The Joy of Language Learning

The Land Of Many Words.

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If we look at our ancient history, we will find that a lot of our wars were in pursuit of one resource -alone: Land. Maybe because it was the gateway to all other resources. The power and prosperity of an empire was measured by the area it had under its control. Thus, kings with armies of thousands of people fought for centuries to exert influence over a miniscule fraction of the earth, who eventually turned to dust themselves much like their kingdoms after them. Yet the land we lived upon shaped the human civilization in ways uncountable – from our way of living to the language we speak, it left its imprint everywhere, be it in the form of small ridges or vast open fields.

Field, for instance, lends itself to a variety of different words but in the form of its Latin counterpart, ager (field or territory). Perhaps the most common word in this respect is agriculture (ager: field + cultura: cultivation) which refers to the science of cultivating and tilling the fields. An agrarian society thus came to mean a society that is primarily dependent on agriculture. Most of the ancient civilizations, be it the Chinese, Mayans, Egyptians or even us, the Indians were all agrarian. India, to a certain extent is still an agrarian society especially when we look at our rural areas. Another derivation is agronomy which is the science of soil management and crop production.

Image Credit: FelixMittermeier/ Pixabay

A unit of measurement of land area, acre also owes its existence to the root ager. It further led to the birth of the term acreage which means a large piece of land.

Now if the word peregrine is bought into our discussion, it might seem like a foreign entity. But this requires some context for which we will have to time travel to ancient Rome where the society was divided into two legal classes: Cives Romani and Peregrini.

The Cives Romani were full Roman citizens who held most legal rights such as right to property and marriage. The Perigrini, on the other hand were foreigners who did not possess as many legal rights. They could, for instance, hold land but were prohibited from marrying Roman citizens. To acquire full citizenship, they had to fulfill certain conditions, one of them being to serve in the Roman army for 25 years.

The singular form, Perigrinus was derived when the root agerwas prefixed with per- (away), thus referring to someone from a foreign land. Thus the English word peregrine carries the sense of being foreign or strange. For example, a team of scientists recently discovered a peregrine rock that is older than the earth itself.

Peregrine Falcon
Peregrine Falcon.
Image Credit: 70154/ Pixabay

Peregrine can also refer to something that is travelling or migratory. This led to the term peregrination which means travelling from place to place. The Peregrine Falcon, the fastest bird on the planet, is called so because they migrate to Alaska from the American mainland during the spring season.

Peregrination also served as the inspiration for the term pilgrim (a person who travels to a holy place) and by extension of it, pilgrimage which is the name given to the journey to a holy site.

Pilgrims at The Golden Temple
Pilgrims at the Harmandir Sahib.
Image Credit: travelphotographer/Pixabay

A quick glance at the summary of the above words should help with the quiz ahead.

Table Summary:

AgricultureThe science of tilling fields and cultivating crops
AgronomyThe science of soil management and crop production.
AgrarianA society largely based upon agriculture to meet its basic needs.
AcreA unit of land.
Acre-ageA large piece of land.
PeregrineSomething that is strange or foreign.
Peregrine -ationTravelling from one place to another.
PilgrimSomeone who travels to a holy place.
PilgrimageThe journey of a pilgrim to a holy place.

Welcome to your Words from this Land

The science of cultivating and tilling fields is called:

The word "Agrarian" in the given headline means:


What does "acreage" refer to here?


Peregrination refers to:

When they visited Thailand for the first time, they were surprised by the _____________ culture:

"Pilgrims" in the given headline means:

Source: Hindustan Times

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


3. Science of tilling or cultivating the fields

5. Science of soil management an crop production

6. Something that is foreign or strange


1. A travel to visit a holy place

2. To travel from place to place

4. Large piece of land

5. A society largely dependant on farming

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