Wordly Benefits: Likes, dislikes, and an add-on

Mania comes from a Greek word meaning madness and ultimately from an Indo-European root for mind.

Written by Amitabh Ranjan | Published:March 21, 2016 3:57 pm
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

It is interesting to see how the media frequently coins words and expressions using suffixes.

The latest darling of the world media is new Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Just 44 years of age and son of former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, this boyish-looking head of state has created a kind of admiration which is being called Trudeaumania. His recent visit to the United States showed how that coinage is not going to be challenged anytime too soon, for at the high-profile White House dinner in his honour he wowed everyone present, evoking such encomia as “breath of fresh air”, “very impressive” and “pretty cool”.

It would appear that Canada is the season’s flavour. Trudeau’s country man, or rather country kid, Jacob Tremblay is all set to cause Tremblaymania. Moviegoers across the world are crushing on him for his top notch performance in Room, as the son of a woman held captive. With just nine springs behind him, he has bagged the Critics’ Choice award for Best Young Actor.

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Mania comes from a Greek word meaning madness and ultimately from an Indo-European root for mind. It means excessive liking or enthusiasm for something. The connotation in certain cases is negative but in coinages meant to imply a craze among a large number of people for something or someone, it could define positive feeling.

For example, the news about the death of ‘the Fifth Beatle’ George Martin reminded me of Beatlemania, the 1960s’ coinage that defined addiction to the iconic British pop group and the frenzied behaviour of their admirers. The pattern was later followed to encapsulate the adulation of other pop groups like Rollermania caused by the Bay City Rollers in the mid 1970s.

One of the newspaper columnists writing on corruption a few days back rued how India had become a kind of kleptocracy, where apportioning public money for one’s own interest had almost become a norm. The coinage comes from kleptomania, which means an obsessive urge to steal.

Indian politics is a unique alchemy of contrasting events. In one of its states, Uttarakhand, where horse-trading is doing the rounds, one of the lawmakers has been the reason for the amputation of a leg of a police mare. It appears that the MLA suffers from some unknown malady of the mind. What is for sure is that he does not suffer from hippomania. If you are confused, go look for its meaning. On the way, you can also check out dipsomania and megalomania among many other such words and, of course, maniac and manic depressive.

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