Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Benchmarks for building vocabulary

Do you find the need to know the meanings of all obscure words and learn new words but fail to do so because you can't retain all of them? Then you are at a right place. Our subconscious mind forgets the words which it can't relate to the other words. For instance,independent things can easily be omitted since it will not affect its surroundings and will not have any prominence of its absence.

So, in order to learn words that can be retained in your mind for a lifetime you must learn them by understanding its complete meaning, knowing its usage and its relation with the other words. Just cramming the word meanings is a complete wastage of time because you will eventually forget them.
The easiest way to keep hold on the new words you come across is by knowing the meaning of its prefix, suffix or the root.

Following are some of the examples of prefix and suffix with their meanings and usage in words:


  • Mis- / Miso- : "Hatred"
         Misanthrope: Mis+anthrope, Hatred for mankind(-Anthrope).
         Misarchy: Mis+archy, Hatred of Government(-Archy).
         Misopedia: Miso+pedia, Morbid Hatred of children(-Pedia).
         Misotheist: Miso+theist, Hatred of God(-theist).

  • Phil- : "lover"
         Philanthropist: Lover of humans.
         Philosopher: one who loves wisdom.
         Philomath: Love for learning.
         Philogynist: Philo+gynist, lover of women(-gyna).

  • Ver- : "true/truth"
         Verdict: True saying said by jury.
         Verify: to make sure something is true.
         Veracity: Truthfulness
         Veritable: Authentic
  • Hyper- : "over"
         Hyperactive: overly active.
         Hypertension: blood pressure over normal.
         Hypersensitive: Feeling of being over emotional.
         Hyperbole: Overly praising someone.      


  • -Cide: Comes from the Latin word cida that means "An act of killing"
          Use :
          Suicide : Killing oneself.
          Regicide : Killing a king.
          Infanticide : Killing and infant.
          pesticide : Killing of pests.
          Other examples like patricide, uxoricide, feticide, insecticide, matricide, etc.
  • -Ology: "A branch of knowledge"
           Etymology: Study of words.
           Pathology: Study of diseases.
           Anthropology: Study of humans
           Geology: Study of Earth.
           Other examples like astrology, mycology, neurology, ornithology, paleontology, etc.
  • -Archy / -Cracy : "rule/government"
          Anarchy: Government by none.
          Monarchy: Government by king.
          Democracy: Government by people.
          Plutocracy: Government by wealthy.
          Other examples like aristocracy, bureaucracy, Cryptarchy, hierarchy, etc.
  •  -Pathy : It may be used for one of the three meanings 
  • "Denoting feelings"
                  Antipathy: Feeling opposite/dislike.
                  Apathy: Lack of any feeling.
                  Empathy: Ability to understand feelings of others.
                  Sympathy: Feelings of pity.

  • "Disorder in particular part of body"
                   Cardiopathy : A heart disorder
                   Sociopathy : Personality disorder
                   Psycopathy: Mental illness
                   Neuropathy: Disease of nerves
  • "Method of treating disorder"
                   Allopathy: Treating with drugs opposite to symptoms.
                   Osteopathy: Treatment through massage.
                   Homeopathy: Treatment by minute doses of natural substances.
                   Naturopathy: Treatment w/o any use of drugs.

Knowing just the literal(denotative) meanings of the words are not sufficient for having a good vocabulary, you must have the potential to get the suggestive(connotative) meaning that may be different from its literal meaning. To understand suggestive meaning you must know the commonly used idioms in daily life that suggests a meaning which is different from its literal meaning.


  1. A piece of cake : to find something very easy to do.
  2. A dog's life : hard and unpleasant life.
  3. Book worm : always into the books.
  4. Bread and butter : basic needs of life.
  5. Be spoon fed : discourage independent thoughts and actions
  6. Cold fish : who doesn't show how they feel.
  7. Couch potato : lazy
  8. Cost an arm and a leg : very expensive.
  9. Down the road : Sometime in future.
  10. Dark horse : A secretive person. 
  11. Bite your tongue: Stop yourself from saying something.
  12. Break a leg: Good Luck!
  13. Go off the rails: Start behaving in an unacceptable way.
  14. A cat nap: A short sleep.
  15. To be in the same boat : Be in same situation.
  16. Cup of tea : something that one enjoys.
  17. Chance your arm : To take a chance.
  18. Cash cow : business that makes a lot of money.
  19. Dressed up like dog's dinner : overdressed
  20. Dead set against : completely opposed.
  21. Drop off the twig : to die.
  22. Be all ears : waiting eagerly to hear about something.
  23. Be in your glad rags : dressed up in your party clothes.
  24. Be a chicken : coward.
  25. Be in your birthday suit : be naked.
  26. Bottom line : The total/final figure.
  27. Blood money : money gained from death of some other person.
  28. At the drop of a hat : to make a decision very quickly.
  29. Apple of my eye : Someone that one likes a lot.
  30. A bean counter : refers to an Accountant.

Discovering new words can be fun and serves to be very productive at the same time !!

Do share your valuable views :)


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