Words bounce

Play a while

One neologism for politicians anywhere is ‘bouncebackability’. Their return to the headlines after disgrace, their sheer stubborn staying power deserve this term. Bouncebackability was coined in the context of soccer for the enthusiastic return of a losing team to winning form and it was picked up in other contexts later.

Learn a little

Language proficiency and assessment take up a lot of space everywhere. Dependable assessment of proficiency in a language helps employers and educators select candidates but each person can keep tabs on his/her own language ability. Language use is quite like the bounce of a ball, if the ball keeps bouncing in the game, every player enjoys the game but if the ball does not reach every player regularly there is boredom. Language, all said and done, means communication and if the ball does not roll in communication, what is the point of such language? So, in any given situation, just check to see if you are the odd one out who halts/slows/drops the ball and remedy it. 

Intriguing words

‘Thesis’ has a story behind it. This word originally referred to the setting down of the foot or the lowering of the hand in keeping time with the beat. Originally, in Greek it comes from ‘tithenai’, ‘to place’ and was also used for placing a proposal or a proposition before any forum. In the 16th century, a thesis was a proposition laid down to be proved. In the 17th century, it reached the academic field; which is why a candidate is asked to ‘defend’ his/her thesis during the viva-voce.

Precise usage

Anything open to objection is ‘exceptionable’ and anything unusual is ‘exceptional’. As, for instance, ‘exceptionable behaviour should not be accepted in the parliament’ and ‘the team performed exceptionally well’. Similarly ‘exhausting’ means ‘tiring’ as in ‘the summer heat is exhausting’ but ‘exhaustive’ means ‘thorough’ as in ‘the list of furniture for the office is quite exhaustive’. Along the same lines, liquor refers to any alcoholic drink and liqueur is a specific kind of alcoholic drink, typically a strong-flavored drink based on spirits and taken after a meal. All liqueurs are liquor but not vice-versa.