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CAT Preparation: Learn contextual use of foreign words in En

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While preparing for vocabulary in Verbal Ability (VA) section, you often come across English words that are borrowed from other languages. If you can form divisions in practicing the vocabulary for your CAT preparation, it will be easier to correlate them in correct context.

The English language reflects centuries of its historical close contacts with East. Words from Hindi, Arabic, Persian have found prominent place in English Dictionary. A few words given below will equip you to move further, taking a lead to contextual usage. Choose the word or phrase that is the closest in meaning to the key word. Try to think of the reason before selecting an answer.

1. Hookah :

A. A pipe
B. A bird
C. A market
D. A narrow window

2. Kedgeree:

A. A stringed instrument
B. A lowly servant
C. A dish of fish and rice
D. A velvety fabric

3. Kowtow:

A. to run awkwardly
B. To spring back
C. To be over-respectful
D. To meditate

4. Nabob:

A. A wealthy and important man
B. A desert animal
C. A card game
D. An item of furniture

5. Pagoda:

A. A turban
B. A gold coin
C. A temple
D. A high ranking nobleman

6. Pariah:

A. A priest
B. A social outcast
C. A large fan
D. A plant

7. Pundit:

A. A basket
B. A lavish tapestry
C. An expert
D. A bear like animal

8. Purdah:

A. A flat bottomed boat
B. A legal document
C. The seclusion of women
D. A buffet meal

9. Shanghai:

A. A meeting of community leaders
B. To kidnap
C. To chatter
D. To give charity to

10. Caliph:

A. A tunnel
B. A shepherd with a turban
C. A ruler in Muslim country
D. A type of calculator

Answer keys
1. Hookah: A. An eastern smoking pipe, with a tube for passing the smoke through water to cool it. From Arabic huqqah, a small box.
2. Kedgeree: C. In England a hot dish of fish, rice and eggs. In India a dish of lentils, rice, with eggs and onions . In Hindi khichri.
3. Kowtow: C. To be over respectful, to behave in a slavishly, submissive way as – kowtowed to the princess in all her unreasonable demands. Originally, a Chinese greeting involving a deep bow until one’s forehead touches the ground.
4. Nabob: A. A wealthy and important man. Originally a ruler in India during Mughal Empire. Portugese- Nababo, Urdu-Nawwab, a ruler.
5. Pagoda: C. A temple or tower, usually ornate and many storeyed, in the far East. From Persian Butkada (But=idol+kada=temple).
6. Pariah: B. An outcast, originally a member of low cast of drummers in South India. Tamil-Paraiyan, a drummer.
7. Pundit: C. An expert or authority in a particular field. Originally a Hindu scholar. Hindi-Pandit, a learned man.
8. Purdah: C. The seclusion of woman. Originally a curtain used in the East to conceal women from men. From Persian-pardah-a screen.
9. Shanghai: B. To kidnap a man often by drugging him, to serve on ship board, press-gang. After Shanghai, the great Chinese seaport, sailing ships heading there were often crewed by such kidnap-victims.
10. Caliph: A title formerly used by Muslim rulers who were successors of Muhammad, Chief civil & religious ruler in certain Muslim Countries. Caliph or Calif. From Khalifa-the Chief

Stay tuned to for more prep articles on CAT 2013.

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