Acrid, catacomb, equitable: Here are some 'Kangaroo' words you must know

These are words that contain all the letters of a synonym, called a joey word, within themselves

By Shashi Tharoor

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram


Published: Thu 24 Nov 2022, 10:20 PM

Those of you who read last week’s column are already aware that Kangaroo Words are words that contain all the letters of a synonym, called a joey word, within themselves. Now that we have that brief refresher out of the way, I am sure you will have no difficulty reading the text that follows, which contains a long string of kangaroo words I didn’t have room for last week — and what’s more, they’re in alphabetical order!

When you get accustomed to something, you get used to it. If something tastes or smells acrid, it feels like acid. Adroitness is an art; to affect something you need to act on it; and when you allocate something, you allot it. An amicable person is usually amiable, and if he says something apposite, it’s bound to be apt. An arena is a large area, balsam applies balm; a barren landscape is bare, whereas one with blossoms is in bloom. Brackets contain braces. Gulliver’s Travels gave us the concept of Brobdignagian for something truly big. The American brand Budweiser believes it’s a synonym for beer. When something bursts it goes bust, a capsule is a case for medicaments, and a catacomb conceals a tomb. If you are left in charge of a baby, you have to care for her. If you take her to a christening, she undergoes a rite. A closemouthed person is often mute. A person who complemented his partner well has completed her, and their conjunction is a blessed union indeed. One must not contaminate it with the taint of negative thoughts. That would be contradictory — in other words, contrary to the reality.

The deceased, sadly, are dead — and so are the departed: they are dead, too. A deception is a con. If you deliberate on something, you might debate it. A department of your organisation is an arm of it; its destruction would entail your ruin. If it deteriorates, it rots. You can determine to change things if you deem it necessary. When disappointed, you’re sad. A discourteous person is curt, and he shows his displeasure by displaying ire. A disputation with him is a spat you don’t want, so I’d encourage (urge) you to desist. If things are again equitable, they are equal. If not, you’d have to evacuate, i.e. vacate the place.

A fabrication is a piece of fiction, and if it’s full of falsities, it contains lies. Forbiddance involves a ban, an honourable person is noble in his behaviour, an illuminated venue is lit. When you impair someone, you mar his prospects, though of course it may be his incapability (or his inability) that lays him low. This will be especially true if he’s indolent or idle like the inheritor who’s heir to a fortune and whose joviality expresses his joy. He may sport a lighted cigarette, which is lit, though if you misinterpret his tastes, you would err. If he’s well nourished, he was probably nursed well. His ornamented mansion is ornate, and if you find him outspoken, that’s because he’s open. He might prattle on a bit, but this isn’t just to prate; if you dismiss him prematurely, you’d be too early to do so, and he might prosecute (or sue you) rather than stay quiescent or quiet. Perhaps he might recline if he likes to lie down for a respite and a rest, though you may need to restrain him and rein him in to avoid a retrogression in which he might regress. You can salvage things and save him by acknowledging he’s the scion you recognise as the son who succeeded. You can only separate from him if you part.

When you sculpt marble, you cut the stone. If its origins are shadowy, perhaps you cut a shady deal. Or if the sculptor was stricken, he was sick and however much he strives or tries, the product will be substandard, or simply bad. His supervisor is his superior, but if he’s a white supremacist, he’s racist, and that transgression is a sin. On that issue there’s unanimity: we have unity on this.

This variegated list gives you an idea of how varied kangaroo words can be!

More news from Lifestyle