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Word Meaning (Entrance Exams)

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Direction: The passage given below is followed by a set of question. Choose the most appropriate answer to each question.

Johnson was deeply but not necessarily conventionally religious: he struggled within himself most of his life to sustain his belief in God in the face of enormous pressures, disappointments, and psychological calamities. On the surface, and in much of his work, he appeared to be an orthodox, conventional, conservative adherent of revealed religion, of the Church of England, but the conventional Anglican explanations for the existence of evil in the world failed to satisfy him, and in any case his characteristic reluctance to believe without evidence, his fear of credulity, his dislike of mysteries, continually undermined his attempts to accept conventional beliefs. He was remarkable, privately, for his tolerance; maintaining that the differences between Christian sects (Protestants and Roman Catholics, for example) were trivial, and due primarily to political rather than religious differences.
His religious difficulties began at a very early age. His mother, when he was only three, told him of "a fine place filled with happiness called Heaven" and "a sad place, called Hell." Many years later he recalled that (as one might expect) this account did not impress him very deeply: it is significant, however, that he remembered it at all. After the age of nine, and through his adolescence, he stopped going to church. One part of him remained a skeptic for the rest of his life, and, as his private journals show, even after he had regained his faith he struggled continually (and privately) with fears, guilt, and disbelief: in "The Vanity of Human Wishes," written when he was forty, he returns to a traditional religious theme as well as a personal preoccupation and insists that we cannot find genuine or permanent happiness in this world and that we must therefore turn to religious belief and faith in the existence of a better world after death if we are to endure our existence here. It was a belief; however, which he himself had difficulty maintaining. The happiness derived from such belief was, in any case, a limited one, but the only alternative
to religious faith, as Johnson saw it, was a dull apathy, a stoical disengagement from life. He was troubled, too — a better word would be tormented — by a fear of death and by a deeper fear that he might in spite of his best efforts be so guilty, so sinful, that he merited damnation. And beneath that fear was another, even deeper — the fear that God might not exist at all, that death might bring annihilation, mere nothingness, the loss of personal identity. He struggled all his life — in the end, successfully — not so much to overcome these fears as to coexist with them. In public, he was much more conventional, much more characteristically paternalistic. He maintained in print, for example, that religion was a valuable asset to society and to mankind and that Anglicanism, as the English state religion, ought therefore to be carefully protected: "Permitting men to preach any opinion contrary to the doctrine of the established church," he wrote, "tends, in a certain degree, to lessen the authority of
the church, and, consequently, to lessen the influence of religion."

What does the word 'credulity' as used in the passage mean? 

In 1954, a Bombay economist named A.D. Shroff began a forum of free Enterprise, whose ideas on economic development were somewhat at odds with those then influentially articulated by the Planning Commission of the Government of India. Shroff complained against the 'indifference, if not discouragement, with which the state treated entrepreneurs.

At the same time as Shroff, but independently of him, a journalist named Philip Spratt was writing a series of essays in favour of free enterprise. Spratt was a Cambridge communist who was sent by the party in the 1920s to the foment revolution in the subcontinent. detected in the act, he spent many years in an Indian jail. The books he read in the prison, and his marriage to an Indian woman afterward, inspired a steady move rightwards. By the 1950s, he was editing a pro-American weekly from Banglore, called mysIndia. there he inveighed against the economic policies of the government of India. These, he said, treated the entrepreneur 'as a criminal who has dared to use his brain independently of the state to create wealth and give employment’. The state’s chief planner, P.C. Mahalanobis had surrounded himself with Western leftists and Soviet academicians, who reinforced his belief in 'rigid control by the government overall activities’. The result, said Spratt, would be `the smothering of free enterprise, a famine of consumer goods, and the tying down of millions of workers to soul-deadening techniques.'

The voices of men like Spratt and Shroff were drowned in the chorus of popular support for a model of heavy industrialization funded and directed by the governments. The 1950s were certainly not propitious times for free marketers in India. But from time to time their ideas were revived. After the rupee was devalued in 1966, there were some moves towards freeing the trade regime and hopes that the licensing system would also be liberalized. However, after Indira Gandhi split the Congress Party in 1969, her government took its `left turn’, nationalizing a fresh range of industries and returning to economic autarky.

The word 'inveighed' in this passage means:

Direction : The passage given below is followed by a set of questions. Choose the most appropriate answer to each question.

It is a matter of life or death: that’s a concept that gets our attention, whether chuckling over it in a B-grade film or engrossed by it in an A-grade medical book such as this year’s Pulitzer Prize winner for nonfiction, The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee. It isn’t hyperbole to call Emperor a literary masterpiece. The Pulitzer citation describes it as, “an elegant inquiry, at once clinical and personal, into the long history of an insidious disease that, despite treatment breakthroughs, still bedevils medical science.” “Elegant” is an apposite description of the New York-based oncologist’s prose, whether he is rephrasing Tolstoy: “Normal cells are identically normal; malignant cells become unhappily malignant in unique ways”; or explaining the book’s provocative title: “This book is a ‘biography’ in the truest sense of the word – an attempt to enter the mind of this immortal illness, to understand its personality, to demystify its behavior”; or extrapolating, from cancer’s ability to mutate, into the realm of philosophy: “If we, as a species, are the ultimate product of Darwinian selection, then so, too, is this incredible disease that lurks inside us.” Mukherjee weaves together multiple stories about medical advances, doctors and scientists, and the patients who teach us something in the living or dying. Emperor is a historical account of cancer; we understand how cancer rose to prominence as a leading cause of death – as a direct result of human beings living longer now, and more likely to develop cancer. A greater understanding of the disease however comes with the caveat, the more you
know, the more aware you are of how much you don’t know. Tales related to surgery, with its inherent drama, has the edge on our medical reading lists. Some medical books fall into the Self Help category — one of the most successful genres in the publishing world today. While the genre can attract those looking to make a quick buck by peddling to people’s insecurities, there are some useful tomes too. Author Tim Parks in Teach Us to Sit Still shares how reading a famous self-help book, A Headache in the Pelvis helped with his chronic pelvic pain syndrome. Medical books deal with a subject close to our hearts — us, we, ourselves. Perhaps the ones we are most drawn to – thrillers aside – are those that give us a deeper insight into how the mind-body machine works, why we are sick, how we can get better — and, unhappily, sometimes, why we can’t.

What does the word 'hyperbole' as used in the passage mean? 

If religion and community are associated with global violence in the trends of many people, then so are global poverty and inequality. There has, in fact, been an increasing tendency in recent years to justify policies of poverty removal on the ground that this is the surest way to prevent political strife and turmoil. Basing public policy - international as well as domestic- on such an understanding has some evident attractions. Given the public anxiety about wars and disorders in the rich countries in the world, the indirect justification of poverty removal -not for its own sake but for the sake of peace and quiet in the world - provides an argument that appeals to self interest for helping the needy. It presents an argument for allocating more resources on poverty removal because of its presumed political, rather than moral, relevance.

While the temptation to go in that direction is easy to understand, it is a perilous route to take even for a worthy cause. Part of the difficulty lies in the possibility that if wrong, economic reductionism would not only impair our understanding of the world but would also tend to undermine the declared rationale of the public commitment to remove poverty. This is a particularly serious concern, since poverty and massive inequality are terrible enough in themselves, and deserve priority even if there were no connection whatsoever with violence. Just as virtue is its own reward, poverty is at least its own penalty. This is not to deny that poverty and inequality can - and do - have far-reaching consequences with conflict and strife, but these connections have to be examined and investigated with appropriate care and empirical scrutiny, rather than being casually invoked with unreasoned rapidity in support of a `good cause."

Destitution can, of course, produce provocation for defying established laws and rules. But it need not give people the initiative, courage, and actual ability to do anything very violent. Destitution can be accompanied not only by economic debility but also by political helplessness. A starving wretch can be too frail and too dejected to fight and battle, and even te protest and holler. It is thus not surprising that often enough intense and widespread suffering and misery have been accompanied by unusual peace and silence.

Indeed, many famines have occurred without there being much political rebellion or civil strife or intergroup warfare. For example, the famine years in the 1840s in Ireland were among the most peaceful, and there was little attempt by the hungry masses to intervene even as ship after ship sailed down the river Shannon with rich food. Looking elsewhere, my own childhood memories in Calcutta during the Bengal famine of 1943 include the sight of starving people dying in front of sweetshops with various layers of luscious food displayed behind the glass windows, without a single glass being broken, or law or order being disrupted.

In the given passage, the word 'Perilous' means :

Direction : The passage given below is followed by a set of question. Choose the most appropriate answer to each question.

With an aim to check flow of black money and evasion of taxes through stock market, market regulator SEBI has decided to impose hefty penalty on brokers facilitating such transactions from tomorrow. The regulator recently came across a loophole in its existing regulations, which was being abused by stock brokers for facilitating tax evasion and flow of black money through fictitious trades in lieu of hefty commissions. To remove this anomaly, SEBI has asked stock exchanges to penalize the brokers transferring trades from one trading account to another after terming them as ‘punching’ errors. The penalty could be as high as 2% of the value of shares traded in the ‘wrong’ account, as per new rules coming into effect from August 1. In a widely-prevalent, but secretly operated practice, the people looking to evade taxes approach certain brokers to show losses in their stock trading accounts, so that their earnings from other sources are not taxed. These brokers are also approached by people looking to show their black money as earnings made through stock market. In exchange for a commission, generally 5-10% of the total amount, these brokers show desired profits or losses in the accounts of their clients after transferring trades from other accounts, created for such purposes only. The brokers generally keep conducting both ‘buy’ and ‘sell’ trades in these fictitious accounts so that they can be used accordingly when approached by such clients. In the market parlance, these deals are known as profit or loss shopping. While profit is purchased to show black money as earnings from the market, the losses are purchased to avoid tax on earnings from other sources. As the transfer of trades is not allowed from one account to the other in general cases, the brokers show the trades conducted in their own fictitious accounts as ‘punching’ errors. The regulations allow transfer of trades in the cases of genuine errors, as at times ‘punching’ or placing of orders can be made for a wrong client. To check any abuse of this rule, SEBI has asked the bourses to put in place a robust mechanism to identify whether the errors are genuine or not. At the same time, the bourses have been asked to levy penalty on the brokers transferring their non-institutional trades from one account to the other. The penalty would be 1% of the traded value in wrong account if such trades are up to 5% of the broker’s total non-institutional turnover in a month. The penalty would be 2% of trade value in wrong account if such transactions exceed 5% of total monthly turnover in a month.

What does the word 'parlance' as used in the passage mean?

Direction: The passage given below is followed by a set of question. Choose the most appropriate answer to each question.

Ahmedabad’s Sunday market that sells junk is this 35-year-old artist’s favourite hunting ground. That’s where he picks saw-blades, printer toners, monitors, busted VCDs and hard disks, video players and other castaway gems. Back home, he painstakingly dismantles his treasure of scrap and segregates it into big pieces (the video player's outer case), mid-sized (the insides of a hard disk) and small pieces (innards of a mobile). This is art you can get up, close and personal with. The works grab the viewer’s attention at several levels. Aesthetically, the creations themselves - such as Frivolity which uses feathers and terracotta diyas painted in dark fossil green that give it a strange life - appeal in a live-and-kicking sort of way. Look a little closer and hey, you spot a zipper. Then it’s a journey all your own. Your eyes identify hairpins, spray spouts that hairdressers use, paper clips, thread, computer ribbons and the insides of everything from watches to the sliding metal bits that support drawers. You can almost hear the works whirr. So Hashissh, constructed from paper clips, backpack clips, a shining CD and twirled thread, may invite you to study its water-blue, pinks and green or Nelumbeshwar may beckon, bathed in acrylic pink and grey-black. But once you’re standing in front of a piece, you spot the zips and the hairpins. Then you simply visually dismantle Har’s work and rebuild it all over again. Zoom in, zoom out. It’s great fun. Visualising the colour of his work demands a lot of attention, says Har. “During creation, the material is all differently coloured. So there’s a red switch next to a white panel next to a black clip. It can distract. I don’t sketch, so I have to keep a sharp focus on the final look I am working towards.” As his work evolved, Har discovered laser-cutting on a visit to a factory where he had gone to sand-blast one of his pieces. Hooked by the zingy shapes laser-cutting offered, Har promptly used it to speed up a scooter and lend an unbearable lightness of being to a flighty autorickshaw, his latest works. The NID-trained animation designer’s scrap quest was first inspired by a spider in his bathroom in Chennai when he was a teenager. He used a table-tennis ball (for the head), a bigger plastic ball (for the body) and twisted clothes hangers to form the legs. His next idea was to create a crab, and his mother obligingly brought one home from the market so that he could study and copy it. Winning the first Art Positive fellowship offered by Bajaj Capital Arthouse last year gave Har the confidence to believe that he could make it as an artist or ‘aesthete’ as he likes to call himself.

What does the word 'aesthete' as used in the passage mean?

Direction: The passage given below is followed by a set of questions. Choose the most appropriate answer to each question.

Johnson was deeply but not necessarily conventionally religious: he struggled within himself most of his life to sustain his belief in God in the face of enormous pressures, disappointments, and psychological calamities. On the surface, and in much of his work, he appeared to be an orthodox, conventional, conservative adherent of revealed religion, of the Church of England, but the conventional Anglican explanations for the existence of evil in the world failed to satisfy him, and in any case, his characteristic reluctance to believe without evidence, his fear of credulity, his dislike of mysteries, continually undermined his attempts to accept conventional beliefs. He was remarkable, privately, for his tolerance; maintaining that the differences between Christian sects (Protestants and Roman Catholics, for example) were trivial, and due primarily to political rather than religious differences.
His religious difficulties began at a very early age. His mother, when he was only three, told him of "a fine place filled with happiness called Heaven" and "a sad place, called Hell." Many years later he recalled that (as one might expect) this account did not impress him very deeply: it is significant, however, that he remembered it at all. After the age of nine, and through his adolescence, he stopped going to church. One part of him remained a skeptic for the rest of his life, and, as his private journals show, even after he had regained his faith he struggled continually (and privately) with fears, guilt, and disbelief: in "The Vanity of Human Wishes," written when he was forty, he returns to a traditional religious theme as well as a personal preoccupation and insists that we cannot find genuine or permanent happiness in this world and that we must therefore turn to religious belief and faith in the existence of a better world after death if we are to endure our existence here. It was a belief; however, which he himself had difficulty maintaining. The happiness derived from such belief was, in any case, a limited one, but the only alternative
to religious faith, as Johnson saw it, was a dull apathy, a stoical disengagement from life. He was troubled, too — a better word would be tormented — by a fear of death and by a deeper fear that he might in spite of his best efforts be so guilty, so sinful, that he merited damnation. And beneath that fear was another, even deeper — the fear that God might not exist at all, that death might bring annihilation, mere nothingness, the loss of personal identity. He struggled all his life — in the end, successfully — not so much to overcome these fears as to coexist with them. In public he was much more conventional, much more characteristically paternalistic. He maintained in print, for example, that religion was a valuable asset to society and to mankind and that Anglicanism, as the English state religion, ought therefore to be carefully protected: "Permitting men to preach any opinion contrary to the doctrine of the established church," he wrote, "tends, in a certain degree, to lessen the authority of
the church, and, consequently, to lessen the influence of religion."

What does the word 'stoical' as used in the passage mean?

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