Friday, February 4, 2011

Ambidextrous Vs. Ambisinister


Quite difficult looking words….aren’t they?

Let’s start with ‘Ambi’, which is common between the two words – Ambi is not a word but a root which means ‘both’ or ‘both sides’.

‘Ambidextrous’ is someone who is skillful in using both the right and left hand equally well.

Similarly, ‘Ambisinister’ is someone who is clumsy or unskillful with both the hands.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Cachinnate… laugh like a villain


Think the title makes it clear that Cachinnate means to laugh loudly, immodestly or continuously. 

But by the looks of it – the word Laugh and Cachinnate look so distant in meaning. There's nothing that connects the two words.

Pronounced as /Kæ-Ki-neit/

The sound æ is pronounced like the "a" in apple.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Jobbery = Job + Robbery


Job + Robbery…. 
That’s a portmanteau morph – discussed in one of my earlier posts.

Literally means using one’s public office or position of trust for the sake of improper private gain.

Reminds me of Karnataka CM Yeddyurappa's 18 land scams amounting to over 150 crores.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Pandora's box

Again, this is a part of Greek mythology.

Pandora was the first woman on Earth (again, do these story-creators find anyone other than women???). She was given a jar and was asked NOT TO OPEN it under any circumstance. It's believed Pandora's box (jar) contained all the evils of the world.

As usual, out of curiosity, she opened the box... all the evils were released. But she quickly closed the box - trapping the last one - HOPE inside the box.

So if, someone talks about the Pandora's box it means - a process once begun/ or something once done that only generates more complicated problems further.

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Story of Sandwich

Sandwich is supposed to have been popularized during the mid-18th century due to John Montague, the 4th Earl of Sandwich (a historic town).

Lord Sandwich was a busy man often occupied with long hours of work or was busy gambling and playing cards. To avoid getting his hands greasy, while at work/play; he ordered for meat to be served between two slices of bread. Gradually others started ordering food in the same fashion, calling it as "the same as Sandwich", which later went on to be called just "Sandwich".

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Monday, October 4, 2010

Cassandra - one who prophesies disasters

Cassandra is a person who predicts the future, especially about disasters and the bad things that are to happen. But that's not all. Even though each of the prophesies are true, no one will believe them

This word too is derived from Greek mythology and Cassandra was the daughter of Priam, the King of Troy. Apollo, the Greek god fell in love with Cassandra and promised her the gift of prophecy. But Cassandra cheated him, once she received the gift. Enraged at this, Apollo cursed that no one will believe her prophecies.

Cassandra foresaw the Trojan Horse (a plot by the Greeks to enter the city of Troy), the doom of Troy and even her own death.

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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Mythological Origins - Achilles Heel

The meaning for Achilles Heel is literally related to the heel of Achilles, which lead to his death. First let's know a little about Achilles, the Greek hero.

In Greek mythology, it's believed that when Achilles was a baby, his mother dipped him in the River Styx holding him by the heel. Since the river had miraculous powers, Achilles' whole body turned powerful and invincible; except for the heel which was held by his mother and so did not get dipped in the waters. His heel turned out to be the most vulnerable / weakest part in his body, despite him being the strongest warrior.

During the time of Trojan War (not exactly in the war), Achilles, the strongest warrior was killed by a fatal wound to his heel by Paris's arrow (probably poisoned).

So Achilles heel means a weakness or a vulnerable part.

Now, if you want to know a little more about the story of the Trojan War & why exactly Achilles was not killed in the war - Here it goes:


Achilles killed Hector (a Trojan prince) but even after killing, he does not return the body. Instead tied Hector's body to his chariot and dragged it around the battlefield for nine days. Finally, there was a divine intervention by two messengers and he agrees to return the body to Priam (King of Troy, Hector's father) for a heavy ransom to perform the funeral rites. After this, Paris (Hector's brother, Priam's son), who was unskilled and cowardly wounded Achilles' heel with an arrow from behind.

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