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The Indian Express Vocabulary 19th Jan 2018

Flag march

The Koreas agree to share a standard. Unfortunately, this cannot be read as a preamble to grand unification (एकीकरण).

Sport is a simulacrum (प्रतिकृति) for war, but in the Korean peninsula, it is also an instrument of peace. Following months of escalating regional tensions over Pyongyang’s grandstanding (दिखावटी/नुमाइशी) on the ICBM launch pad, the Koreas have agreed to march under a single flag at the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics and Paralympics in Pyeongchang, on the democratic side of the demilitarised (ग़ैरफ़ौजीकरण किया हुआ) zone. This is a welcome sign of a thaw (गरमाहट आना) across Asia’s most fragile faultline (दोष लाइन).

Laden with UN sanctions, Pyongyang has been wise enough to accept Seoul’s offer to turn the winter games into a “peace Olympics” — the original Olympics were indeed confidence building exercises — and a people-to-people process will now begin. Or maybe not. North Korea is already miffed (नाराज़) with South Korean president Moon Jae-in for crediting Donald Trump for helping make talks between the two nations possible, and warned that its athletes and managers are yet to travel south. Besides, soft diplomacy is only the can-opener. The can of worms is yet to be investigated. Will the talks give the two Koreas more insight into each others’ compulsions? Can North Korea be prevailed (जीत लेना) upon to climb down from the launch pad? There is absolutely no certainty about either outcome.

At the same time, no effort can be spared. The year has opened on a bleak (निराशाजनक) note, with the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report anticipating “intensified risks”, with the greatest impact feared from weapons of mass destruction. The pessimistic (निराशात्मक) outlook owes, in considerable measure, to anxieties (उत्सुकता) concerning North Korea. The ambivalent (उभयभावी) black humour of the parody (नकल करना) Twitter account DPRK News expresses it clearly: “US province of Hawaii is best known for colonised (उपनिवेश बसाना) inhabitants forced to wear flowers and grass, pineapple plantations and false missile alarms. People of Hawaii will be liberated (मुक्त) by true missile. Soon.”


1. Unification: the act or an instance of joining two or more things into one
Synonyms: combination, combining, connecting, connection, consolidation, coupling, junction, linking, merger, merging, union
Antonyms: breakup, disconnection, dissolution, disunion, division, parting, partition, schism, scission, split, detachment, divorcement, separation, severance
2. Simulacrum: An image or representation of someone or something.
Synonyms: likeness, painting, drawing, picture, portrait, illustration, sketch, diagram, artist’s impression
Antonyms: difference, entity, original, dissimilarity, opposite, unlikeness
3. Grandstanding: Seek to attract applause or favourable attention from spectators or the media.
4. Thaw: to go from a solid to a liquid state, Make or become friendlier or more cordial.
Synonyms: become friendlier, become more genial, become more sociable, loosen up, relax, become more relaxed, deliquesce, flux, fuse, melt, run, liquefy
Antonyms: harden, set, solidify, clot, coagulate, congeal, gel, jell, jelly, thicken
5. Miffed: Somewhat annoyed; peeved.
Synonyms: peeved, narked, browned off, hacked off
Antonyms: Pleased
6. Prevailed: to achieve victory (as in a contest)
Synonyms: conquer, win, triumph, hold up, keep up, last, hold out, survive
Antonyms: lose, decline, slip, slump, wane, collapse, fail, flop, fold, wash out
7. Bleak: causing or marked by an atmosphere lacking in cheer
Synonyms: black, gloomy, cheerless, chill, Cimmerian, cloudy, cold, comfortless, dark, darkening, depressing, depressive, desolate, dire, disconsolate, dismal, drear, dreary, dreich [chiefly Scottish], elegiac (also elegiacal), forlorn, funereal, glum, godforsaken, gray (also grey), lonely, lonesome, lugubrious, miserable, morbid, morose, murky, plutonian, saturnine, sepulchral, solemn, somber (or sombre), sullen, sunless, tenebrific, tenebrous, wretched
Antonyms: bright, cheerful, cheering, cheery, comforting, cordial, festive, friendly, gay, heartwarming, sunshiny, blithe, blithesome, buoyant, gay, jocund, jolly, joyful, joyous, merry, mirthful, encouraging, hopeful, optimistic
8. Pessimistic: emphasizing or expecting the worst
Synonyms: bearish, defeatist, despairing, downbeat, hopeless
Antonyms: hopeful, optimistic, Panglossian, Pollyanna, Pollyannaish (also Polyannish), rose-colored, rosy, upbeat
9. Anxieties: an uneasy state of mind usually over the possibility of an anticipated misfortune or trouble
Synonyms: agita, agitation, anxiousness, apprehension, apprehensiveness, care, concern, concernment, disquiet, disquietude, fear, nervosity, nervousness, perturbation, solicitude, sweat, unease, uneasiness, worry
Antonyms: unconcern, calm, calmness, content, contentment, ease, easiness, peace, peacefulness, placidity, placidness, quiet, quietude, sereneness, serenity, tranquillity (or tranquility), tranquilness
10. Ambivalent: having a mixture of opposing feelings
Synonyms: conflicted, equivocal
Antonyms: unambivalent, certain, decided, resolute, sure, unquestioning
11. Parody: a work that imitates and exaggerates another work for comic effect
Synonyms: burlesque, caricature, put-on, rib, send-up, spoof, takeoff, travesty
Words related: lampoon, mockery, satire, comedy, farce, humor, sketch, slapstick, squib
12. Colonised: Appropriate (a place or domain) for one’s own use.
Synonyms: settle, settle in, establish a colony in, people, populate, pioneer, open up, found
Antonyms: leave, grant independence to
13. Liberated: to set free (as from slavery or confinement)
Synonyms: discharge, disenthrall (also disenthral), emancipate, enfranchise, enlarge, free, loose, loosen, manumit, release, spring, unbind, uncage, unchain, unfetter
Antonyms: bind, confine, enchain, fetter, restrain, commit, immure, imprison, incarcerate, intern, jail, lock (up), handcuff, manacle, shackle, trammel

14. can of worms (idiom): situation that, once started, is likely to become problematic or have a negative outcome. Getting involved in theminor border conflict has become a can of worms for the country, with no end to the military engagement in sight. You can try reformatting your computer, but once you open that can of worms, you’ll probably be working on it for days.

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