of communication. Mandarin Chinese has around 880 million users and English has around 400 million. Spanish is a romance language and is one of the six official languages of the United Nations.Spanish is the official language in about 20 countries.

Well, to my great surprise and astonishment, I came across words of Spanish origin that are so common in our day to day conversation, that I did not even enlist them with their meaning and example sentences. It would be like defining what an apple is, or what a car is…..For e.g. Following words have Spanish origin :

Cannibal Marijuana
Chocolate Platinum
Cockroach Tobacco
Dengue Tornado
Hurricane Vanilla
Mosquito Tomato
Cargo Potato
Plaza

Now you tell me , do I need to define these ? 😉

That is the extent of diversity of the English language. It is breath-taking !!

Now, here is the list of often used in English but Spanish –originated words with their meanings and example sentences !!Make them a part of your creative piece to give it a distinct, Spanish touch.

Buena Suerte !!

( Good Luck )

Spanish – originated Word Meaning Sentence
Adios Goodbye Anyway, adios and good luck!
Aficionado A person who is enthusiastic and knowledgeable about an activity, connoisseur Since she is a Sudoku aficionado, she finds it very easy to pass time when she is traveling all by herself.
Amigo used to address or refer to a friend I’ll do my best. Adios, amigo!
Barbecue A meal or gathering at which meat, fish, or other food is cooked out of doors on a rack over an open fire or on a special appliance. We were invited to a barbecue by our neighbors at their farm house.
Bonanza A situation which creates a sudden increase in wealth, good fortune, or profits. Publicity seekers know that festival can provide a bonanza of media coverage.
Breeze (old Spanish + Portuguese) A gentle wind. Tantalizing cooking smells wafted on the evening breeze.
Cafeteria A restaurant in which customers serve themselves from a counter and pay before eating. We will spend Wednesday evening at the nearby cafeteria.
Stampede Sudden rapid movement or reaction of a mass of people in response to a particular circumstance or stimulus. Several casualties were reported due to a stampede at the public event.
Embargo An official ban on trade or other commercial activity with a particular country. An official ban on an activity There is a complete embargo on taking photographs in court.
Fiesta An event marked by festivities or celebration. Revelers throw tomatoes during the annual tomato fight fiesta. The main aspect of any fiesta is the food.
Guerilla A member of a small independent group taking part in irregular fighting, typically against larger regular forces. This town fell to the guerrillas.
Macho Masculine in an overly assertive or aggressive way. Let’s not say that guys don’t hurt or feel broken hearted. They are human and they get hurt, but in keeping with the macho image, they hide the pain.
Nada nothing They searched the suspect’s house but got nada.
Peccadillo A relatively minor fault or sin. Unless you’re perfect, you should never complain about a peccadillo of someone else.
Pronto Promptly, quickly Put the vegetables in the refrigerator, pronto!
Renegade A person who deserts and betrays an organization, country, or set of principles. When Clara learned her law firm was trying to hide important evidence, she became a renegade and joined the opposing legal team.
Savvy Shrewdness and practical knowledge, especially in politics or business. He is tech-savvy. We’re looking for some computer-savvy people to work for us
Vertigo a sensation of whirling and loss of balance, associated particularly with looking down from a great height, or caused by disease affecting the inner ear or the vestibular nerve; giddiness. when a person feels like they are moving when they are not. Once he was at the top of the mountain, he suffered from vertigo.

                      

Foreign Words In English – French

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Starting a new endeavor, I bring to you my latest edition of foreign words which will enrich your exotic vocabulary and will give you an insight into different foreign words (and their origin), which are widely used in English. Use them in your writing and let the words do wonder for you!

For the first edition, I have listed the French-origin words commonly used in English.

About the language :

French is one of the worlds great languages, rivalled only by English as the language of international society and diplomacy.Besides in France itself, French can be heard in several other European countries, widely throughout Africa, and also in various dependencies. In addition, it is the unofficial second language of Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, and many others.It is the mother tongue of about 75 million people, with millions more familiar with it as a second language.French is one of the romance languages, descended from Latin. A number of dialects initially emerged but history favoured the North and Parisian French gained ascendancy over the others.In the 17th – 19th centuries French was pre-eminent as an international language, though it has been eclipsed by English in the 20th.

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During my analysis and reading to prepare this list, I came across many familiar French words which I thought had English origin. So the entire exercise had its own surprising moments.

Get ready to get surprised and start giving a French touch to your writing by incorporating these words at the right place to convey the apt meaning.

Avoir du plaisir à apprendre !

( I hope that means ‘ Have fun learning !’ in French – if not , feel free to correct me)

French-originated Word Meaning Usage
à la carte On the menu.

In restaurants, it refers to ordering individual dishes rather than fixed priced meals

The restaurant provides three course dinner à la carte on Wednesday evening
Adieu good-bye, farewell The entire school gathered in the auditorium to bid adieu to the principal.
Avant-garde The pioneers or innovators in art in a particular period Because the new tower has an avant-garde design, it does not fit in with the historical buildings in the square.
Bête noire A person or thing that one particularly dislikes or avoids. Jane was his . He always tried to avoid her.
Agent provocateur A person employed to induce others to break the law so that they can be convicted. He acted as an agent provocateur, instigating the mob for violent protest.
Carte Blanche complete freedom to act as one wishes. The architect was given carte blanche to design the restaurant by the restaurateur.
Déjà vu a feeling of having already experienced the present situation. I felt a sense of déjà vu when I walked down that lane.
En route On the way I am en route for the meeting at my office.
Esprit de corps feeling of pride and mutual loyalty shared by the members of a group The team under Jaden has no unity and no spirit de corps.
Fait accompli a thing that has already happened or been decided before those affected hear about it, leaving them with no option but to accept it. Accepting the change as a fait accompli, the best we could do was to adjust ourselves according to the change.
Faux pas an embarrassing or tactless act or remark in a social situation The designer committed a fashion faux pas at a recent fashion event by wearing a dress made of leaves.
Haute Couture expensive, fashionable clothes produced by leading fashion houses. She inaugurated her new store that would make haute couture accessible to common people.
Laissez-faire abstention by governments from interfering in the workings of the free market.

the policy of leaving things to take their own course, without interfering.

Small business owners are happiest when the government maintains its laissez-faire management style and stays out of their affairs.
Nouveau riche people who have recently acquired wealth, typically those perceived as ostentatious or lacking in good taste. He was nouveau riche, but nobody knew how he amassed such great wealth.
RSVP Please respond (to my message). Literally the abbreviation of ‘Répondez, s’il vous plaît’. Please send an RSVP request to all the guests, so that I can estimate the number of guests attending the wedding.
Vis-a-vis In relation to Many agencies now have a unit to deal with women’s needs vis-à-vis employment.
Cliché a phrase or opinion that is overused and betrays a lack of original thought. When will she come up with a new phrase and stop using that cliché in all her social media posts?
Gaffe An unintentional act or remark causing embarrassment to its originator; a blunder. Keeping abreast of fashion trends ensures that one does not make a social gaffe in interacting with one’s peers.
Panache flamboyant confidence of style or manner. She always wears her stylish outfits with panache.
Rapprochement (Especially in international affairs) an establishment or resumption of harmonious relations. The rapprochement talks between the two nations are in progress.
Soirée An evening party or gathering I have been invited to a soiree at her home on Wednesday.
Raison d’être The most important reason or purpose for someone or something’s existence. The company‘s raison d’être is to provide cheaper mobiles to the public.
Saboteur a person who engages in sabotage. She will go down as the chief saboteur of the monarchy.
Gourmet a connoisseur of good food; a person with a discerning palate.

Of a kind or standard suitable for a gourmet.

He was a celebrated gourmet, who travelled all around the world tasting all types of gourmet food..
burlesque An absurd or comically exaggerated imitation of something, especially in a literary or dramatic work; a parody. He has written a novel which is a burlesque of the literary life
Chauffeur Driver She always preferred a chauffeured driven limousine.
Élan A distinctive flair or style He performed with elan without getting scared of a packed auditorium.
Pince nez A type of spectacles without temple arms One of the distinctive characterization details of Agatha Christie’s ‘Poirot’ was the pince-nez he wore.

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Silhouette The dark shape and outline of someone or something visible in restricted light against a brighter background. She paused to see the church’s silhouette against the dimming sky
Charlatan a person falsely claiming to have a special knowledge or skill. The charlatan tried to deceive people into thinking he was a minister collecting donations for the poor.
Vignette a brief evocative description, account, or episode.

Design on a book page

Her novel is a classy vignette of contemporary life.
Belles lettres essays, particularly on literary and artistic criticism, written and read primarily for their aesthetic effect. The emergence of a literature of belles-lettres reflected the success of the colonies
Pirouette an act of spinning on one foot, typically with the raised foot touching the knee of the supporting leg. The dancer fell down while attempting a pirouette during the dance.

pirouette

Silhouette of a dancer attempting a pirouette !!

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Resumé a written summary of your education, work experience, and achievements; also known as a ‘curriculum vitae’ (CV) Please ask him to forward me his resume. I will have a look and then let you know whether this job suits him.
Facade The front part of the building that faces the street

 

a deceptive outward appearance.

Behind that facade of indifference, there’s a very nice person.
Camarederie Mutual trust and friendship among people who spend a lot of time together. Because of the camaraderie they shared, the soldiers trusted each other with their lives.

Build Your Vocabulary Part – 6

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For the enthusiast readers and authors, here is the 6th edition of vocabulary tutorial – more words to add to your dictionary !

Happy learning !

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Word Meaning Sentence
Debauched Characterized by excessive indulgence in sex, alcohol or drugs His father did not approve of his son’s  debauched lifestyle.
Salacious Conveying indecent interest in sexual matters, obscene This novel had salacious content.
Whet A thing that stimulates appetite or desire. The delicious food laid at the table whetted my appetite.
Gumption Shrewd or spirited  initiative and resourcefulness Although he was well paid he had the gumption to ask for a raise.
Grit Courage and resolve, strength of character Grit, perseverance and determination are imperative qualities for succeeding in any field.
Gormandize Eat good food, especially in excess “Don’t gormandize at the party ! Don’t make a pig of yourself !”
Eerie Strange, frightening The door made an eerie sound at night.
Obeisance Deferential respect In my family, we say a prayer before each meal to show obeisance and thanks.
Gory Involving or showing violence and bloodshed The king captured the northern territory after  defeating his enemy in a gory battle.
Agog Very eager or curious to hear or see something They were all agog for the exam results.
Banal, trite, hackneyed Lacking in originality, overused Eventually, the saying has become so hackneyed that people have stopped using it.
Abstemious Indulging very moderately in something, like food or drink. Following his mother’s order, Jaden was abstemious at dinner.
Saturnine Gloomy, morose, sad and solemn

(ant. Sanguine )

The dog’s eyes became saturnine whenever his owner left the house.
Fanatical Filled with excessive and single-minded zeal His wife was fanatical about tidiness.
Heresy Opinions profoundly different from dogmatic or orthodox views, deviation from a dominant theory or opinion Just because an idea is new does not mean it is heresy.
Beatific Feeling or expressing blissful happiness Her beatific smile hides all the troubles she has been going through.
Blustery Characterized by strong winds, tempestuous The blustery student is difficult for the teachers to handle
anathema something or someone that one vehemently dislikes Reading classics is an anathema to me.
inveterate having a particular habit, activity, or interest that is long-established and unlikely to change. He is an inveterate gambler who spends all his money in gambling.
frisson A sudden feeling of excitement or fear, thrill. I felt a frisson just as they were about to announce the winner in my category.
superaanuated Outdated, obsolete, old fashioned Often they are forced to write about superannuated celebrities in preference to fresh talent.
entourage A group of people surrounding or attending to an important person An entourage of royal advisors always followed the king.
accrued accumulate or receive (payments or benefits) over time. Loans accrue interests.
unbridled unrestrained The girls danced with unbridled enthusiasm after winning the competition.

Commonly Used Idioms Part – 5

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Here comes the exclusive 5th edition of Idioms. As I explore the language and its endless list of idioms, I often come across a story hidden behind the origin of every idiom – sometimes hilarious, sometimes very interesting.

For example, take ‘Achilles’ heel’ – Achilles was a Greek hero in the Trojan War, who was defeated when his enemy shot him in the heel with an arrow. Legends say that Achilles was invulnerable in all of his body except his heel. So now, when we say something is someone’s Achilles’ heel, it is his/her biggest weakness! Told you – origin of some idioms are very interesting. 🙂

Idiom Meaning Sentence
Catch off guard To surprise someone by doing something one was not expecting One of the larger airlines caught its rivals off guard yesterday by suddenly announcing a cut in fares.
Have money to burn To have a lot of money and spend large amounts on things which are unnecessary Christine’s new boyfriend seems to have money to burn. He’s always buying her extravagant gifts.
House on fire If two people get on like a house on fire, they like each other very much and become friends very quickly: I was worried before introducing my girlfriend to my sister, but when they met, they were a house on fire.
It’s all Greek to me something that you say when you do not understand something that is written or said The phrases written in the letter are all Greek to me.
Achilles’ Heel Weakness or vulnerable point The team is good on attack but defense is their Achilles’ heel.
A high hand oppressively The ruler rules his subjects with high hands.
Jump the gun To start something too soon When we took the test, Tom jumped the gun to gain a lead over others.
Let off steam To release one’s pent up(not expressed or released) emotions The kids can let off steam in the gardens while mum and dad have a relaxing drink
Get out of bed on the wrong side Someone in a bad mood and is easily annoyed all day What’s the matter with you? Did you get out of bed on the wrong side or something?
Cook the book Falsify a company’s financial accounts/records An independent audit showed that they’ve been cooking the books for years.
Couch potato A person who takes little or no exercise and watches a lot of television. During his vacation, he becomes a couch potato.
Full of hot air Full of nonsense Mary’s answer sheet is full of hot air.
Live in an ivory tower Live a life away from harsh realities of life Many professors are said to live in ivory towers. They don’t know what the real world is like.
Pipe down To stop talking Please pipe down and work on your homework.
Know the ropes Informed/aware of all the details of a situation or task Don’t worry about Sara’s taking over that reporter’s job-she already knows the ropes.
A dime a dozen Very common Romantic movies are a dime a dozen.
Dead ringer Looking very similar, duplicate He is a dead ringer of his late grandfather.
To pass the buck To pass the blame, to pass the responsibility Some people try to pass the buck whenever they can to avoid work.
A good Samaritan Someone who tries to help people with their problems Jane is a good Samaritan. She comes to everyone’s’ rescue.
Come to rescue To save someone or something A big donor came to the college’s rescue.
Whole nine yards Entire amount, everything possible She is mortgaging the house, her jewelry, the whole nine yards for his son’s college fees.
Last straw The final point beyond one cannot endure When he came late for the meeting the fifth time in two weeks, that was the last straw for his boss.
In a brown study Lost in deep thoughts She was in a brown study when I called her.
Stand one’s ground Refusing to change one’s position, stand firm despite opposition She was not intimidated by the police and stood her ground and described the burglar.
Cant’ hold a candle to Unable to measure up to someone Mary can’t hold a candle to Ann when it comes to athletics.
One’s salad days A time of youthful inexperience and carefree pleasure  But that was in my salad days, before I got married and had children.

Build your Vocabulary Part -5

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Want to make your writing skills exotic !! Here’s the key 🙂

In continuation with my ‘Build your Vocabulary’ category, I introduce the 5th chapter, filled with interesting English and some Latin words too ! Watch this space for more foreign words that are yet to come.

 

Word Meaning Sentence
euphemism a mild or indirect word or expression substituted for one considered to be too harsh or blunt when referring to something unpleasant or embarrassing. He used a euphemism to disguise his real feelings about the incident.
Parody an imitation of the style of a particular writer, artist, or genre with deliberate exaggeration for comic effect. His dexterity in making comical parody of different movie actors is commendable.
Non sequitur (Latin) a conclusion or statement that does not logically follow from the previous argument or statement. His poem is filled with metaphors and non sequiturs.
verbiage excessively lengthy or technical speech or writing, confused, the way in which something is expressed; wording or diction. When writing an essay, you should focus more on providing facts and less on stuffing the paper with verbiage.
Sine qua non (Latin) an essential condition; a thing that is absolutely necessary. Fruits are sine qua non of my morning breakfast
specious Misleading, superficially plausible but wrong, deceptive The intruder tried to give the authorities a specious excuse regarding his presence in the building.
caveat Premonition, warning , caution
LAW:a notice, especially in a probate, that certain actions may not be taken without informing the person who gave the notice.
The caveat of the contract includes a penalty fee if the loan is not repaid on time.
bedrock Fundamental principles on which something is based Faith and peace is the bedrock of every religion.
sanctimonious making a show of being morally superior to other people. My sanctimonious aunt tends to look down upon people who do not go to church every Sunday.
tawdry showy but cheap , of poor quality Although Aunt Eloise had lots of money, she always wore such tawdry jewellery.
protégé (French + Latin origin) One whose welfare, training, or career is promoted by an influential person. The relationship between mentor and protégé has been a defining factor in the success of countless artists in the field of cinema.
voyeur a person who gains sexual pleasure from watching others when they are naked or engaged in sexual activity.
A person who enjoys seeing others in pain or distress.
The biographer is always something of a voyeur and burglar.
hiatus a small pause break in continuity in sequence or activity After Mary had a baby, she took a brief hiatus from work.
vociferous expressing or characterized by vehement opinions. The protestors were vociferous as they screamed outside of the government building.
brunt worst part or chief impact of a specified action Young teachers are more likely to bear the brunt of increasing parental expectations.
fount source The fount for all the troubles in the country is the corruption deeply rooted in the system.
deem regarded or considered The event was deemed a great success.
pliant easily influenced The pliant head led his company to downfall because of his indecisiveness and gullible nature.
remit task assigned officially to a person or group The remit of the committee is to punish the guilty and bring reforms in the working of the autonomous body.
grist useful material, especially to support an argument. The research provided the most sensational grist for opponents of tobacco
bait annoy or taunt someone The other boys revelled in baiting him about his love of literature.
unsavoury unpleasant. disagreeable because morally disreputable. He has an unsavoury reputation owing to his unscrupulous demeanor.
cauldron A situation characterized by instability and strong emotions. A cauldron of anger and remorse gripped the city after the actor’s death.

Phrasal verbs – B

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Phrasal Verbs are very interesting. Aren’t they ? With the actual meaning hiding behind a veil, the words give an enigmatic turn to your writing skills. Here is a list of phrasal verbs starting with the letter ‘B’ for your reference. Use them in your piece and let it do wonders for you !

Phrasal Verb Definition Example
back down stop defending your opinion in a debate Jane never backs down. She always wins arguments.
back out not keep (a promise, agreement, deal) Sam backed out at the last second.
back out of not keep (a promise, agreement, deal) Sam backed out of the agreement at the last second.
back up give support You need examples to back up your opinion.
back up move backwards, reverse Could you back up a little so I can open this drawer.
bawl out criticize, reprimand (inf.) She bawled him out for arriving late.
bear down on bite The soldier had to bear down on the leather strap while the doctor removed a bullet from the soldier’s arm.
bear down on take strong measures against The U.S.A. is bearing down on drug traffickers.
bear on have to do with This information may bear on this case.
bear up withstand I didn’t think he would bear up so well in that situation.
bear up under withstand How did he bear up under such extreme pressure.
bear with be patient Please bear with me while I fill out the paperwork.
blow in visit unexpectedly (inf.) My cousin blew in unexpectedly with his entire family.
blow over pass without creating a problem All this negative publicity will blow over in a couple of weeks.
blow up make explode; destroy using explosives The terrorists blew the bridge up.
blow up explode The bomb blew up before they could defuse it.
blow up suddenly become very angry When Joan heard the news, she blew up and rushed out of the room.
break down analyze in detail We need to break this problem down in order to solve.
break down stop working properly The truck broke down in the desert.
break down become mentally ill She broke down after her husband died.
break in wear or use something new until it is comfortable I need to break these shoes in before I go hiking.
break in interrupt While we were discussing the situation, Terri broke in to give her opinion.
break in enter a place unlawfully The burglar broke in between midnight and 3 AM.
break in on interrupt (a conversation) Jane broke in on the conversation and told us to get back to work.
break into enter a house unlawfully The burglar broke into the house between midnight and 3 AM.
break into interrupt (a conversation) Jane broke into the conversation and told us what she knew.
break off end something Sally broke her engagement to John off.
break out appear violently Violent protests broke out in response to the military coup.
break out use something extravagant for celebration He broke out the champagne to celebrate his promotion.
break out  of escape The murderer broke out of the prison.
break up break into pieces I broke the cracker up into pieces and put it in the soup.
break up disperse (a crowd), stop (a fight) The police broke the demonstration up before it got out of control.
break up end a relationship Sam and Diane broke up again. What a rocky relationship.
bring about cause to happen Democracy brought about great change in the lives of the people.
bring along bring with When we go to the forest, bring your wildlife guide along.
bring around change someone’s mind, convince someone She doesn’t want to go, but we’ll eventually bring her around.
bring away learn or gain (from an experience) My trip across the Sahara was difficult, but I brought a new appreciation for life away from the experience.
bring off succeed at something difficult or unexpected You robbed the bank! I can’t believe you brought that off.
bring on cause something I can’t believe she got so angry. What brought that on?
bring out highlight, stress Your new shirt brings out the color of your eyes.
bring over bring to someone’s house When you visit me, why don’t you bring over your son?
bring to revive consciousness We used smelling salts to bring her to after she fainted.
bring up mention I didn’t want to bring up the fact that she was unemployed.
bring up raise ( a child) Sam was brought up in South Carolina.
brush off ignore something or someone (inf.) Mary brushed her ex-boyfriend off at the party.
burn down destroy by setting fire to The children burned the house down while playing with matches.
burn down burn until completely gone (building) Two buildings burnt down in the fire.
burn up be hot I am burning up in here – open the window.
burn up consume by fire The papers were burned up in the fire.
burn up destroy by fire He burnt up the files.
buy out buy the shares of a company or the shares the other person owns of a business Pacific Inc. was bought out by a company from Oregon.
buy up purchase the entire supply of something We bought up all the beer in the store.

Source: www.englishpage.com/prepositions/phrasaldictionary.html

Commonly Used Idioms Part -4

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Are you falling short of idioms to juice up your writing skills – here ‘s the 4th Edition of Idioms , exclusively for you !!

Idiom Meaning Sentence
Burn bridges To permanently and unpleasantly end your relationship with a person or organization He has burned bridges with his company so badly that it affecting his career.
Be baying for blood If someone is baying for blood of a person, he wants the person to be hurt or punished Families of the victims were baying for blood during the trial.
The head honcho Most important person in an organization

Honcho : person-in-charge,leader

You’ll have to ask Alan, he’s the head honcho in our department.
Nip in the bud to put an end to something before it develops into something larger. By arresting all the leaders, they nipped the rebellion in the bud.
On the same page In agreement, have the same understanding or amount of knowledge. Jane organized a meeting solely to assure that all her team members were on the same page regarding the recent critical requirement.
Rear its ugly head to appear or become obvious after lying hidden.(for something unpleasant) The interview went very well until a question about his academic record reared its ugly head
Write in black and white write down the terms of an agreement; to draw up a written contract; to put the details of something down on paper. We agree on all the major points. Now, let’s write it in black and white.
Run amok to go awry; to go bad; to turn bad; to go into a frenzy. Our plan ran amok.
Under a cloud Under suspicion Someone stole money at work.Now , everyone is under a cloud.
Albatross on one’s back/around one’s neck something that you have done or are connected with that keeps causing you problems and stops you from being successful The Emergency of 1975 is an albatross on Congress’s back.
straw in the wind a slight hint of the future The public unrest is a straw in the wind indicating future problems for the regime.
throw caution to the wind become careless Let’s throw caution to the wind and enjoy the party !
all in a day’s work part of what is expected, typical, normal Studying after office is all in a day’s work for me.
hunky dory fine, going well Everything was hunky dory at the meeting.
black and blue bruised , physically or emotionally She is still black and blue from her breakup.
hearth and home family and home Our first loyalties are to hearth and home.
take a beating to be severely criticized, to be damaaged by something A country’s image will take a beating if it is proved to be unsafe for women to live.
not give somebody the time of day to refuse to speak to someone because you do not like them or because you think you are better than them He’s so arrogant, he won’t even give you the time of day
play hardball to act strong and aggressive about an issue with someone. Things are getting a little tough. The president has decided to play hardball on this issue.
Cock a snook to show that you do not respect something or someone by doing something that insults them In the end he refused to accept his award, cocking a snook at the film industry for which he had such contempt.
food for thought something for someone to think about; issues to be considered. My adviser gave me some food for thought about job opportunities.
bite the dust to die The soldier was too young to bite the dust.

Build Your Vocabulary – Part 4

                                                  The phrase Words Have Power  on a Blackboard

We can never have enough of words , can we ? Here is the 4th edition for you…Keep learning, keep writing !!!!

Word Meaning Sentence
Chutzpah Shameless audacity, impudence, offensively bold He is burning bridges with his near and dear ones. That requires chutzpah.
Brazen Bold without shame The thieves were brazen enough to leave a mocking note for the investigators.
Hedonism Sensual self-indulgence My neighbor is a hedonist. He parties all night.
bonhomie cheerful friendliness , geniality, affability The instant bonhomie developed between children is admirable.
ludicrous foolish, unreasonable, or out of place as to be amusing. The ludicrous movie is about a dog that becomes the president of a country.
luminary Inspiration A luminary leader of a famous political party, Jane has inspired many to eradicate corruption.
Despotism Despotism is a form of government in which a single entity rules with absolute power

A despot is a person ho exercises absolute control in a cruel or oppressive way

Once the despot killed his parents, he was able to run the country with an iron fist.
incarceration imprisonment Jude remained incarcerated but Alex, facing a lesser charge, was released on bail.
Machiavellian cunning, scheming, and unscrupulous, especially in politics. He and his machiavellian son destroyed the country’s economy to reap their own benefits
Pedantic excessively concerned with minor details or rules; overscrupulous. his analyses are careful and even painstaking, but never pedantic
Travesty a false, absurd, or distorted representation of something. It would be a travesty of justice to put an innocent man in jail.
pusillanimity someone who is not courageous The pusillanimous student was bullied by his seniors everyday at school.
reparation to make amends for wrong doing Alec tried to make reparation for the hurt feelings he had caused, but Emily wasn’t having any of it.
evangelize to preach The teachers in school evangelize the importance of God – worship.
promiscuous having or characterized by many transient sexual relationships. It was general knowledge that Lori had been promiscuous in her youth.
archaic very old or old fashioned The original Ford Model T car is considered archaic when compared to modern vehicles
regression a return to former or less developed state While my students did well on the algebra quiz last week, this week’s test scores are much lower and show a great deal of regression
niggle cause slight but persistent annoyance, discomfort, or anxiety. The major niggle with the film is its over dramatic climax.
schmaltz excessive sentimentality, especially in music or films. At the end of the film the audience were drowned in a sea of schmaltz
calumny he making of false and defamatory statements about someone in order to damage their reputation; slander. The editor refused to publish the calumny that could possibly destroy the politician’s career.
sapiosexual One who finds intelligence the most sexually attractive feature. “I want an incisive, inquisitive, insightful, irreverent mind. I want someone for whom philosophical discussion is foreplay. I want someone who sometimes makes me go ouch due to their wit and evil sense of humor. I want someone that I can reach out and touch randomly. I want someone I can cuddle with.
I decided all that means that I am sapiosexual.”
sully damage the purity or integrity of, make dirty Ashes and dirt sullied his uniform and made him sneeze.
mull think about something deeply at length government needs to seriously mull corrective measures to eliminate increasing incidents of crime in the capital.
Schadenfreude pleasure derived by someone from another person’s misfortune. When the winning team saw their rivals saddened by defeat, they felt a sense of schadenfreude.
paucity presence of something in small or insufficient quantities. Even though the school claims to be a major university, it has merely a paucity of courses for students to take.
arrears unpaid overdue debt, unfulfilled obligation With its failure to repay the roughly 1.6 billion euros ($1.8 billion) to the IMF, Greece becomes the first developed country to fall into arrears
alter ego An intimate, trusted friend My sister is my alter ego.
clairvoyance the supposed faculty of perceiving things or events in the future or beyond normal sensory contact, psychic abilities Although Heather is not a clairvoyant, she is very good at predicting how others will respond to certain incidents.
echelon a level or rank in an organization, profession or society Because Bill is at the highest echelon of his company, he receives a huge salary.
bigotry intolerance towards those who hold different opinions from oneself. Because Helen is very close-minded, many people consider her to be a bigot.

Commonly Used Idioms Part -3

Want to add more spice to your writing ? Here are some more idiomatic expressions that will make your piece piquant and exciting.

Idiom Meaning Sentence
Make a pig of oneself to eat too much, too fast or too noisily Please don’t embarrass me by making a pig of yourself in the party.
Leave someone high and dry To leave someone helpless. All the children ran away and left Billy high and dry to take the blame for the broken window.
Latch Onto To become closely connected to someone or something,

Get hold or grasp of something

More and more countries latched onto computer technology as an important tool for development.

Carol quickly latched on to how the sewing machine works

Rub the wrong way To irritate He rubbed many people in his office the wrong way by his cockiness.
Go hell for leather To go somewhere or do something very quickly. He was going hell for leather to go to his school as he was already late.
Have one’s moment in the sun A brief instance in which an otherwise obscure, unremarkable, or humble person draws attention. That band got their moment in the sun during the 70s
Bend over backwards to work very hard to accomplish something for someone

to try very hard to do something, especially to help or please someone else

He will bend over backwards to help you.

The government is bending over backwards to garner people’s support.

Drive up the wall To annoy or irritate someone All his talk about moving to California nearly drove me up the wall.
Bend someone’s ear To talk to someone perhaps annoyingly Jake has been bending Jill’s ears for over an hour.
Fend/shift for oneself To take care and provide for one’s own self ,instead of depending on others. Jim’s parents do not have to worry about Jim. He is very good at fending/shifting for oneself.
Duck and cover To dodge a difficult issue or a question. The candidate’s first reaction to the questions from the opposition was to duck and cover.
fight tooth and nail To fight with the ferocity and intensity of an animal, using all one’s resources. The NGO workers fought tooth and nail for the oppressed to get their land back from the crooked landlords.
tongue in cheek if you say something as tongue and cheek, you say it as a joke, although it might seem serious. “I am always the one who is responsible for anything bad that happens in Indian cricket”,Dhoni gave a tongue-in-cheek reply to a question at the post-match press conference after India suffered the ignominy of their first ever series defeat against Bangladesh.
hold one’s horse To wait for a moment Please hold your horses before disregarding my idea. Let me explain you the benefits.
make no bones about To make no bones about something means to say something in a way that leaves no doubt, or to have no objection to it, to say something frankly and directly. He made no bones about his constant failure at his job.
love you to the moon and back love you more than anything. I love you to the moon and back.
make ends meet Manage so that one’s financial means are enough for one’s needs On that salary Enid had trouble making ends meet.

Build Your Vocabulary – Part 3

Words , words everywhere , too many words to learn ..!!

Word Meaning Sentence
Quid Pro Quo (“something for something” in Latin) means an exchange of goods or services, where one transfer is contingent upon the other. The quid pro quo between the government and smugglers raises suspicion.
contingent dependent Our purchase of the house is contingent upon having the roof re-done.
nefarious Wicked or criminal To call that handicapped woman names is not only mean, but it is nefarious.
chagrin feel distressed or humiliated. To her chagrin, Jill placed second in the beauty pageant.
shenanigan silly or high-spirited behaviour; mischief. Billy and Tom are playing noisily upstairs again. They’re up to their usual shenanigans.
statute Written law passed by a legislative body Some legal experts say conflict of interest is not an issue to be dealt with by statute.
furlough Leave of absence In cases of parole the circumstances are stricter as compared to furlough and the prisoner has to prove that someone in his family is unwell and depends on the prisoner for his well-being.
cajole persuade (someone) to do something by sustained coaxing or flattery. His wife hoped to cajole her husband into buying her a diamond necklace.
intractable difficult or stubborn, hard to deal with The economic problems of this country are becoming intractable.
fulminate express vehement protest Students fulminated against the pre-poned exams.
braggart one who boasts or brags about his achievements or possessions ; braggadocio – boastful or arrogant behaviour You should achieve great things in life but stay humble. There is no respect for a braggart.
Cynical Cynicism – an attitude or state of mind characterized by a general distrust of others’ motives believing that humans are selfish by nature, ruled by emotion, and heavily influenced by the same primitive instincts that helped humans survive in the wild before agriculture and civilization became established. After being dumped by his girlfriend, Jack was cynical about dating other women.
Redress remedy or compensation When agents of the state indulge in serious crimes and violation of fundamental rights, the judiciary is the only redress available to a citizen.
Ambit scope, extent The military powers do not come under the ambit of judiciary.
egregious shockingly bad Although the police officers had the right to approach the suspect, they did not have the right to make egregious comments to him.
culpapble deserving blame Mercy killings are less culpable than ordinary murders”
rife widespread Speculations were rife about the actress having an affair with his co-star.
coterie a small group of people with shared interests or tastes Jane and her coterie of social activists work for the empowerment of women.
grouse complaint, cause for unhappiness Jim’s primary grouse for not going to the party is his sartorial disappointment. He does not like his blazer.
gravitas dignity, seriousness or solemnity of manner A leader must have gravitas and be capable of commanding respect from others.
ignominy public shame or disgrace “I am always the one who is responsible for anything bad that happens in Indian cricket”,Dhoni gave a tongue-in-cheek reply to a question at the post-match press conference after India suffered the ignominy of their first ever series defeat against Bangladesh.
tardiness quality of being late, lateness Please excuse me for my tardiness. I was stuck in traffic.
dud failing to meet expectations,unsatisfactory, faulty Many of his dud articles were rightfully rejected.
promenade a paved public walk, typically along a seafront It is said that on a fine day, more than 1000 bikes can be found on the Promenade at a time.
belligerent hostile and aggressive While the members of the president’s cabinet wanted him to take a belligerent stance against a neighboring country, the president sought a peaceful compromise.

Commonly Used Idioms – Part 2

One can never have enough of spicy English Idioms. So here is the second part for the list of idioms.

Idiom Meaning Sentence
Bat an eyelid To not show any shock or surprise With both the eurozone and US in economic doldrums,aid from these sources have dried up; hence African nations do not bat an eyelid while accepting Chinese aid,which comes with strings attached.
Strings attached Special demands or constrains
At the crack of dawn Very early in the morning He used to get up at the crack of the dawn to study for his exams.
An apple of discord The root cause of a fight The ancestral property was the apple of discord between the two brothers.
Fall off the back of a lorry Something that is very cheap or acquired in a dishonest way or stolen. This laptop is very cheap. Did it fall of the back of a lorry?
Get an earful To have a lot to listen,often used for criticism and unwanted suggestions Modi got an earful for remark that Bangladesh PM is fighting terror ‘despite being a woman’.
On a knife edge In a difficult situation and worried about future Talks between Nitish and Lalu appears to be on a knife’s edge.
To cut corners When something is done badly to save money If a company tries to cut corners on quality, it risks losing customers.
Let the cat out of the bag To reveal information that was previously concealed He let the cat out of the bag and told us about his girlfriend.
An eagle’s eye If someone has an eagle’s eye, he/she has very accurate vision My father has an eagle’s eye– he saw the small dent on the rear of the car.
A left handed compliment a remark which seems approving but which is also negative The senator said that her opponent was quite competent for someone so inexperienced; you hear nothing but left-handed compliments in these debates
Wax and wane to increase and then decrease, as the phases of the moon. Voter sentiment about the tax proposal waxes and wanes with each passing day.
Turn the other cheek to ignore abuse or an insult When she yelled at him, he turned the other cheek.
Carve a niche To create one’s own style or position Actor R Madhavan has managed to carve a niche for himself both in the Southern film industry and Bollywood
Bone of contention Point of argument The question of a fence between the houses has become quite a bone of contention between the neighbors.
Spill the beans to give away a secret or a surprise. There is a surprise party for Heidi on Wednesday. Please don’t spill the beans. Paul already spilled the beans about Heidi’s party.

Build Your Vocabulary Part-2

English language is an ocean of words, phrases, idioms, proverbs. The moment you feel complacent that you have sailed across this ocean, you realize that you have not even left the land. It was just a wave that had hit you while you were standing on the shore. Such is the infiniteness. And so I believe, even if I cover 10,000 parts of vocabulary section, it will be a mere drop. Nevertheless, let’s just keep going drop by drop. Here is part -2 for the vocabulary section.

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Word Meaning Sentence
acrimonious Bitter, angry, ascerbic (usually of speech/discussion) The acrimonious dispute for ancestral property between two brothers brought shame to  family’s name.
hegemonistic Referring to political domination,hegemony China’s hegemonistic ambitions to conquer coveted resources of Africa clearly indicates that China aspires to be a superpower in the coming decades.
reinvigorate Give new energy or strength to something After economic depression, the banking sector reinvigorated the economy of the country.
prescience The fact of knowing something in advance, foreknowldege We could not deny the fortuneteller’s prescience when his prophecies were realized.
venerable Commanding respect by virtue of age, dignity, character or position The venerable investment bank Lehman Brothers filed bankruptcy on 15th September,2008  which led to the  great economic crisis.
kaput Broken and useless, no longer working, demolished SBI had merged State Bank of Saurashtra in August 2008,jus a month before global meltdown was triggerd by Lehman brothers going kaput.
Phlegmatic Relaxed and peaceful

Four temperaments is a proto-psychological theory that suggests that there are four fundamental personality types, sanguine, choleric , melancholic, and phlegmatic.

The normal phlegmatic banker was shocked to hear of his bank going bankrupt.
sanguine Optimistic ,leader-like   I am sanguine about his career.
choleric Bad tempered, or irritable His choleric temperament did not earn him good friends.
melancholic Pensive sadness, analytical and quiet  After his failure in the exams, he became melancholic.

Determination slowly replaced melancholy and we returned to work.

Illiquid (of assets) not easily converted into cash. The bank faced a bankrupt situation because most of their assets had become illiquid.
audacity Boldness, fearlessness, impudence Only and only Kangana Ranaut could have done this. The ‘Queen’ of b-town has shown the audacity to refuse a movie with Salman Khan.
truce An agreement between  opponents to stop fighting for some time After general assembly’s heated debate, the speaker called for a temporary truce.
Vex Make someone feel annoyed,frustrated,worried The problem vexed him until he decided to face it.
Nepotism Patronage granted to relatives

By person with power/influence

We see a great deal of nepotism in Indian politics.
prerogative The exclusive right or power held by a person Since he was a senior member in the golf club, he had the prerogative to reject new member applications.
Kingpin a person or thing important for success of the organization or an operation Joint commissioner of police, southwestern range, Dependra Pathak said the kingpin of the gang, Vinod Kumar (42), set up RJJS in 2011 and then roped in Shiksha Chowdhary (28) and Anil Pandey (29) as co-directors of the unregistered NGO.
farce farce is a broad satire or comedy, though now it’s used to describe something that is supposed to be serious but has turned ridiculous. If a defendant is not treated fairly, his lawyer might say that the trial is a farce. The trial was a complete farce, the jury obviously knowing their verdict before proceedings even began.
adept Skilled or proficient at something Mark is an adept juggler who can easily manager four balls in the air without dropping one.
ebullient cheerful,full of energy The ebullient song was so uplifting that I danced in my chair.
vagary an unexpected and inexplicable change in a situation or in someone’s behaviour Today’s stock market vagary cost investors millions of dollars.
innocuous not offensive or harmful Because the virus was innocuous, the hospital staff had no need to worry about the leak.
alacrity brisk and cheerful readiness She accepted the invitation with alacrity.
sartorial related to dress There were no sartorial distractions this time when Modi visited Bangladesh.
sojourn a temporary stay My husband’s perfect idea of a sojourn is a two-nights stay at a secluded cabin in front of a stream overflowing with fish.
brevity shortness of time, use of exact words I hope the chief guest exercises brevity in his speech today.I am tired of listening.

Inspite of the brevity of his shopping trip, he bought a lot of things

grappled engage in a close fight or struggle India has grappled with terror — internally and externally — for a long time.
umbrage annoyance, offence She took umbrage to my joke.
cognizant have knowledge or awareness I am fully cognizant of the side-effects drugs will have on my health.
sacrilege misuse of something regarded as sacred It is considered an act of sacrilege for anyone to touch the sacred statue.
blasphemy the action or offence of speaking sacrilegiously about God or sacred things; profane talk. When Jake made a joke in church, his mother accused him of blasphemy.

Phrasal Verbs ( Introduction – A)

Phrasal verbs are verbs which when combined with different propositions/adverbs change the meaning of the verb. The meaning of the phrasal verb is very different from the actual verb. Sometimes, reader might geta confusion about the usage of idioms and phrasal verbs. What is the difference between the two? More importantly, is there a difference? Yes, there is. That is why they are defined in two different categories.

Idioms are phrase or fixed expressions (which may contain verbs, nouns ,adjectives etc.) that convey a meaning different from the meaning of the individual words. The words cannot be broken down to understand the meaning of an idiom.

e.g

Idiom Meaning Sentence
At the crack of dawn Early in the morning Birds start singing at the crack of the dawn.

A phrasal verb is a group of words(verb+adverb/preposition/particle) used together as a verb with a meaning different from the individual words when broken down. But the difference here is phrasal verbs are verbs. So we can say, phrasal verbs are idiomatic verbs.

Phrasal Verb Meaning Sentence
Get up leave bed after waking up He used to get up at the crack of the dawn to study for his exams.

Here is a list of commonly used Phrasal verbs (starting with A ):

Phrasal Verb Meaning Sentence
Act up Not behave properly, not work properly (for machines) My laptop is acting up.

I scolded my son because he was acting up.

Ask out Ask for a date He has not asked her out yet.
Ask over/round To invite someone to one’s home I have asked him over/round for lunch.
Ask around ask people the same question I asked around but nobody has seen my purse.
Ask in To invite someone James is knocking on the door. Please ask him in.
Ask after To enquire about someone

‘ s health

I called dad to ask after my grandmother.
Ask about To enquire how someone is doing, a general information about  someone’s well being He called to ask about my brother.
Ask for To request for “I had asked for tea, but I have not got it yet”, customer complained to the manager.

She is in great trouble after arguing with the boss. But his boss is not at fault. She asked for it.

Abide by Follow a rule or decision We have to abide by  the company’s policy.
Argue down To beat someone in a discussion or argument He tried to argue the child down, but he could’nt.

Build Your Vocabulary

Sometimes, we can’t think of words that exactly describe our feelings – we might use a big sentence to pen down what we think, but if we can consolidate our thoughts in one word, the impact is far reaching and the writer is said to have come of age.

Here is a list of words with their meanings and example sentences which regularly appear in editorials and articles but we don’t know their exact meaning. Treat yourself to this pool of English words and use them in your creative writing piece to enhance the reading experience without overburdening the reader.

Disclaimer: Some example sentences are figment of my imagination, and some are directly taken from the editorial/articles from where I have picked the word. Nowhere, I have expressed my personal opinion.

Word Meaning Sentence
Fiefdom an organization or real estate, owned or controlled by one dominant person or group Sushma Swaraj cited figures to argue that the new government’s hands-on foreign policy was the result of team work and wasn’t any individual’s fiefdom.
Pariah Outcast No Indian PM has so far visited Israel, a country usually considered as pariah due to the fears of a backlash from Islamic nations and the Muslim community.
Iconoclastic Attacking/criticizing  traditional beliefs But the Modi government has revealed that it is going to fashion its foreign policy in an iconoclastic manner
Fashion (verb) to make into a particular form But the Modi government has revealed that it is going to fashion its foreign policy in an iconoclastic manner.
burgeon begin to grow or increase rapidly; flourish We go on a whirlwind ride with Kangana’s wild-child Tanu and her quiet and burgeoning from everywhere husband Manu (Madhavan).
Libertarian A political philosophy that upholds liberty as its principal objective. Libertarians seek to maximize autonomy and freedom of choice, emphasizing political freedom, voluntary association and the primacy of individual judgement. The free will which Leibnitz teaches is not libertarian but determinist.
Capsizing (of a boat) Overturned in water Pregnancy kept capsizing my relationship with my wife and I was struggling to stay afloat
Banter the playful and friendly exchange of teasing remarks Origin Of emoticon:

The emoji was invented in 1982, as a group of Carnegie Mellon researchers were using an online bulletin board to joke about what would happen if their building’s elevator cable were cut. Realising that this banter might be take a morbid(unpleasant) turn if read literally, they invented the “:)” to clear up the fact that they were only messing around.

                                Gauche Unsophisticated & socially awkward Invented only three decades back, emojis (emoticons) are seen today as non-standard and, in fact, decidedly gauche.
Palpable readily or plainly seen, heard, perceived, etc.; obvious; evident:

Capable of being touched

The sense of disgust is clearly palpable as the womb was seen as the “source of all disease” and women were said to “leak menstrual blood, sexual lubricant, lochial discharge after giving birth, and yeast infections (leucorrhea).”
Privy Sharing in the knowledge of I haven’t really read the excerpts of that book. Also I am not privy to any private conversation between two individuals. I have not heard about this before and I have no idea what happened and I would not want to make any comment,” Dravid commented to the press during the rehashing of the controversy surrounding the 2007 World Cup.
Belittle To make something less important, depreciate Re-iterating his speech in Mathura on the day the government completed its first year in office, Modi also hit out at the opposition and accused them of belittling the government’s achievements.
Reiterate To say something again and again, repeat for emphasis or clarity Modi reiterated his speech in Mathura in an interview to DNA
acolytes A person who assists the celebrant in the performance of liturgical rites.

A devoted follower or attendant.

Modi’s statement is intended to camouflage what goes on as a routine business by his government and Sangh Parivar acolytes,” he said.
Schizophrenic Something relating to a mental disorder characterized by hallucinations,delusions, and conflicting personalities “I was going schizophrenic because I was doing Marathi dialect training for my role as Kashibai in Bajirao Mastani and American dialect training simultaneously. I was losing my mind and forgot what I was supposed to sound like,” said Priyanka.
Impunity Exemption from punishment,penalty or harm,with no care or heed for consequences The impunity with which doctors give LGBTs shock therapy shows why gay-sex ban must go
Pander To cater to the lower castes and desires of other or exploit their weakness The action by Naz Foundation follows an expose by a media house that showed  several doctors in New Delhi peddling alleged cures for homosexuality, pandering to the assumption that it is a disease.
Nostalgic experiencing or exhibiting nostalgia, a sentimental or wistful yearning for the happiness felt in a former place, time, or situation. I was feeling nostalgic when I visited my school after 10 years.
Xenophobia dislike of or prejudice against people from other countries Racism and xenophobia are staedily growing in Europe.
       Mirth amusement, especially as expressed in laughter As FIFA gets rid of its controversial president, mirth ensues on Twitter.
Racketeering criminal activity that is performed to benefit an organization such as a crime syndicate. Examples of racketeering activity include extortion, money laundering, loan sharking, obstruction of justice and bribery. Blatter was re-elected for a fifth term as FIFA president just five days ago, amidst corruption charges swirling around the world football body as former FIFA vice-president, Jack Warner, current vice presidents Jeffrey Webb and Eugenio Figueredo were among those arrested last week on charges of fraud, racketeering and money laundering conspiracies.
Vagabond a person who wanders from place to place without a home or job For four years, he led a vagabond life.
Unabated Without any reduction in strength or intensity Global warming, caused by an unabated use of fossil fuels, is bound to increase average temperatures everywhere.
Jinx A person or thing that is believed to bring bad luck. Some planned exchanges by Indian defence ministers to Israel did not materialise and Moshe Ya’alon broke this jinx when he came for the Aero Show in February this year.
vis-à-vis in relation to; with regard to At the same time, Modi cannot ignore domestic criticisms over Israel’s policies vis-à-vis the Palestinians.
Schism a split or division between strongly opposed sections or parties, caused by differences in opinion or belief. Modi also would be aware of the internal schism that haunts the Palestinians: President Abbas travels world over but for since taking office in 2005 he was unable to set foot on the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, the other part of Palestine.
Nonchalant feeling or appearing casually calm and relaxed; not displaying anxiety, interest, or enthusiasm The nonchalant attitude by the police to the bus burning has got a few people in Ramsay Street talking.
Moot subject to debate, dispute, or uncertainty A half-way solution, said Gupta, could lie in getting the food industry to produce vitamin fortified food. “The children are not going to stop eating junk food,” she said. “The least we can do is make it more healthy to consume.” What happens then if Lays makes multivitamin enriched chips? And Coca Cola makes an iron fortified Pepsi? It’s a moot question.
Petrichor a pleasant smell that frequently accompanies the first rain after a long period of warm, dry weather. Other than the petrichor emanating from the rapidly drying grass, there was not a trace of evidence that it had rained at all
Bucolic Relating to the pleasantness of the countryside and country life The farmhouse was giving a bucolic feeling

A bucolic poen/verse

apparition A ghost or a ghost like image of a person In my childhood, my grandma used to read to me stories of ghost. The apparition described by her used to haunt me for days.
rambunctious Uncontrollably exuberant ,boisterous The rambunctious dogs played in the park.
nifty Skillful, attractive, stylish A nifty jewelry piece
rummage search unsystematically and untidily through something. I rummaged in my bag for my phone.

He rummaged in his pocket for handkerchief

infallible incapable of making mistakes or being wrong, never failing ,always effective Ayurvedic cures might be slow in showing their effects but they are infallible.
blithely Casual, happy and carefree I blithely played in the pool , knowing Sajal is there to watch over me(to carefully watch /guard)
Bludgeon Thick stick with a heavy end.

beat (someone) repeatedly with a bludgeon or other heavy object.

She was found bludgeoned to death in the basement
Traction The act of drawing or pulling, especially  by motive power

The action of drawing a body, vehicle, train, or the like, along a surface.

The government has not yet realized that an economy as large as India’s needs time and space to pick up traction.
Euphoria a feeling or state of intense excitement and happiness. There is an air of eyes shut make believe in this government’s first year euphoria.
Penchant a strong or habitual liking for something or tendency to do something He has a penchant for pet dogs.
Recalcitrant Having an obstinately uncooperative attitude towards authority or discipline While claiming that the “expectations from the Modi government were realistic”, Mr. Jaitley has put the blame on a recalcitrant Opposition, which, according to him, has put many a roadblock before the government’s efforts to fulfil its mandate.
Debilitating Making weak While shrinking winter-spans are considered by specialists as a sure sign that climate change is a reality we cannot ignore, at the other end of the spectrum, hot summers are no less debilitating.
aficionado A person who is enthusiastic and knowledgeable about an activity, connoisseur Since she is a Sudoku aficionado, she finds it very easy to pass time when she is traveling all by herself.
Scion A descendant of a notable family The scion of the Gandhi family, Rahul Gandhi has a great responsibility on his shoulders to uphold the reputation of his family.
Petulant  ill-tempered, irritable She is not liked by many because of her petulant demeanor.
Capricious Unpredictable changes of mood and behavior,unpredictable,impuslive His capricious business decisions led to his downfall.

Commonly Used Idioms

We all love spicy food (the degree of spiciness may vary ! ). Who would want to eat bland food everyday?

Idioms play the same role in writing as spice does in food. They take the reading experience to an entirely different level, often adding humour and layers to writing as the author desires.So,budding authors, if you want to hold the attention of your readers and at the same time provide them a layered experience of reading, start using idioms to convey your thoughts in an indirect but spicy way !

I came across the following idioms while reading news articles/editorials/web searches, hence have compiled the list using the same sentence as examples for better understanding of the reader.

Disclaimer: Some example sentences are figment of my imagination, and some are directly taken from the editorial/articles from where I have picked the idiom. Nowhere, I have expressed my personal opinion

Idiom Meaning Sentence
Takes the cake Most extreme example of something I have known many dumb girls but she takes the cake.

Tanu Weds Manu Returns  takes the cake by garnering more than Rs 70 crore net box office for first week in the domestic market.

Smiling ear to ear Looking extremely happy With Tanu Weds Manu Returns  and Piku  earlier in the month, Bollywood trade pundits are smiling ear to ear, hoping that the good run at the box office is carried forward by releases in June like Zoya Akhtar’s Dil Dhadakne Do  and ABCD 2
Fall for something hook ,line and sinker To completely believe in something someone tells you that is not true The audience fell for the baseless plot of the drama hook,line and sinker
Fall for somebody hook, line and sinker To fall very much in love with someone Sajal fell for Ana hook,line and sinker
Cynosure of someone’s eyes An object/person that serves as a focal point of attention and admiration Aishwarya & Abhishek were the cynosure of all eyes at the Amfar Gala Cannes festival
Apple of one’s eyes Favourite or precious and dear to someone (aankhon ka tara) Aaradhya is the apple of Aishwarya’s eyes.
At the drop of a hat Suddenly, immediately, when you do something at the drop of a hat, you do it suddenly and easily, often without any preparation When I was depressed, I used to cry at the drop of a hat.

We now have a situation where laws are bent at the drop of a hat.

Eat your words To take back one’s words

to admit that what you said is wrong

John was wrong about the election and had to eat his words

Did you say that two mainstream actresses cannot be friends? You might have to eat your words when you see Priyanka & Anushka in Dil Dhadkne Do

Let your hair down to relax and enjoy yourself without worrying what other people will think Let your hair down and just have some fun at the party !
Run of the mill Ordinary, not special He was a run of the mill singer. That ‘why everyone was shocked when he won the singing competition.
Top Brass The highest leader, the boss But the TOI reported that nobody in the BCCI top brass wanted to divulge any details on the exact reason.
Turning a blind eye To ignore something and pretend that you do not see it Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also been accused of turning a blind eye when churches are attacked or minorities are subjected to violence but on Monday, in a strongly worded message, he finally spoke out on the issue of discrimination against minorities
To have a way with the words To have the skill in effective and stylish use of words The former actress, who is now known for her way with words and her witty sense of humour, posted about her son Aarav, who if we might add, seems to have taken after his mother.
Dying down to fade to almost nothing; to decrease gradually. A controversy surrounding alleged high levels of lead in some packets of Maggi has hogged the headlines and is showing no signs of dying down.
Come under fire To be criticized And this time it wasn’t just Maggi! Several high-profile Bollywood celebrities — Amitabh Bachchan, Madhuri Dixit and Priety Zinta — came under fire for endorsing the brand over the years.
Order of the day Something necessary or usual at a certain time Amitabh Bachchan posted on his blog on the occasion of his 42nd wedding anniversary, “Self wishes are the order of the day .They serve both ways. They convey to you the Ef, of my marriage anniversary … and they inform the wife that she has not been forgotten even though she is not in the country at this moment .”

Going to bed early was the order of the day when we were young.

Foot in the mouth When you put your foot in your mouth you say or do the wrong thing and usually make matters worse. I really put my foot in my mouth when I asked her how her husband was. I forgot that he died last year.

Every time he speaks he puts his foot in his mouth.

Bums on seat If a public performance or a sports event puts bums on seats, many people pay to go and see it If you are an actor/producer/director/singer who can ensure adequate bums on seat, the Hindi film industry does not give two hoots about where you came from or anything else you do.
Give two hoots if you do not give a hoot about something or someone, you do not care about them at all (informal) If you are an actor/producer/director/singer who can ensure adequate bums on seat, the Hindi film industry does not give two hoots about where you came from or anything else you do.
Sweep/shove under the carpet to hide or ignore something You could tell from her interviews that having been a porn star was not something Leone was looking to shove under the carpet.
More than meet the eyes Hidden values or facts regarding something. There is more to her death than meets the eye – she was probably murdered.
There is no such thing as free lunch something that you say which means that if someone gives you something, they always expect you to give them something or to do something for them He offered me a room in his house, but he seems to expect me to do all the housework. I should have known there’s no such thing as a free lunch.
Don’t judge a book by its cover youcannotjudgethequality or character of someone or somethingjust by looking at them She doesn’t look very intelligent, but you can’t judge a book by its cover.
Hue & cry A public clamor/outcry, for protest or demand Arvind kejriwal raised a great hue and cry about political corruption
Be at loggerheads if two people or groups are at loggerheads, they disagree strongly about something The ruling and the opposition party of the Indian Government are still at loggerheads over the Land Acquisition Bill
Clear the air To get rid of doubts or hard feelings. There were many speculations about the relationship turning sour for the celebrity couple. But he cleared the air by saying that every relationship has its share of hardships.
Up the ante increase what is at stake or under discussion, especially in a conflict or dispute. The congress government just upped the ante for political corruption
A penny for your thoughts Used to ask someone what they are thinking about Sajal looked pensive. I said “A penny for your thoughts!”.
Wouldn’t be caught dead if someone wouldn’t be seen dead in a particular place or doing a particular thing, they would never do it, usually because it would be too embarrassing Sajal would’nt be caught dead on the dance floor.
Sit on the fence Not to take sides in a dispute; not to make a clear choice between two possibilities. I don’t know whom I am going to vote for in the coming elections. I am sitting on the fence.
Between the devil and the deep blue sea you must choose between two equally unpleasant situations A choice of party in the coming elections is like a choice between the devil and the deep blue sea. No matter which party comes to power, the country will suffer.
Once in a blue moon Happens very rarely Sajal – in a romantic mood ? That happens once in a blue moon.
Give wings to Inspire someone to achieve great things The inspirational session by the motivational speaker gave wings to my dreams.
Come of age something or someone that has come of age has reached full, successful, development

if someone has come of age, the

person is an adult and legally responsible for his/her behavious

The Indian architecture has come of age in the past 10 years.

She will celebrate her coming of age birthday party (21st) at Goa.