Wednesday, March 18, 2020

The Sagacious Seventh

In an entrance test I had once prudently pointed out that though gravity and gravitation are cognate, levity and levitation aren't. This could be confounding for some but amusing nuances for others. Such quirks make language or vocabulary learning fun. Not only the origin, sometimes the pronunciation is tricky: stifle but stiff, climate but proclivity, libel but liberty. Then there are those that are often mispronounced, like, regime, liaise, genre, lingerie, Grand Prix, avant-garde, awry and yet others whose stress on a syllable varies, as in the use of conduct, present, premise, close, etc as noun and verb. It helps to check the pronunciation and use of a word along with its meaning and part of speech.

While trying to meditate, I realized, my mind is never free of exploring these subtle differences. I'm always swirling in a maelstrom of myriad words and here I am to paint my subliminal thoughts in black and white, so they are saved for posterity. Whenever a labyrinth of unusual words enmeshes my mind, I attempt to club them up into relatively sensible sentences and save the motley assortment of statements here to help me jog my memory. A couple of such sentences that substantiated this morning to incarcerate some useful words and words that appear to be cognate but aren't are as below:

Can an exorcist be an extortionist and contortionist?

Is it always amusing to indulge in one's musings?

A gaunt man wielded a gauntlet to ward off any offensive move as he strolled down the dark alleys.

The fractious journalists, though ignorant of fractions, published an impeccable report on the infractions at a local institution.

If you found it funny, consider this:
They enjoined her to phrase an apt rejoinder for him as a means of well-deserved retribution/ recrimination.

Yes, names are meaningful. If you're interested, it's easy to figure out that Gladys originates from gladiolus, Charles means 'free man', William means 'vehement protector' and so on. But the interesting matter is that you can use some names, starting with lower case of course, like 'tom' and 'd**k', in sentences. 
And now here's two more:
Number of people affected by COVID-19 has ratcheted up globally since the nature  of it has been declared as 'pandemic'. Though the stringent social-distancing rules crafted by political leaders appears to harry us, it is the only way to peter out the spectre of the deadly invisible enemy. Flouting the rules is not anymore a personal hazard, it's a precarious condition that can spread across a community and so the leaders have been forced to met out harsh penalties if the norms are compromised.

An uxurious husband obliged to capture in oil-painting an image of his wife in cerulean silk sitting by a sea of catkins with her hair drawn into an elegant chignon, her wayward curls cascading from her temples to rest upon her toned shoulders.

A young girl eagerly waiting with her brother for a steam-engine-hauled train to trundle along the railway tracks that circumvent a carpet of catkins dancing beneath cotton-like clouds scudding across a bright sun in a clear blue sky is imagery that is close to all the people that share the part of geography I come from! It conjures a web of ineffable emotions - thanks to the renowned author and the eminent director who poured in life to the characters and who wears a crown of many jewels of which this famous trilogy is probably the brightest!

I've ensured my progeny has been talked to about the birds and the bees, so he doesn't stumble into uncharted territories dangerously ignorant.

A tippler teetered between his lust for alcohol and an urge to relinquish before giving in to his habit.

She stood there in her new pair of espadrilles mesmerized by the art using espaliers.

Fray as noun and verb has many different meanings none of which is even close to indicate anything opposite to 'defray'. Thank god, defray isn't used as much these days. I picked it up from The Speckled Band - one of Holmes's mysteries. However, the frayed Sorting Hat crafted by J. K. Rowling does come to my mind with the mention of 'fray'.

The bony yet bonny brunette whose humility knew no bounds was humiliated by her adversaries for no reason during the annual symposium at Seychelles.
It was God's gracious intervention that he agreed upon a suitable gratuity fund with his employer ignoring the gratuitous advice of his cunning colleagues.

I'll always be grateful to the graceful lady who guided me during my apprenticeship.

A cowboy was gored by a charging bull while he was struggling to goad his cattle across the farm - who knows what goaded the bull!

He gloated about how he floated on the blue waters of the Caribbean during his vacation.

It's possible to achieve the impossible if you set your heart upon it but is it possible to go pale if you are impaled by a needle?

The advent of summer heralded a season of fitful sleep as the soaring mercury and niggling humidity rendered the nights uncomfortable and unbearable.

After the war the colonel recapitulated how he saved his men from  being decapitated when his battalion had to capitulate to the enemy forces.

She was decollated (archaic) due to her decolletage (decollete).

The teachers overtly discussed the dilemmas the teenagers face in their meeting that was only an overture to a long debate.

Harry invested all his spare time to prepare for the investiture that he was invited to attend by the end of the year.

It was an incredible attempt to preclude the prejudiced politicians from including the alleged insurgents in the commission.

The hospitality exhibited by my affable friend during my stay at his place is ineffable.

The bespectacled lady in an immaculate bespoke suit conceded that she had a predilection for printed-silk couture inspite of the convenience of the contemporary trend  of ready-to-wear apparel, considering the proliferation of malls that are a fount of such clothes. 

They didn't show up as witnesses of the crime scene even when the police offered indemnity; they were scared of getting incriminated; impunity couldn't override their fear of the implication in the crime.

The name comes first when you need to identify a person. That combined with address, date of birth, and nowadays phone number, are often asked to prove your identity along with a panoply of official documents. While epithet and moniker are two well-known substitutes for the name, a lesser-used 'appellation' has been held up by Jeffrey Archer in the vengeful saga of Kane and Abel:
'Abel flushed to hear aloud the appellation he had whispered so often to his shaving mirror during the past few months.'
The others that are worth remembering are bynames, sobriquet (say saub-ri-kay), an honorific. It's prudent to add 'namesake' to the list of related words!

Verve is not a verb and nonce isn't always a noun. The outbreak of COVID-19 has wreaked havoc and the world leaders all over the world are rolling out generous aid to save the day for the nonce. Here it's used as an adjective. It's meaning as a noun is repulsive and such a person deserves to be behind the bars perpetually. 

COVID-19 is not only a galling grit that has encumbered the wheel of civilization but also is a source from which has stemmed dark conspiracy theories that would surely inspire some of the future noirs.

A school of thought within our university premises premised that the virus was transported to our atmosphere through a meteorite.

It was a pure musical decadence to soak in the cadence of the prima donna at the fag end of a fruitful day!

Inflections in English are eloquent of the diversity the language offers us.
You may have a remedy to a problem or you can be busy remedying a situation.
You may live in a lavish villa or you can indulge in lavishing your wealth on a villa!
You may act like an obstinate imbecile deliberately or you can deliberate over your plan to jump ship to a new workplace.
It's a great idea to look for these wonderful inflections and add more to your vocabulary with little extra effort.

Though this post looks like a ham-handed effort to boost one's vocab, it's an attempt to use alliteration, inflections and conflating similar words to highlight the differences between words that sound similar.

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