Weathering the Storm
Hello folks, welcome to the 18th GRE Preparation Word List Blog. This series of blogs aims to provide GRE aspirants with a comprehensive set of GRE Word Lists to bolster their GRE Verbal Preparation.
If you haven’t read our previous blogs, check them out here – GRE Preparation Word List Blogs Home Page
The last week has been a tough time, weather-wise, for a lot of people, in Chennai. Hope everyone’s doing better now.
And as the saying ‘Life imitates art, and art imitates life’ goes, it sparked the idea for the theme for this blog. This blog looks at GRE Preparation-Level words that have 2 meanings – 1 that’s associated with weather, and the other is an entirely different context.
The subtitle – ‘Weathering the storm’ is also a part of that theme.
Taken literally, it means getting through a patch of really bad weather. However, in a different context, it can mean getting through a really tough time in one’s life.
So, dive into the blog, for some sunny side up!
This week’s words are tempestuous, precipitous, frosty, whirlwind, and breezy.
Part of Speech – adjective
1. characterized by strong and turbulent or conflicting emotions.
2. very stormy.
Word Origins – Middle English: from Old French tempeste, from Latin tempestas ‘season, weather, storm’, from tempus ‘time, season’.
Synonyms – turbulent, blustery, volatile.
Usage – The prisoner’s tempestuous outburst was put to a stop after he was restrained by the bailiff.
Live Long and Prospero
The Tempest is a play by William Shakespeare, supposedly written in the early 1800s.
In the play, Prospero is the rightful Duke of Milan, washes ashore on a mysterious island with his daughter, Miranda. This is a result of Prospero’s treacherous brother, Antonio betraying him to seize his title and lands. Prospero learns to control magic on the island and uses it to manipulate everyone on the island to serve him. He also frees Ariel, a spirit, and promises it freedom if it helps him get his.
12 years later, Prospero uses his magic to shipwreck a ship carrying Alonso, the King of Naples, and his royal party. This is because the ship also carries Antonio, who Prospero intends to teach a lesson. The royal party washes ashore the island and is split into four groups. The king’s son, Ferdinand encounters Miranda and falls in love at first sight, which is reciprocated by Miranda.
Antonio is with Sebastian, the king’s brother. Antonio encourages Sebastian to murder his brother and seize the throne for himself, not unlike his own plot against Prospero.
Prospero organizes a masque – a masquerade ball, of sorts – to celebrate the betrothal of Ferdinand and Miranda. At the banquet, attended by all characters from the royal party, a god-like voice (Ariel) accuses Antonio, Alonso, and Sebastian of their sins, and the banquet vanishes. All 3 get scared, and start running.
Prospero puts them through a few hurdles before revealing his powers. Prospero forgives all three and raises the threat to Antonio and Sebastian that he could blackmail them, though he won’t. Prospero’s former title, Duke of Milan, is restored.
Prospero then sets Ariel free, and asks the audience for applause, which is what will set him free of the island, and let him return to Milan.
Part of Speech – adjective
1. dangerously high or steep.
2. (of an action) done suddenly and without careful consideration.
Word Origins – early 16th century: from Latin praecipitat– ‘thrown headlong’, from the verb praecipitare, from praeceps, praecip(it)- ‘headlong’, from prae ‘before’ + caput ‘head’.
The original sense of the verb was ‘hurl down, send violently’; hence ‘cause to move rapidly’, which gave rise to sense 1 (early 17th century).
Synonyms – sudden, impetuous, abrupt.
Usage – The precipitous drop in his GRE Score can be attributed to a lack of preparation.
Contrary to popular belief, rain isn’t the only kind of precipitation. There are actually 6 kinds of precipitation (if you believe Wiki, anyway.)
Interesting fact: Intensity and duration of rainfall are usually inversely related, i.e., high-intensity storms are likely to be of short duration and low-intensity storms can have a long duration.
Two notable forms of precipitation:
Hail forms in storm clouds when supercooled water droplets freeze on contact with condensation nuclei, such as dust or dirt. The storm’s updraft blows the hailstones to the upper part of the cloud. The updraft dissipates and the hailstones fall down, back into the updraft, and are lifted again. Hailstorms can be lethal, especially as the volume of the hail increases.
When tiny droplets freeze, they form snow crystals. These crystals grow several micrometers at the expense of the water droplets present alongside them, and these crystals tend to aggregate in clusters. These clusters manifest as snowflakes.
Fun fact: No two snowflakes are alike, as the temperature and humidity at which they form, keep varying constantly. However, finding a near-perfect snowflake (w.r.t. symmetry) is very unlikely.
Part of Speech – adjective
1. cold and unfriendly in manner.
2. (of the weather) very cold, with frost forming on surfaces.
Word Origins – Old English frēosan (in the phrase hit frēoseth ‘it is freezing’), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch vriezen and German frieren, from an Indo-European root shared by Latin pruina ‘hoar frost’
Synonyms – hostile, glacial, frigid.
Usage – The tourist was surprised at the frosty reception he received from the innkeeper upon arrival.
What’s cooler than being cool? Ice Cold!
The ancient Greeks and old Pagans personified the winter season, calling him ‘Old Man Winter.’ They believed he was responsible for the advent of the cold, making nights shorter, etc.
From medieval times, Jack Frost was a variant that gained popularity, especially in literature. He was depicted as a mischievous sprite who was responsible for causing nipping the fingers and toes in such weather, colouring the foliage in autumn, and leaving fern-like patterns on cold windows in winter. Many Christmas carols and songs also incorporate Jack Frost in them.
Part of Speech – noun
1. used with reference to a very energetic person or a tumultuous process.
2. a column of air moving rapidly round and round in a cylindrical or funnel shape.
Word Origins – from Old Norse hvirfla “to go round, spin,” related to hvirfill “circle, ring, crown,” and to Old English hweorfan “to turn”
Synonyms – rapid, tornado, meteoric.
Usage – He completed his GRE Preparation at a whirlwind pace, and aced his test.
Sow the wind…
Reap the whirlwind!
This very cool proverb has some very serious implications/morals to teach. Originally from the Bible, this proverb is a variant of ‘as you sow, so shall you reap.’
The proverb intends to caution people about the consequences of their actions, often misdeeds. Other variants of this proverb include ‘when the chickens come home to roost’, and ‘what goes around comes around.’
So, if you neglect your GRE Preparation…
(You have been warned :))
Part of Speech – adjective
1. appearing relaxed, informal, and cheerily brisk.
2. pleasantly windy.
Word Origins – mid 16th century: from Old Spanish and Portuguese briza ‘NE wind’
Synonyms – jaunty, buoyant, carefree.
Usage – She lived her life with a breezy demeanour.
Fair Winds and Following Seas
The above is a nautical toast or salutation, often used as a departing remark or one offered when a sailor retires.
The first part of the phrase is to wish for strong winds, flowing in the direction, pushing your sails in the direction you wish to go, and the second is wishing for the current and waves to nudge you on to your destination, and not to crash against your vessel, impeding your progress.
With that, wish you smooth sailing!
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