Delving into the Historical Mystery- Part XVI- Word Power

by Chandrika R Krishnan

The term “Etymology” is the study of the origin of words.  The practice of etymology is uncovering the truth by tracing the root of a word.

A few years back, I earned the ire of an elderly man when I failed to recognize his ‘supersinger’ granddaughter accompanying him on the train.  With my nose firmly in a book, I looked up only when there was a flurry of activity in front of me when one of the co-passengers recognized the young eleven-year-old.  The elderly man was even more aghast at my temerity when I asked who she was!

He felt I was being blasé about this serendipitous meeting with the rising star.  He could not understand the concept of not watching TV, and hence I did not recognize his granddaughter.  Suffice it to say that I received quite an earful from my sister too. She followed Vijay’s super-singer and felt I had missed taking an autograph or a photo with Nithyashree when she was a budding star.

Borrowed from French blasé, it means being jaded, unimpressed with, or indifferent to, unconcerned about
nonchalant about, offhand about, uninterested in, uninvolved in/with something because one has experienced or seen it so often before.   Gen-Z finds the word- ‘blah’ encapsulating all the above and more!

As a result of not watching too much TV those days,  I had missed out on the accidental, unforeseen, chance, coincidental, lucky, unexpected, fortuitous, serendipitous meeting with the rising star. I had missed an opportunity of taking a selfie with that young girl.

I had covered the etymology of the word “serendipity” in the Part VI of my Delving column. Do look up if you haven’t!

Fast forward half a decade, I have turned into a TV addict, a couch potato,  and an OTT ‘junkie’.  Watching the first episode  of ‘ Guilty Minds,’ I came across a word called Golpe. Golpe can mean coup d’état taken from the Spanish term golpe de estado.  It also has many other meanings like the following:

de um só golpe at a stroke
dar um golpe em alguém (golpear) to hit sb(figurativetrapacear) to trick 
o golpe é fazer … the clever thing is to do …
dar o golpe do baú (figurative) to marry for money
golpe baixo (figurative, informal) dirty trick
golpe (de estado) coup (d’état)
golpe de mestre masterstroke
golpe de vista (olhar) glance(de motorista) eye for distances
golpe mortal death blow



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