The Joy of Language Learning

How Farms Fed the Dictionary.

If you have ever been to a farm, you know of the sweat and pain that farming requires. The journey begins with the ploughing of fields and ends with the harvesting of fully grown crops: a process which has satiated the hunger of mankind ever since we ceased being hunter-gatherers. But apart from humans, these blessed pieces of land have managed to feed another entity as well – an obese friend of ours – the dictionary.

Ploughing the field is a necessary step before sowing the seeds as it turns up the soil and brings nutrients to the surface leaving weed and crop remains to decay. The Latin word for ploughing is arare. It gave rise to the word arable which literally means land that can be ploughed or is cultivable.

Arable Land. Image Source: Acandraja/ Pixabay
Source: Giphy

Ploughing also leaves furrows on the land which are like narrow trenches which were referred to as stria in Latin – a term that is used to signify stretch-marks. Nowadays, if something is striated, it means it consists of stripes that maybe of contrasting colours like the one’s seen on the television screen sometimes.

Furrows and Ridges. Image Source: DieSonja/ Pixabay

The miniature valley or ridge that forms between two adjacent furrows was called lira in Latin. It served as the ancestor for the word delirious (from Latin deliriare: to deviate from a straight track) which means to be in a state of wild excitement and ecstasy such as when one’s favourite team wins a game. It led to the derivation of the term delirium which refers to a temporary state of meatal disorderliness characterized by restlessness, meaningless speech and hallucinations.

The term balk (or baulk) also originally meant a ridge. Now, however, it conveys a sense of hindrance or obstruction. In its verb form, it signifies refusal such as the horse baulked at the fence or that he looked like a hungry lion baulked of prey. Baulk may also have a distant cousin: bilk which means to swindle or cheat. For example, there have been reports of fraudsters bilking people via different mobile apps.

That will be it this time. Check the table below so that the words are perfectly sown into you minds. And don’t forget to try the quiz too.

Table Summary:

ArableLand that can be used for the cultivation of crops.
StriaStretch marks
StriatedConsisting of strips
DeliriousThe state of being excited or ecstatic
DeliriumA state of mental disorderliness
BalkA hindrance or obstacle
BilkTo swindle or cheat

Welcome to your Farm Words

A ______________ land is a land suitable for cultivation.

What does "balked" mean here?


Which of these refers to a state of mental disorderliness?

The word "delirious" here means:


Which of the following words means the same as "striated"?

"Bilk" in the headline below means:


Click on the image below to be redirected to the crossowrd:

Farm Crossword


2. Stretch marks

3. A state of mental disorderliness marked by meaningless speech, hallucination

4. A land that can be ploughed or cultivated

6. Marked by great excitement and ecstasy


1. To swindle or cheat someone

2. Stripes, generally with contrasting colours

5. Hindrance or obstacles

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