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

frenchenglishwords      Do-you-speak-English

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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.

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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

Build Your Vocabulary – Part 4

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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.