...:: گنجینه زبان من / My English Treasure::... - Lesson 3
...:: گنجینه زبان من / My English Treasure::...
مرجع آموزش زبان انگلیسی
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Lesson 3

Words About Groups

1.      cabal – a clique; a small group joined in a secret intrigue; a conspiracy. This French word was formed from the initials of Charles II’s ministers (Clifford, Arlington, Buckingham, Ashley, Lauderdale); cabal ultimately derives from the Hebrew word qabbalah, which referred to a mystical interpretation of the Scripture.

2.      camaraderie – comradeship; good fellowship. Two soldiers sharing the same room (in German, kammer) usually developed a loyal and warm friendship. The Communist Party adopted the word comrade to denote a fellow member.

3.      caste – a distinct social class or system. Hindu society is traditionally divided into four major hereditary castes, each class separated from the others by restrictions in marriage and occupation.

4.      cortege – a group of attendants accompanying a person; a ceremonial procession. It is not surprising that cortege is related to court, a place where followers and ceremonies abound.

5.      detente – a relaxing or easing, especially of international tension. After the Cold War years following World War II, the U.S. embarked on a policy of closer ties with Russia; hence was born the policy of détente.

6.      echelon – a level of command or authority or rank; a steplike formation of ships, troops, or planes. Coming to English through several languages, the word echelon has descended a ladder starting with the Latin word scale, which indeed means ladder, and explains why we still “scale a ladder”

7.      ecumenical – universal; general; fostering Christian unity throughout the world. The idea of ecumenism, as well as the spirit of brotherhood, was fostered by the far-reaching policies of Pope John XXIII

8.      elite – the best or most skilled members of a given social group. The word is related to elect and suggest that some people are born with “a silver spoon in their mouth” or at least, are entitled to special privileges. Elite is also used as an adjective.

9.      esprit de corps – a sense of union and of common interests and responsibilities. The French expression literally means “spirit of feeling as one body.” It implies not only a  camaraderie but a sense of pride or honor shared by those involved in an undertaking.

10.  freemasonry – secret or tacit brotherhood; instinctive sympathy. The Freemasons is an international fraternity for the promotion of brotherly love among its members, as well as a mutual assistance. It began in the Middle Ages as a class of skilled stoneworkers who possessed secret signs and passwords, a ritual that is still preserved today.

11.  genealogy – lineage; science of family descent. Though our hereditary character is transmitted through genes in our chromosomes, that does not assure us that our genealogy has provided us with the most desirable traits. Much can and does happen as the generations pass.

12.  hierarchy – a group of persons or things arranged in order, rank, or grade; a system of church government by clergymen in graded ranks. The Greek word hierarkhes meant “high priest.” From there it was a small step to the designation of the entire church leadership as a hierarchy. With the loss of temporal power by the church after the Middle Ages, the word now refers to any arrangement by authority or position.

13.  hobnob – to associate on very friendly terms. The title of the novel To Have and Have Not is an exact translation of the original meaning of hobnob. This word was formed by a combination of the Old English words habban (to have) and navban (not to have). The modern meaning suggests the egalitarian idea of friendship not based on one’s possessions.

14.  liaison – the contact maintained between military or naval units in order to undertake concerted action; a similar connection between the units of any organization; an illicit relationship between a man and a woman. This word is a cousin to ligature, a connection on the physical level similar to the connection made on an informational level by a liaison.

15.  rapprochement – a reestablishing of cordial relations. If there is to be an end to war, people and nations must learn to meet each other, to approach each other, on common grounds. That is what this word implies, a coming together in friendship and trust.


I. Which Word Comes to Mind?

In each of the following, read the statement, then circle the word that comes to mind

1. The superpowers agree to a mutual reduction of nuclear stockpiles

            (cabal, echelon, rapprochement)

2. A young man breaks the engagement because his fiancé cannot afford a dowry

            (caste, liaison, hierarchy)

3. Firemen risk their lives to rescue a trapped buddy     (cortege, camaraderie, genealogy)

4. He associates informally with our town’s high society (détente, freemasonry, hobnob)

5. The sermon ended with a call for universal brotherhood and recognition of individual

worth               (ecumenical, elite, esprit de corps)

6. A funeral procession of hundreds of mourners      (cortege, freemasonry, cabal)

7. Police arrest a  group of  men who were plotting an assassination

 (cabal, rapprochement, détente)

8. You receive an offer of a framed history of your ancestors (echelon, genealogy, caste)

9. Speaking a foreign language made the French student invaluable as a link between our two countries               (esprit de corps, liaison, hierarchy)

10. Stepping in between the two warring factions, we got them to agree to a cease-fire

            (elite, hobnob, détente)

II. True or False?

In the spaces provided, indicate whether each statement is true or false.

__1. The cabal holds a public forum to discuss the issue

__2. Detente involves risks and compromises by both sides.

__3. A member of the elite feels that the world is his oyster.

__4. Esprit de corps denotes a stronger bond than camaraderie.

__5. A liaison serves a purpose similar to that of a go-between.

__6. The gossip columnist frequently hobnobs with movie stars.

__7. We paid an expert to research our family’s genealogy.

__8. Entering into a rapprochement, the cousins continued their bitter fight.

__9. The producer wanted a young caste for his new musical.

__10. Arnold joined his company’s hierarchy when he became a vice-president.

III. Fill in the Blank

Insert one of the new words in the proper space in each sentence below.

1.      At the highest ______in our company sit the founder and his two trusted advisers.

2.      We formed a _______ group to avoid needless duplication among the three committees.

3.      The former society reporter used to _______with the rich and famous.

4.      Baseball managers strive to develop a winning ________in their locker room lectures.

5.      Laden with floral displays, the funeral ____________ wound its way into the cemetery.

6.      All members of the failed _________were arrested last night.

7.      I picked up the phone in order to bring about a _________ with my twin sister.

8.      A study of our __________revealed our descent from Spanish royalty.

9.      Promoted to cardinal, the bishop became part of the church’s ________

10.  As a member of the _____________group, Hedley was invited everywhere.

IV. What’s the Antonym?

Which of the new words is most nearly opposite in meaning to the one provided?

  1. commoners                  ____________
  2. dissension                    ____________
  3. hostility                       ____________
  4. parochial                      ____________
  5. withdraw                     ____________
  6. breaking off                ____________
  7. disorganization            ____________
  8. equality                       ____________
  9. ill will                          ____________
  10. unaffiliated                 ____________

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