The Joy of Language Learning
Flying Aircraft

Words that Flew into our Dictionaries.

The dream of flight was an ambitious target of our ancestors. Having seen the birds travel so close to the heavens, envious humans wondered how our world would look like from up there. It was only in 1783 that humans started the journey towards the skies with the first hot-air balloon built by Montgolfier brothers in France.

Wright Brothers
Image Source: WikiImages from Pixabay

Almost 120 years later, the Wright Brothers flew the first powered plane in 1903 and the rest, as they say, is history. Nowadays, it is difficult to imagine a word without airplanes and aerial modes of transport and this is all thanks to those who came before us and dared to dream (not the one where you sleep).

Volare is the Latin word that mean to fly or move swiftly. Thus, it gave rise to several words that relate to flying one way or another.

Have you heard of the term volley? It is a common word in sports like tennis and football. It is a shot that is hit before the ball manages to touch the ground. Its connection with volare is clearer then when put this way: volley is a shot that is hit when the ball is still in the air. It is a shot that requires utmost talent and practice but is lethal when executed to perfection. Volley though isn’t only limited to games and sports. On a more serious note, when in battle a soldier open fires his automatic weapon, a volley of bullets, meaning a great number of bullets, is released to hunt the enemy down. These may or may not be accompanied by a volley of abuses for their opponent.

Image Souce: HeungSoon/ Pixabay

Building upon volare, we also have the word Volant which means something that is quick and nimble or is capable of flying. Thus, Volant creatures are creatures that can fly like birds and insects.

Volant creature
Image Source: homecare119/ Pixabay

Deriving from it, we have volatile which generally means a state of instability or unpredictability. The volatility of the stock market, i.e. rapid movement of price in either direction is a headline most would’ve head even if they aren’t particularly active in the field. If the situation of a town I volatile, the condition can escalate and worsen anytime. In chemistry, if a substance is volatile, as in petrol, kerosene or camphor, it means that it can convert into its gaseous state quickly. The process in which a solid directly turns into vapor due to high volatility is known as sublimation, something which we can see in camphor. Volatile can also be used to label a person who is unpredictable and whimsical, essentially referring to quite a few mathematics teachers.

VolleyIn football or tennis, hitting the ball before it touches the ground; a great number of.
VolatileSomething that is unstable or unpredictable.
VolantQuick and nimble; capable of flying.
Sublime-ationThe process in which a volatile solid turn directly converts to its gaseous state.

Now that you have new words in your arsenal, how about a small battle?

Welcome to A Non-Volatile Quiz

The word "volley" here means:

Image Source: Diario AS

The stock market is expected to remain ____________ till the budget. (unpredictable):

Stock Market
Image Credit: Pexels/ Pixabay

Volant creatures travelled to the distant corners the earth much before humans. The word 'volant' here means:

The enemy soldiers were welcomed into our territory with a _______________ of bullets:

Image Credit: Dariusz Sankowski/ Pixabay

Click on image below to be redirected to the crossword:


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