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Vocabulary in the funnies
by Dagny Taggart - Thursday, 12 February 2009, 10:24 AM
  One question that will never stop coming from the students who prepare for CAT is "how to increase the vocabulary?" Suggestions such as read a lot, mug up words lists, make flash cards, subscribe to word a day etc. have always poured in from human race. Since I am the Queen of the Gadha Land, I am quite allergic to the advices that mortals always keep giving me. I like to make my own rules - Gadha Rules.

Each one of us must have followed some comic strip when we were kids but a few like me got addicted, and waste at least an hour each day even when we have left childhood at least 2 decades back. My day doesn't complete without taking my daily dose of Archie, Peanuts, Nancy, Calvin and Hobbes, Dilbert, Garfield, Dennis etc.

But have you ever thought that these comics are a rich source of vocabulary and learning new words can really come with an incentive of laughter? Let me prove myself:

This strip is from Peanuts:

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Notice the word underlined in red. Notches. Oh Wait! don't look at the dictionary right away, let's guess the meaning first. From the strip I can make out that Sally (the girl) is saying something nasty to Snoopy (the dog) and previously she says that she wants to put Snoopy in his place and show that he's not so important. So you know basically that she wants to take him down on the level of importance. Okay now we will check the dictionary meaning-  a point or level on a scale. Ahh! we were quite close.

How can I forget Garfield? One of my friend calls me Garfield and I have no clue why. Actually he also doesn't have. Anyways, have a look:

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"Ode to Monday" and "nothing to rhyme with" gives me a feeling that it has something to do with a poem. Dictionary meaning- a poem addressed to a person or thing or celebrating an event. Bang! This was a bull's eye.

Calvin and Hobbes- This one is my favourite. This is the easiest gift that people think of giving me. Oh! Its Dagny's birthday; What should we gift her? The instant answer is Calvin and Hobbes comics. But no more guys, I am done with the entire work now.

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Wow! four new words in just one strip. We'll go one by one. Sublime-  From Calvin's expression it looks that he is praising the work of art and is quite impressed. Also, the words moving, enriching, high art have to be in sync with sublime. It has to be close to inspiring. Dictionary meaning- impressing the mind with a sense of grandeur or power; inspiring awe, veneration, etc. Juvenile , I know  because I have always heard the term "juvenile books". Dictionary meaning: Juvenile- pertaining to, characteristic of, or suitable or intended for young persons. Last, sterile and sophomoric can never be praising words because Calvin is a self obsessed 6 year old; he can never praise Hobbes' work/ ideas. So, the dictionary meanings- Sophomoric- immature; Sterile - not productive of results, ideas, etc.; fruitless.  Close huh!

I'd be surprised if an engineer (especially an IITian) is not aware of Dilbert. I mean engineers definitely relate themselves to Dilbert because of common personal traits such as idiosyncrasy of style, hopelessness in dating, and attraction to tools and technological products. Okay, Kill me!

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From Alice's expression in the last image, you can make out that menial, bloated, and cadaver have nothing to do with pleasent words. Menial task and unimportant give me the feel of lowly. And bloated cadaver has to do with ruined career. Meanings as per Menial- lowly and sometimes degrading: menial work; bloated- swollen; dead body, esp. a human body to be dissected; corpse. Now do you want to kill Asok?

This is one way that you can increase your vocabulary on day to day basis. I am sure many of you must have come across a term, visual vocabulary. You can create your own visual vocabulary with just a little creativity and can even ask your friends for different ideas. Here, you look at the dictionary meaning and try to make your own illustrations in mind. Let me show you some examples:

Bloated- I can remember this word as Blow+ Ted (now Ted can be a name of a frog or name of someone you don't like)

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Latent- hidden, dormant.

If you lay in the tent, you will be hidden from the rest of the world. So, latent means hidden.

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Aghast- Speechless with horror.

This one is easy.                                                             

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Now how would one react if one happens to see a ghost? He/She would be speechless with horror.

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Fetish: An abnormally obsessive preoccupation or attachment; a fixation. Fatty has fetish for collecting fat fish.

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Sonorous means giving out or capable of giving out a sound, esp. a deep, resonant sound, as a thing or place: a sonorous cavern or full and loud and deep; "heavy sounds"; "a herald chosen for his sonorous voice. What can be a better way to recall it sonorous other than the word "snore"? Easy?

These are just a few examples on how you can guess the meanings of the words from the context, and how you can learn meanings directly by making your own illustrations. You can really play with your creativity and increase your vocabulary with a lot of fun. You can make rough sketches for your reference sake, make funny sentences so as to remember words. All it takes is a little interest and creativity.


Try to make illustrations or pour in your ideas (if you don't have much time) for the following words:

Assiduous, mirage, porcine, doldrums, austere.

Keep all the advices of humans aside and start working as gadhas. Human Beings- they can keep working hard and getting bored.

Re: Vocabulary in the funnies
by Sunil Raperia - Wednesday, 25 March 2009, 04:24 PM

This is one of the best ways to remember words with their meanings by pictures and visualisation..Very handsome work..We need more words from your side in the same way.

Re: Vocabulary in the funnies
by ARPIT JAIN - Tuesday, 7 April 2009, 11:32 PM
  you r absolutely marvalous ...

if you had some more word that had links then plz plz plz  add on this site ......

Re: Vocabulary in the funnies
by Avinash T - Sunday, 17 May 2009, 12:18 PM
  A real good article...great going..keep poring in the good stuff....let's break the mirage of the Phenom caled CAT..and assiduously work towards the common goal removing the porcine belief.....and save our austerity which is currently in doldrums ..kudos...
Re: Vocabulary in the funnies
by SUPER gadhi.. :P - Monday, 18 May 2009, 12:38 PM
MIRAGE : can be remembered as "image in mirror..."...thts somethings virtual or an illusion
dictionary meaning : something illusory and unattainable

will try n work on rest of thm ;)
Re: Vocabulary in the funnies
by Prabhjot Bali - Monday, 18 May 2009, 10:11 PM
consideria australia, best cricket team ever,is very strict and harsh on field

austere-severe or strict
Re: Vocabulary in the funnies
by venkat s - Monday, 18 May 2009, 11:11 PM


A person who work like an ASS( gadhasmile)

Meaning:-marked by care and persistent effort .

 porcine :- imagine pork dish

meaning relating to or suggesting swine ,piggish

Doldrums:- D- old drums are no more active and not in use.

meaning :-a state of inactivity.

when we say the word Senile it means in hindi issese nil kam hota hai

senile dictionary meaning:-Mentally or physically infirm with age

remember amitabh bachan from the movie BLACK after interval


 Kindly  take a look at words



Re: Vocabulary in the funnies
by Nikhil Rajagopalan - Tuesday, 19 May 2009, 02:50 PM
  nice one
Re: Vocabulary in the funnies
by viplove sharma - Sunday, 24 May 2009, 04:18 PM
  aha,i could be a good gadha......i m already applying these methodstongueout
Re: Vocabulary in the funnies
by vijay amalakara - Monday, 25 May 2009, 04:52 PM
   Guessing the meaning of the word is never easy . Neverthless an Interesting read .
Re: Vocabulary in the funnies
by Gaurav Mittal - Thursday, 28 May 2009, 02:34 PM
  Really great article !!

Keep up the good work.
Re: Vocabulary in the funnies
by vikash kumar - Tuesday, 15 September 2009, 08:02 PM
  deface-->de+face--(to damage the face)--to damage the surface of appearance--disfigure

Gainsay-->gain+say--(to say something for ur gain means saying against of other)--dispute,contradict or deny

flamboyant-->(seems to be shining as flame)--showy,bold n brilliant

extraplacental-->extra+placenta(placenta is the layer outside body supporting child in womb n providing its giving comfert to child)
being outside of or independent of placenta or out of comfort zone

incorrigible-->in+corrigible(not corrected)--all the efforts to correct is useless as:-incorrigible criminal,incorrigible liar

humbug-->(humberger is a dish,we r offering humberger to anyone free means we are to take any benifit from him...means finally we are going betray him)---betray,deceit

luminary-->(luminous..meaning light n someone is shining as bright as light)--famous person or person who is expert in special area

chimera-->(camera is use to take picture,picture are not real..but illusion)
illusion or a fullish fancy

circuitous--->(electrical circuit has always zigzag path)--not following a direct path,roundabout

Acquiesce-(closely related to quiet)-to do something without objection--to do it quietly

evanescent--(e-vanish)--happening for only the briefest period,vanishing

ingenuous-(a person who tend to be genius is always full of deception or artfull,so ingenuous(in genius))-->without deception,artless,frank

incision-(scissor is use to cut)-->cutting right to the heart of matter

insular-(peninsula-insula-insular......peninsulla is a island)-like an island,isolated

murcurial-->(murcury level change rapidly with temperature)-->rapidly change in mood,emotionaly unpredictable

plebian-(similar to lesbian who is vulgar,low class girl)-vulgar,low class,or opposite to aristocratic

mundane--(mun(mind)+ dane(die)--something led to dying of mind i.e boring)--banal,ordinary,common

partisan--(parti-partiality)-one who supports a perticular person,cause or idea

reparation--(repair-----means to repair something damage that has occured i.e to compensate for damage) ------paying back or compensation

meaning-- to adapt to a new environment, situation, climate, temperature, or altitude

respite-->(res..t.)--period of rest

Re: Vocabulary in the funnies
by Vinitesh Garima - Thursday, 1 October 2009, 10:09 PM
  thank you for your effort
Re: Vocabulary in the funnies
by m m - Wednesday, 16 December 2009, 10:33 AM
  wow dis is so coolsmile
Re: Vocabulary in the funnies
by G D - Friday, 25 December 2009, 11:56 AM


Very Nice Method ..................!!!!!!!!  smile

Re: Vocabulary in the funnies
by SURABHI KHER - Wednesday, 14 July 2010, 01:50 PM

Re: Vocabulary in the funnies
by chaitanya bollineni - Sunday, 18 July 2010, 11:02 PM
  great article to guess the meaning with pics
Re: Vocabulary in the funnies
by spunky arora - Wednesday, 20 July 2011, 03:14 AM
  AWESOME!!! kiss kiss
Re: Vocabulary in the funnies
by saurabh harkauli - Sunday, 13 November 2011, 07:12 PM
  nice way to do it....thanks man... smile
Re: Vocabulary in the funnies
by Radha Chawla - Wednesday, 29 February 2012, 02:27 PM


Gud Work!!!





Re: Vocabulary in the funnies
by siddharth sawhney - Friday, 27 April 2012, 02:04 AM
  mnemonic devices r awesome !! smile
Re: Vocabulary in the funnies
by Vivek Pandey - Wednesday, 16 July 2014, 09:25 PM
  Hello everyone... Yesterday i was going through some words. But I stuck with a word....the word is "awesome" everyone is using this word on facebook to comment on anyones pic.
But according to oxford dictionary this is not correct.
So please can anyone give contextual use of this word.
Re: Vocabulary in the funnies
by yasir siddiqui - Saturday, 26 July 2014, 09:12 PM
  a really smart work it is... tongueout