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Word Power Made Easy Session 1, 2 & 3

Learning Vocabulary can be tricky, especially when one thinks of using the various vocabulary books available in the market. Among the hordes of material that we find ourselves flooded with, it is important for you to pick up the right book. We are here to help you with the options available. This is the first in the series of articles that will focus on books that any vocab enthusiast should look up.

In a way, Word Power Made Easy is like a cult movie for vocabulary; you will find its reference, fans and haters almost everywhere.

But what is its secret of success? Why do we find it in every corner and street where a vocabulary book is being sold? The answer is simple.

The book is:

  1. Intuitive in its teaching methodology
  2. It offers ample oppurtunities to practice words
  3. And it uses roots as clues to teach words, thereby multiplying the number of words one learns from a particular root/clue.

I guess the above is enough for an introduction for the book. Need more convincing? Well, let’s then study a small snippet from Session 1, 2 & 3 of the book (the book is organised in a series of chapters, with each being divided into multiple sessions).

Session 1: Personality Types

1. Egoist 

  • Me first. Every decision you make is based on the answer to one question: ‘What’s in it for me?’

2. Egotist

  • The height of conceit. You have only one string to your conversational bow, namely yourself; and on it you play a number of variations: what you think, what you have done; how good you are, how you would solve the problems of the world, etc.

3. Altruist 

  • Let me help you. You concern yourself with the welfare of others.

4.  Introvert

  • Leave me alone.

5. Extrovert

  • Let’s do it together. You are usually happy, generally full of high spirits; you love to be with people – lots of people.

6. Ambivert

  • Neither extreme. You have both introverted and extroverted tendencies – at different times and on different occasions.

7. Misanthrope

  • People are no damn good. Cynical, embittered, suspicious, you hate everyone.

8. Misogynist

  • Women are no damn good. Hate all women.

9. Misogamist

  • hates marriage. Members of the opposite sex are great as lovers, roommates, flat- or house-sharers, but not as lawfully wedded spouses.

10. Ascetic 

  • Self Denial, austerity, lonely contemplation – these are the characteristics of the good life, so you claim.

Session 2 : Origins and related words

1. Ego
    – Ego means I. Egoist and Egotist are built on same root ego. I is the greatest concern in egoist’s mind, the most overused word in egotist’s vocabulary.
    – If you are Egocentric, you consider yourself center of the universe – you are an extreme form of an egoist.
    – If you are Egomaniac, you carry egoism to such an extreme that your needs, desires, and interests have become a morbid obsession, a mania.
    – The egoist or egotist are obnoxious, the egocentric is intolerable, and egomaniac is dangerous and slightly mad.
2. Others
    – In Latin, the word for other is alter, and a number of valuable words are built on this root.
    – Altruism is the philosophy practiced by altruists which look towards the benefit of others.
    – If you alternate, you skip one and take the other.
    – If you have no other alternative, you have no other choice.
    – An alteration is of course a change – a making into something other.
    – When you alter your plans, you make other plans.
    – An altercation is a verbal dispute. When you have altercations with someone, you have a violent
disagreement, a ‘fight’ with words. Altercation, by the way is stronger than quarrel or dispute.
    – Alter ego, which combines alter, other with ego, I, self, generally refers to someone with whom
you are so close that you both do the same things, think alike, react similarly, and are in
temperament, almost mirror images of each other. Any such friend is your other I, your other
self, your alter ego.

Session 3: Origins and related words

1. Depends on how you turn

  • IntrovertExtrovert and Ambivert are built on the latin verb verto, to turn. If your thoughts are constantly turned inwards(intro), you are an introvert, outwards(extro-), an extrovert; and in both directions(ambi-), an ambivert.
  • The prefix ambi-, both, is also found in ambidextrous, able to use both hands with equal skill. The noun is ambidexterity.
  • Dextrous means skillful. The noun dexterity is skill.
  • The right hand is traditionally the more skillful one; it is only within the recent decades that we have come to accept that left handers are just as normal as anyone else – and the term left handed is still used as a synonym of awkward.
  • Dexter is actually the Latin word for right hand.
  • The Latin word for left hand is sinister, which in english, means threatening, evil, or dangerous, a further commentary on our early suspiciousness of left-hand persons.
  • The French word for left hand is gauche, which in english, means clumsiness, generally social rather than physical. A gauche remark is tactless; a gauche offer of sympathy is so bumbling as to be embarrassing. A gaucherie is an awkward, clumsy, tactless, embarrassing way of saying things or of handling situations.The gauche person is totally without finesse.
  • And the French word for the right hand is droit, which in English means skillful. The adroit person is quick-witted, can get out of difficult spots cleverly, can handle situations ingeniously. Adroitness is, then, quite opposite of gaucherie.

2. Love, hate, and marriage

  • MisanthropeMisogynist and Misogamist are built on the Greek root, misein, to hate. The misanthrope hates mankind; misogynist hates women and misogamist hates marriage.
  • Anthropos, means mankind. It is found in Anthropology, the study of development of human race, and in philanthropist, one who loves mankind and shows such love by making substantial financial contributions to charitable organizations or by donating time and energy to helping those in need.
  • The root, gyne, woman, is also found in gynecologist, the medical specialist who treats female disorders.
  • And the root gamos, marriage, occurs also in monogamybigamy and polygamy.
  • Monogamy is the custom of only one marriage (at a time).
  • Bigamy, by etymology, is two marriages – in actually, the unlawful act of contracting another marriage without divorcing one’s current legal spouse.
  • And polygamy, by derivation means many marriages, and therefore etymologically denoting plural marriage for either male or females, in current usage generally referes to custom practiced in earlier times by Mormons, and before them by King Solomon, in which man has as many wives as he can afford financially and/or emotionally. The correct, but rarely used term for this custom is polygyny – polys, many plus gyne, woman.
  • If a woman has 2 or more husbands, a form of marriage followed in Himalaya mountains of Tibet, that custom is called polyandry, from polys, many plus andros, male.

3. Living alone and liking it.

  • Ascetic is from Greek word asketes, monk or hermit.
  • A monk lives a lonely life – not for him the pleasures of the fleshpots, the laughter and merriment of convivial gatherings and dissipation of high living. Rather, days of contemplation, study, and rough toil, nights on a hard bed in a simple cell, and the kind of self denial that leads to a purification of the soul.
  • That person is ascetic who leads an existence, voluntarily of course, that compares in austerity, simplicity, and rigorous hardship with the life of monk.
  • The practice is asceticism, the adjective ascetic.
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