Memories of Favourite Places # Improve Vocabulary

MEMORIES OF FAVOURITE PLACES

It could be that romantic restaurant, or your favourite park bench. A specific part of the brain seems to be responsible for learning and remembering the precise locations of places that are special to us, research in mice has shown for the first time.

Place cells are neurons that help us map our surroundings, and both mice and humans have such cells in the hippocampus – a brain region vital for learning, memory and navigation.

Nathan Danielson at Columbia University in New York and his colleagues focused on a part of the hippocampus that feeds signals to the rest of the brain, called CA1. They found that in mice, the CA1 layer where general environment maps are learned and stored is different to the one for locations that have an important meaning.

Treadmill test

They discovered this by recording brain activity in the two distinct layers of CA1, using mice placed on a treadmill. The treadmill rotated between six distinctive surface materials – including silky ribbons, green pom-pom fabric and silver glitter masking tape. At all times, the mice were able to lick a sensor to try to trigger the release of drinking water.

During the first phase of the experiment, however, the sensor only worked at random times. The mice formed generalised maps of their experience on the multi-surfaced treadmill, and the team found that these were stored in the superficial layer of CA1.

Then the team activated the sensor only when the mice were on a specific surface, such as the one with silky strips. Mice learned to coordinate their licking with being on the “active” zone, and developed a map that was stored in the deeper layer of CA1.

The team’s conclusion, Danielson says, is that the superficial CA1 layer forms a stable baseline representation of the environment, while the deeper layer maps emotional significance.

“It’s like navigating to your favourite restaurant,” says Danielson. “You need to know the general area, and the wider environment, but the location of the restaurant is of special significance, and incorporates an emotional element,” he says.

#WORDMEANINGSYNONYM
1RomanticOf, or relating to, or of the nature of romance; fanciful; impractical; unrealisticAdventurous, amorous, charming, colorful, corny, dreamy, erotic, exciting, exotic, fanciful, fantastic, fascinating, glamorous, maudlin, mysterious, nostalgic, passionate, tender, utopian, whimsical
2RestaurantAn establishment where meals are served to customersBar, cafeteria, coffee shop, diner, dining room, inn, joint, outlet, saloon, canteen, chophouse, dive, drive-in, eatery, grill, hideaway, lunchroom, pizzeria
3FavoriteA person or thing regarded with special favor or preferenceBeloved, cherished, favored, main, popular, prized, treasured, choice, darling, dear, dearest, intimate, personal, pet, sweetheart
4ColleaguesAn associateAide, ally, assistant, buddy, co-worker, companion, comrade, friend, partner, teammate, auxiliary, chum, coadjutor, cohort, collaborator, compatriot, compeer, confederate, confrere, crony, helper, pal, workmate
5DiscoveredTo notice or realizeDetected, disclosed, exposed, identified, invented, ascertained, disinterred, espied, explored, learned, observed, opened, originated, perceived, presented, recognized, revealed, shown, sighted, spotted, unearthed, unlocked, unveiled
6DistinctDistinguished as not being same; not identical; separateDefinite, noticeable, recognizable, specific, unmistakable, audible, categorical, clean-cut, clear, clear-cut, enunciated, evident, explicit, express, incisive, lucid, manifest, marked, palatable, patent, perspicuous, plain, prescribed, sharp, transparent, trenchant, unambiguous
7TreadmillAn exercise machine that allows the user to walk or run in place, usually on a continuous moving beltChore, drudgery, groove, labor, pace, rote, routine, rut, sweat, task, toil, travail, grub work, hard work, moil
8DistinctiveServing to distinguish; characteristic; distinguishingCool, extraordinary, idiosyncratic, offbeat, original, peculiar, singular, special, weird, characteristic, diacritic, diagnostic, discrete, distinguishing, excellent, far cry, gnarly, individual, like night and day, outstanding, perfect, poles apart, proper, separate
9TriggerTo initiate or precipitate; to become activeBring about, cause, generate, produce, prompt, provoke, set off, spark, start, activate, elicit, give rise to, set in motion
10SuperficialBeing at, on, or near the surface; apparent rather than real.Cursory, frivolous, one-dimensional, perfunctory, silly, sketchy, slight, trivial, apparent, casual, cosmetic, depthless, desultory, empty, evident, exterior, external, flash, flimsy, general, glib, half-baked, hasty, hurried, ignorant, inattentive, warped, tip of the iceberg, ostensible,
11ConclusionThe end or close; final partClosure, completion, consequence, denouement, development, ending, outcome, result, cease, cessation, close, culmination, eventuality, finale, finish, issue, payoff, period, stop, termination, upshot, windup, wrap
12NavigatingTo walk or find one’s way on, in, or acrossCross, cruise, handle, maneuver, operate, sail, steer, captain, direct, drive, helm, journey, pilot, plan, plot, skipper, voyage, head out for, lay the course, ride out
13IncorporatesTo put or introduce into a body or mass as an integral part or partsAbsorb, assimilate, blend, consolidate, cover, embody, fuse, integrate, merge, mix, organize, amalgamate, associate, charter, coalesce, dub, form, imbibe, join, link, pool, start ,subsume, unite, add to, gang up, hook in, put together, tie in
14EmotionalPertaining to or involving emotion; subject to or easily affected by emotionsAffecting, exciting, heated, hysterical, impassioned, moving, nervous, passionate, poignant, sensitive, sentimental, spontaneous, touching, ardent, disturbed, ecstatic, emotive, enthusiastic, excitable, falling apart, fanatical, feeling, fervent fervid, fickle, fiery, heartwarming, histrionic, hot-blooded, impetuous, impulsive, irrational, overwrought, pathetic, responsive, roused, sentient, stirred

 

IELTSBAND7

Madurai # Improve Vocabulary

Guts and Glory: On a Chettinad Food Pilgrimage in South India

Madurai’s towering temples are feats of the imagination, filled with deities and demons draped in jewellery, armed with weapons, and often, bearing more limbs than usual.

There are two reasons people visit Madurai: Meenakshi and mutton. Meenakshi is Madurai’s feared and revered temple deity, the three-breasted consort of Shiva, who presides over the scorching city from the cool, stone sanctum of the Meenakshi Amman kovil. The temple is an arresting sight, its gopuram crowded with candy-coloured angels and demons that seem crafted from fondant. Like a gaudy, tiered confection of mythical proportions. But I am more interested in the mutton. Madurai’s no-nonsense Chettinad messes, I am told, serve every part of the goat—brain, intestine, liver, lung, tongue, hooves, and head—and I intend on sampling each one.

My hankering for the peppery flavours of Chettinad food dates back to my schooling in Madras. Thanks to generous neighbours, classmates’ dabbas, and a mother who is both curious and a wonderful cook, I am well acquainted with the powers of traditional Tamil cooking. I know, for instance, that a good rasam delivers not just potency but also clarity of thought. That there is no better way to start the day than with a tumbler of filter coffee, and no better way to end it than with a steel plate of sambhar, rice, and ghee, preferably with pappadums. But my most treasured food memories of Madras are dinners at Chettinad restaurants. Decades later, recollections of that feisty mutton pepper fry flecked with curry leaves and glistening with pure coconut oil, still make me quiver.

Geographically, Chettinad is part of the districts of Sivaganga and Pudukkottai in Tamil Nadu, spread over some 1,500-odd kilometres of arid scrubland. Today, the region is known for its cotton saris, heritage hotels, and antique markets. But before India became independent, and even before the British colonised our ports, spices, and princely states, Chettinad was part of the ancient Tamil Pandyan Kingdom. Its capital was Madurai.

The one thing that has remained constant from the 13th century is the city’s blistering weather. Our auto weaves past rickety cycle rickshaws, ambassador cars, and ladies on mopeds, hair neatly plaited and gleaming with oil. We’re headed to Amma Mess, one the city’s most popular restaurants, known for its delicious, inexpensive fare. Within minutes of scoring a table, we’re faced with seven shiny steel plates piled with food: rabbit roast, pepper quail, dosa layered with keema and eggs, parotta mashed with mutton, a neat mound of pigeon biryani, fish curry, and an omelette stuffed with bone marrow. As my fiancé and I lock eyes across the table like soldiers before battle, a waiter appears. “Madam” he says, smiling. “Ghee?”

Later that day, we meet Praveena and Mukunthan, a chatty couple who conduct food trails, introducing travellers to Madurai’s markets and lesser-known culinary gems. Within minutes, we see the merits of walking with a local. Madurai’s Old Town seems like a warren of rickety lanes, but Praveena tells us it’s actually remarkably well planned. The streets are laid out in concentric squares around the Meenakshi temple. Each has a different focus: jewellery, flowers, spices, saris, kitchenware. The layout instantly becomes easier to grasp.

It’s past 9 p.m. but the market buzzes like a Mumbai railway station at peak hour. It’s warm and terribly crowded and yet, I can’t wipe the smile off my face. The scent of jasmine, the snatches of Tamil, the roly-poly script on store-fronts, like a queue of plump ladies waiting for a bus: Like an incantation, these sights and sounds invoke long-forgotten memories. It’s strange, the things our brains choose to save. With every recollection, the dust clears a little more, my confidence is boosted, and soon I tentatively ask for a bottle of water—in Tamil.

As we eat our way through the market, we learn about Madurai’s earliest association with food. Madurai is named after maduram, which means nectar in Tamil, and according to Hindu scriptures, the city was birthed when a drop of ambrosia fell to Earth from Shiva’s dreadlocks. This is why “God and food are Madurai’s favourite pastimes,” Praveena says grinning. Egged on by our charming and enthusiastic guides, we devour ungodly amounts of meat: chicken parottas, goat’s trotters, uttappam and mutton keema, idli and fish curry.

And yet, it’s the vegetarian flavours that have me scribbling in my food diary. From street carts we have slices of tender coconut tree bark, cottonseed and jaggery payasam, and adirasam, a decadent cross between a doughnut and a puff pastry that’s deep-fried in ghee. The cottonseed payasam, Mukunthan says, helps curb respiratory disorders and was traditionally consumed by workers in Madurai’s cotton mills.

Every plate of food we eat is memorable (pigeon incidentally, tastes like gamier chicken) but it’s not authentic Chettinad food, our hosts inform us. Like the many migrant communities that moved to Madurai for work, regional cuisines too adapt to survive, especially when they’re served in restaurants. Recipes are tweaked for local palates—a little more oil, a little less cooking time, maybe a dash of colour—and before long they barely resemble the original. “You’ll have to go to Karaikudi for the real thing,” emphasizes Mukunthan.

We round off our night with Tirunelveli halwa, a gooey, melt-in-the-mouth dessert made from wheat, just the right amount of sugar, and far too much ghee. Served warm, on a dried peepul leaf, it is the closest thing to maduram I have tasted.

Oddly enough for a community that loves meat, the Chettiars were originally vegetarians from Kanchipuram in northern Tamil Nadu. They lived there for thousands of years before moving to a place called Kaveripoompattinam, a small thriving Chola port town in the marshy Kaveri delta. Here, they began trading in plump Kaveri rice and salt from the Coromandel Coast but before long, they were travelling with fleets to Malacca, Sumatra, and Java. Their zeal for commerce grew, and with it, their appetite for the Southeast Asian food they encountered on their voyages. Seafood entered the Chettiar kitchen, and soon pots of crab rasam were gently simmering in their handsome homes.

WORDMEANINGSYNONYMS
1. ToweringVery high or tallColossal, gigantic, imposing, lofty, magnificent, massive, mighty, monumental, prodigious, soaring, stately, tall, elevated, sublime, surpassing
2. ImaginationThe action or process of forming images or conceptsThought, artistry, awareness, fancy, fantasy, idea, image, imagery, ingenuity, insight, inspiration, intelligence, inventiveness, originality, resourcefulness, thought, vision, wit
3. DeitiesA god or goddessDivinity, idol, immortal, creator, goddess, godhead, celestial, demigoddess, divine being, supreme being
4. DrapedTo cover or hand with cloth or other fabric, especially in graceful foldsCloak, clothe, cover, dangle, don, dress, enclose, envelop, fold, hang, sprawl, swathe, wrap, array, display, droop, drop, enwrap, line, model, roll, spread, spread-eagle, suspend
5.ReveredTo regard with respect tinged with awe; venerateAdmire, adore, apotheosize, appreciate, be in awe of, cherish, defer to, deify, enjoy, esteem, exalt, hold in awe, honor, look up to, love, magnify, pay homage, prize, put on pedestal, regard, respect, think highly of, treasure, value, venerate, worship
6. ScorchingBurning very hotBlistering, fiery, searing, sizzling, sweltering, burning, hot
7. SanctumA sacred place, especially a shrine within a temple or churchAltar, chancel, shrine, temple, holy place, sacrarium, sanctorium
8. FondantA thick paste mad of sugar and water and often flavored or colored, used in making of sweets and the icing and decoration of cakes.
9.MythicalOccurring in or characteristic of myths or folk talesAllegorical, fabled, fanciful, fictitious, imaginary, legendary, mythic, storied, unreal, whimsical, chimerical, created, fabricated, fabulous, fairy-tale, false, fantasy, fictive, folkloric, invented, made-up, mythological, non-existent, pretended, supposititious, traditional, untrue, visionary
10.HankeringA strong desire to do or have somethingCraving, pining, yearning, ache, druthers, hunger, itch, longing, thirst, urge, want, weakness, wish, yen, fire in belly, munchies.
11.GenerousShowing readiness to give more of something, especially money, than is strictly expected or necessary.Acceptable, benevolent, big, charitable, considerate, fair, good, helpful, honest, hospitable, lavish, reasonable, thoughtful, tolerant, unselfish, willing, altruistic, beneficent, bounteous, bountiful, easy, equitable, excellent, free, greathearted, high-minded, honorable, just, kind, kind-hearted. Kindly, liberal, lofty, loose, magnanimous, moderate, munificent, noble, open-handed, philanthropic, profuse, soft-touch, ungrudging, unsparing, unstinting
12.AcquaintedMake someone aware of or familiar withAbreast, conversant, informed, advised, enlightened, familiarized, apprised of, clued in, familiar with, in the know, versed in
13.PotencyThe power of something to affect the mind or bodyCapability, efficacy, efficiency, vigor, authority, birr, capacity, command, control, dominion, energy, force, go, hardihood, influence, juice, kick, might, moxie, muscle, pep, potential, power, puissance, punch, sinew, snap, sock, steam, strength, sway, virtue, zap, zing, zip, what it takes
14.TumblerA drinking glass with straight sides and no handle or stem;Clown, dancer, gymnast, performer, aerialist, artist, athlete, balancer, contortionist, funambulist, stunt person, trapezist
An acrobat especially one who performs somersaults
15.FeistyLively, determined and courageousBubbly, courageous, excitable, fiery, gritty, gutsy, high-strung, lively, scrappy, spunky, active, alive, difficult, enthusiastic, frisky, full of pep, game, gutty, hot-blooded, mettlesome, ornery, peppy quarrelsome, sensitive, thin-skinned, tough, truculent, zestful
16.GlisteningShine with a sparkling lightBright, burnished, glassy, glazed, gleaming, lustrous, polished, shining, shiny, silky, sleek, reflecting, slick, smooth, brilliant, silken
17. QuiverTremble or shake with a slight rapid motionConvulsion, flash, glimmer, glitter, oscillation, palpitation, pulsation, shake, shimmer, shiver, shudder, sparkle, spasm, throb, tic, tremble, tremor, twinkle
18.ScrublandLand consisting of scrub vegetationBackwoods, bramble, briar, brush, chaparral, creeper, forest, hedge, hinterland, jungle, outback, plant, scrub, shrubbery, thicket, vine, wilderness
19.BlisteringIntenseFiery, heated, scalding, scorching, searing, sizzling, sweltering, torrid, baking, boiling, broiling, burning, roasting, blistery, intense, broiling, burning, roasting, blistery, intense, red-hot, severe
20.GleamingShine brightly especially with reflected lightBright, burnished, glassy, glazed, glistening, lustrous, polished, shining, shiny, sleek, reflecting, slick, smooth, brilliant, silken, silky
21.WarrenA network of interconnecting rabbit burrows
22. RicketyPoorly made and likely to collapsebroken, decrepit, derelict, dilapidated, flimsy, ramshackle, shaky, wobbly, feeble, fragile, frail, imperfect, infirm, insecure, jerry-built, precarious, rachitic, rattletrap, rocky, tottering, tottery, tumble-down, unsteady, wavering, weak
23.BuzzesMake a low, continuous humming soundHum, murmur, whisper, drone, fizz, fizzle, hiss, purr, ring, ringing,whir
24.IncantationA series of word said as a magic spell or charmEnchantment, hymn, abracadabra, bewitchment, chant, charm, conjuration, conjuring, formula, hex, hocus-pocus, hoodoo, invocation, necromancy, rune, sorcery, voodoo, witchcraft, wizardry, ala kazam, black magic, mumbo-jumbo, open sesame
25.AmbrosiaThe food of the godsDelicacy, nectar, heavenly food, immortal food
26.ScribblingWrite or draw carelessly or hurriedlyCacography, graffiti, graffito, griffon age, hieroglyphics
27.TweakedTwist or pull sharplyTease, twist, jerk, pinch, pluck, pull
28.TradingThe action or activity of buying and selling goods and servicesCommerce, deal, dealing, exchange, industry, manufacturing, market, sales, selling, trade, traffic, transaction, affairs, bargaining, barter, commercialization, contracts, game, industrialism, merchandising, racket, undertaking, buying and selling, capital and labor, free enterprise, production and distribution
29.ZealGreat energy or enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause or an objectiveArdor, determination, devotion, diligence, eagerness, earnestness, fanaticism, fervor, gusto, inclination, intensity, passion, perseverance, sincerity, spirit, urgency, verve, warmth, zest, alacrity, bustle, dispatch, drive, enterprise, fierceness, fire, hustle, initiative, intentness, keenness, mania, push, readiness, vehemence, yen, stick- to-itiveness, what it takes
30. SimmeringStay just below boiling point while bubbling gentlyBoiling, heated, hot

 

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IELTS Band 7 Dehradun 323, 1st Floor, GMS Road, Above Axis Bank, Near Ballupur Chowk, Dehradun , India – 248001

Village That Inspired Tagore # Improve Vocabulary

Source : National Geographic Traveler

Download the text with meaning for print – The File

The Village That Inspired Tagore

Rabindranath Tagore often holidayed in Mongpu, a quiet Himalayan village about 1.5hr from Darjeeling, during the last three years of his life. So it was only natural that photographer Dhritiman Mukherjee and Bollywood music director Shantanu Moitra visited Mongpu—and their Bengali heritage—when they were on the West Bengal leg of their #100DaysInHimalayas project. Between February and December 2016, the duo will make a series of trips in the Himalayas covering reaches running from Kashmir to Arunachal Pradesh, and into the neighbouring foothills of Nepal and Bhutan—and they’re taking National Geographic Traveller Indiaalong for the ride.

On a day trip to Mongpu, they visited the bungalow where Tagore stayed at the invitation of his protégée, the author Maitreyi Devi. The house overlooks a cinchona plantation and quinine factory, once managed by Devi’s husband. On his last visit in 1940, Tagore fell very ill and had to be shifted to Kolkata. He passed away the next year, leaving behind several possessions at the Mongpu residence, which was later turned into a museum by the government, and named Rabindra Bhavan.

Among Rabindra Bhavan’s display are artworks, handwritten documents, and most interestingly, furniture designed by Tagore and carved by his son, Rathindranath Tagore. Moitra and Mukherjee saw Tagore’s bed, which has an inclined headrest said to have tackled his respiratory problem. His mahogany writing desk and chair, said to be designed to support his back, faces a window with a tranquil view of the lush, hilly landscape that the nature-loving writer treasured. For Mukherjee, the window by which Tagore wrote provided the biggest emotional connection. “He had a vast view in front, and that landscape is intact,” the photographer said, “It’s very green, there are lots of trees; it’s at the edge of the snow.”

Like many visitors at this memorial to a literary giant, Moitra was dismayed by the broken windowpanes, cracked walls, dented doors and inadequate security. “We could have walked out with any of Tagore’s belongings,” he said. And yet, much of it remains. The place may be unkempt but the legacy of Tagore’s visits is still strong in the village.

WORD MEANING SYNONYM
1.       Photographer A person who takes photographs, especially as a job. Paparazzo, photojournalist, shutterbug
2.       Heritage Property that is or may be inherited; and inheritance;

A special or individual possession; an allotted portion

Ancestry, culture, custom, legacy, right, tradition, bequest, birthright, convention, dowry, endowment, estate, fashion, inheritance, lot, patrimony, portion, share
3.       Cinchona An evergreen South American tree or shrub with fragrant flowers, cultivated for its bark
4.       Plantation An estate on which crops such as coffee, sugar, and tobacco are grown;

Colonization or settlement of emigrants, especially of English and then Scottish families in Ireland in 16th -17th centuries under government sponsorship.

Estate, homestead, orchard, ranch, farmstead, hacienda, vineyard
5.       Protegee A person who is guided and supported by an older and more experienced or influential person Applicant, buyer, consumer, patient, patron, shopper, believer, chump, dependent, disciple, follower, front, head, mark, purchaser, walk-in, ward
6.       Quinine A bitter crystalline compound present in cinchona bark, used as a tonic formerly as an antimalarial drug. Blame, castigation, censure, curse, defamation, derision, hosing, insults, invective, knifing, libel, obloquy, opprobrium, put-down, reproach, revilement, scolding, signifying, slander, swearing, tirade, upbraiding, vilification, vituperation
7.       Possessions The state of having, owning, or controlling something.

Something that is owned or possessed.

Custody, dominion, hold, occupancy, occupation, proprietary, retention, tenancy, tenure, title
8.       Residence A person’s home, especially a large and impressive one. Apartment, condo, dwelling, hall, headquarters, home, house, mansion, palace, abode, address, co-op, domicile, habitation, hole, household, inhabitancy, inhabitation, lodging, manor, occupancy, occupation, rack, roof, roost, seat, settlement, villa
9.       Artworks Illustrations, photographs, or other non-textual material prepared for inclusion in a publication. Art, artwork, picture, piece, portrait, watercolor, oil
10.   Carved Cut in order to produce and object, design or inscription. Chiseled, engraved, sculpted, carven, chased, cut, etched, furrowed, graved, graven, grooved, hewed, hewn, modeled, scissored, slashed, sliced, whittled
11.   Tackled Make determined efforts to deal with ( a problem or difficult task) Accept, begin, deal with, engage in, take up, try, undertake, work on, attack, attempt, essay, launch
12.   Mahogany Hard reddish-brown timber from a tropical tree, used for quality furniture.

A tropical tree which produces mahogany.

Amber, bay, beige, bister, brick, bronze, buff, chestnut, chocolate, cinnamon, cooca, coffee, copper, drab, dust, ecru, fawn, ginger, hazel, henna, khaki, nut, ochre, puce, russet, rust, sepia, sorrel, tan, toast, umber
13.   Tranquil Free from disturbance; calm Amicable, balmy, calm, easygoing, gentle, mild, pastoral, placid, restful, sedate, serene, sober, stable, tame, temperate
14.   Intact Not damaged or impaired in any way; complete Flawless, perfect, unblemished, unbroken, unharmed, unhurt, unscathed, untouched
15.   Memorial A statue or structure established to remind people of a person or event; a statement of facts, especially as the basis of a petition. Remembering, canonizing, celebrative, commemoratory, consecrating, consecrative, dedicatory, deifying, enshrining, in tribute, memorializing, monumental
16.   Inadequate Lacking the quality or quantity required; insufficient for a purpose Deficient, faulty, incompetent, incomplete, incomplete, lacking, meager, poor, scarce, sketchy, skimpy, unequal, weak
17.   Unkempt Having an untidy or disheveled appearance. Bedraggled, dilapidated, disheveled, grubby, grungy, messy, neglected, rumpled, scruffy, shaggy.

IELTSBAND7

The Bright Side In America # Improve Vocabulary

Source –TIME

Charity–humanity’s most benevolent impulse–is a timeless and borderless virtue, dating at least to the dawn of religious teaching. Philanthropy as we understand it today, however, is a distinctly American phenomenon, inseparable from the nation that shaped it. From colonial leaders to modern billionaires like Buffett, Gates and Zuckerberg, the tradition of giving is woven into our national DNA.

Like so many of our social structures, the formal practice of giving money to aid society traces its origin to a Founding Father. Benjamin Franklin, an icon of individual industry and frugality even in his own day, understood that with the privilege of doing well came the price of doing good. When he died in 1790, Franklin thought to future generations, leaving in trust two gifts of 1,000 lb. of sterling silver–one to the city of Boston, the other to Philadelphia. Per his instruction, a portion of the money and its dividends could not be used for 200 years.

While Franklin’s gifts lay in wait, the tradition he established evolved alongside the young nation. After the Civil War, rapid industrialization concentrated unfathomable wealth in the hands of a few, creating a period of unprecedented inequality. In response, the steel magnate Andrew Carnegie pioneered scientific philanthropy, which sought to address the underlying causes of social ills, rather than their symptoms. In his lifetime, Carnegie gave away more than $350 million, the equivalent of some $9 billion today. His 1889 essay “Wealth”–now better known as Carnegie’s “The Gospel of Wealth”–effectively launched modern philanthropy by creating a model that the wealthy continue to follow.

Two decades later, John D. Rockefeller endowed the Rockefeller Foundation, which soon became the largest such “benevolent trust” in the world. Prior to World War II, the Rockefeller Foundation provided more foreign aid than the entire federal government.

Other, often far less well-known men and women have played a critical role in philanthropy’s evolution. One of my personal heroes is Julius Rosenwald, who made his fortune building Sears, Roebuck and Co. With his giving, Rosenwald helped construct more than 5,300 schools across the segregated South and opened classroom doors to a generation of African-American students, including Maya Angelou and Congressman John Lewis.

America’s philanthropic instinct is not limited to the rich. The nation’s history is rife with people like Oseola McCarty, a Mississippi washerwoman who gave away her life savings of $150,000 in 1995 to fund college scholarships for low-income students with promise.

What accounts for this culture of generosity? The answer is not solely altruistic. Incentives in the tax code, for one, encourage the well-off to give. And philanthropy has long helped improve the public image of everyone from robber barons to the new tech elite.

More troubling, however, are the foundational problems that make philanthropy so necessary. Just before his death, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote, “Philanthropy is commendable, but it must not cause the philanthropist to overlook the circumstances of economic injustice which make philanthropy necessary.”

Indeed, King illuminates a central contradiction: philanthropy is an offspring of the market, conceived and sustained by returns on capital, yet its most important responsibility is to help address the market’s imbalances and inadequacies.

Today institutional giving is undergoing a radical transformation. Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg made headlines for committing $45 billion in Facebook stock through a limited liability corporation. They’re among a host of emerging donors who are experimenting with approaches to giving away their fortunes outside the boundaries of traditional foundations.

Only 26 years ago, the last of Franklin’s gifts were finally made available, having multiplied to $6.5 million. More than the sum, they represent a broader principle: We are custodians of a public trust, even if our capital was derived from private enterprise, and our most important obligation is ensuring that the system works more equally and more justly for more people. This belief is core to our national character. America’s greatest strength is not the fact of perfection, but rather the act of perfecting.

WORDMEANINGSYNONYMS
1. BenevolentWell-meaning and kindlyBenign, caring, compassionate, generous, humane, philanthropic
2. virtueMoral excellence; goodness; righteousnessAdvantage, character, ethic, excellence, faith, generosity, goodness, ideal, kindness, love, merit, morality, purity, quality, rectitude, righteousness, value
3. philanthropyAltruistic concern for human welfare and advancement, usually manifested by donations of money, property, or work to needy persons by endowment of institutions of learning and hospitals and by generosity to other socially useful purposes.Charity, generosity, alms, alms-giving, altruism, assistance, benefaction, beneficence, contribution, dole, donation, endowment, fund, relief
4. frugalityThe quality of being frugal, or prudent in saving; the lack of wastefulnessModeration, prudence, thrift, avarice, carefulness, conservation, economy, miserliness, niggardliness, parsimoniousness, parsimony, penuriousness, providence, saving, stinginess
5. waitstay where one is or delay action until a particular time or event:Interval, down, halt, downtime, hold, interim, rest, stay
6. unfathomableNot able to fathom or completely understand; incomprehensibleBoundless, immeasurable, infinite
7. unprecedentedWithout previous instance; never known or experiencedBizzare, extraordinary, fantastic, miraculous, new, remarkable, singular, uncommon, unheard- of, unique, unparalleled, unrivaled, unusual
8. endowedTo provide with a permanent fund or source of incomeBlessed. Enriched, equipped, graced, suppilied
9. segregatedRestricting to one group, especially exclusively on the basis of racial or ethnic membershipIsolated, restricted, excluded, separated, discriminative
10. rifeOf common or frequent occurrence; prevalent; in widespread existence, activity or useAbundant, alive, plentiful, popular, prevalent, rampant, replete, abounding, common, current, epidemic, extensive, frequent
11. generosityReadiness or liberality in givingGoodness, hospitality, kindness, largesse, unselfishness, alms-giving, altruism, beneficence
12. altruisticUnselfishly concerned or devoted to the welfare of othersCharitable, humanitarian, magnanimous, philanthropic, all heart, benevolent, big, bleeding heart, considerate, good scout
13. incentivesSomething that incites or tends to incite to action or greater effort as a reward offered for increased productivityEncouragement, enticement, impetus, motivation, reason, stimulus, allurement, bait, carrot, catalyst, come- on, provocation, stimulant, insistence, exhortation
14. robberA person who robs (steals)Bandit, burglar, con artist, crook, looter, marauder, mugger, pickpocket, pirate, raider, rustler, shoplifter, swindler, thief, thug, brigand, buccaneer, cardsharper, cheat, chiseler, desperado, despoiler, fence, forager, fraud, hijacker, housebreaker, prowler, punk, safecracker, pillager, plunderer, operator
15. baronsA member of the lowest grade of nobilityAristocrat, lord, peer
16. contradictionA statement or proposition that contradicts or denies another or itself and is logically incongruousConflict, difference, disagreement, discrepancy, dispute, inconsistency, confutation, contravention, defiance, denial, dissension, incongruity, negation, opposite, opposition
17. radicalOf or going to the root or origin; fundamentalProfound, basal, bottom, cardinal, constitutional, essential, native, natural, organic, original, primary, primitive, deep-seated, foundational, inherent, innate, intrinsic, meat-and-potatoes, primal
18. obligationSomething by which a person is bound or obliged to do certain things, and which arises out of a sense of duty or results from custom, law etc.Accountability, agreement bond, burden, commitment, constraint, contract, debt, duty, liability, necessity, need, promise, requirement, right, trust, understanding

IELTSBAND7

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