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The tiller or wheel used to steer a ship or boat. Old English “helma”=handle.


Boast about or praise something, especially excessively. Old French “vanter” < Latin “vantare”=to boast < “vanus”=vain or empty.

An artificial passage for water fitted with a valve or gate for stopping or regulating the flow. Old French “escluse” < Latin “excludere”=to shut out < “ex-“=out + “claudere”=to close.

(n) Someone who is not committed to believing in either the existence or the nonexistence of a god; (adj) Having a skeptical or non-committal attitude towards something. Greek “agnostos”=unknown < “a-“=without + “gnosis”=knowledge <“gignoskein”=to know.

To avoid someone or something because of dislike, fear, or caution. Old English “scunian”=to abhor, detest, or loathe.

To move quickly and with some force. Middle English “hortle” < to strike, dash, or knock < Old French “hurter”=to collide, hit, or push.

An underground chamber or vault often used as a burial place and typically lying beneath a church; a cave, cavern, or grotto. Latin “crypta”=covered passage < Greek “kripti”=vault < “kriptein”=to hide.

A tricky situation in which you do not know what to do or have to make a hard choice. Middle French “predicament” < Latin “praedicamentum”=a category, circumstance or condition < “predicare”=to proclaim, declare < “prae”=beforehand + “dicere”=to say.

To give someone a false idea about something, or to show that something cannot be true or real. Old English “beleogan”=to deceive by lying < “be-“=about + “leogen”=to lie.

Suggesting something is likely to be a successful in the future. Latin “auspex”=a person who tells the future by watching the flight of birds < “avis”=bird + “spex”=an observer < “specere”=to behold, observe.

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