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Week 1- maroon Week 2- parley Week 3- fallible Week 4- guile Week 5- wheedle


“He felt marooned here in Bombay because he could not understand the language and had no friends to lean on.” This week’s word ‘maroon’ is a simple word probably originating from the French. To get a feel for maroon, we will suggest several synonyms like “abandon, desert, and strand.” Another thought behind ‘maroon’ is – no way out. Make your travel plans carefully so you don’t get marooned in Bombay!


“The sentence for the sailors who mutinied against the ship’s captain was to be marooned on a desert island.” This example sentence conveys the most used definition of maroon, i.e., to leave (someone) in a place (such as an island) that is difficult or impossible to get away from. A second and slightly different meaning often used is “to place or leave in isolation or without hope of ready escape.” Artists also use maroon to indicate a dark red color. Other than the color use, maroon is normally a very negative word. To be marooned is a very desperate condition!


“His employer went bankrupt and left him marooned in France.” One sure symptom of being marooned is to be abandoned. A couple of more words that give signs of one being marooned are to forsake, strand and dump. To maroon is to leave in a condition that is difficult to cope with or impossible to get out of. An unworkable idea is also something to ‘maroon’ as in to dump or strand. Use care that you do not get marooned without an escape plan!


“Sam went on to explain that a maroon late model car was waiting in the driveway.” When ‘maroon’ is used as an adjective, it is describing a deep red color. This color meaning of maroon is totally disconnected from the normal way in which maroon is used. Used in the verb form, maroon means to leave in isolation or in difficulty, where using it as an adjective means it is to indicate a color. There is little or no connection between the verb use of maroon and its adjective meaning as a red color!


“Jenny had a horrible date, because he left her marooned.” In a relationship, one thing a man should never do is leave his date in a difficult or impossible position. It is not only unkind but the worst kind of an unloving act. A man forsakes his responsibility and could be guilty of a criminal act if he maroons his date. Any man with a heart and brain should see to it that his date is safely home. Men, do not be guilty of leaving your date marooned!

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“He was able to parlay his fifty dollars into a small fortune.” It takes great skill to ‘parlay’ money, ability or luck into that which has greater value. It is said that someone who has the ability to communicate effectively is in possession of a “silver tongue.” Such a gift is the ability to use the right word at the right time to motivate or inspire others to action. Likewise to ‘parlay’ money into something greater is another kind of gift. Search your gifts for what you can parlay into something bigger and better!


“The senator was able to parlay his contacts into full support for his budget bill.” The meaning of ‘parlay’ in this sentence is “to exploit successfully.” However, the better known definition of parlay is “to bet in a parlay.” This use of parlay is to set up a series of two or more bets which takes the winnings of the first and place them on the next several bets. Another often used meaning is to “to increase or otherwise transform something into something of greater value.” This can mean money, gifts or abilities. Those who can do this have a great and useful asset!


“She was able to parlay her beauty and charm into a successful career.” Marilyn Monroe is an example of how a young woman was able to do this. Many other actresses have copied her technique and become successful film stars. This is a good example of the meaning of ‘parlay’ to exploit successfully. ‘To parlay’ is a method of taking a personal attribute or skill and using it to obtain success. One’s motivation to obtain success must be the total focus of one’s activities!


“In desperate times, people try to parlay the little they have into something bigger and better.” To wager or bet something is one of two things: an act of desperation or the work of an obsession. In either case, to try to parlay a little something into a lot is extremely risky. If the parlay fails, you lose everything and have to start again. Be sure that what you are betting on is worth the risk!


“To try to parlay a friendship or relationship into something greater is like throwing gas on hot coals.” In a friendship or relationship, trust is a key element. To try to wager or ‘parlay’ that trust into something bigger and better is a great risk. Seldom is this kind of betting successful. When trust is undermined or destroyed, any association is seriously impacted when the underlying trust disintegrates. Do not try to take advantage of or ‘parlay’ a relationship into an ‘asset’ of great value without understanding the risk you take to do so. Good relationships are like gold and should be treated with great value!

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“All presidential candidates are fallible, but he was the one that made the fewest campaign mistakes.” There is a saying “the cream rises to the top.” In this year’s presidential campaign, it will show us the one who makes the fewest mistakes while campaigning and he will reflect most accurately the will of the people. Accepting one’s fallibility and using the same to show voters an honest intent to be their leader is a great asset for a presidential candidate. Trying to hide one’s fallibility is a sure disaster!


“Our pastor refused to acknowledge that he was fallible like everyone else.” The English Bard said “to err is human.” Fallible is a verb and has two simple definitions and uses: 1) liable to be erroneous and 2) capable of making a mistake. The general idea behind ‘fallible’ is imperfection. Anyone who thinks he is “infallible” or without error has a mental issue and a form of a “god complex.” The pastor in the example sentence is one such person. Any one of us is capable of making a mistake at any given moment!


“As the PTA president, she acknowledged her fallibility.” This woman, however, focused upon her skills as a communicator and organizer. It is not making a mistake that brings harm to a person, but rather putting emphasis upon the negative. Since, as humans, we are all capable of making a mistake, it is better to focus upon the positive actions that help one to be a success. It is one’s focus that will bring positive results!


“The Egyptians were fallible people, but … when did they fail?” During the time of Moses, we learn a lot about the Egyptian people. They had choices to make and they were unwise in their decisions. One consequence was that they lost the firstborn males of an entire generation. Because they did not listen to Moses, they made bad decisions that impacted their entire civilization for several generations. Remember, there is no shame in being fallible. It is when one refuses to believe that he (or she) is fallible that trouble will come like a flood!


“We’re all fallible.” This thought must permeate all relationships. To be human is to err. Many relationships fail because one or the other party in the relationship forgets this. Mistakes will happen because we humans cannot know what the future will bring. That fact opens the door to error. Mistakes can happen simply because some piece of knowledge is unknown to the one taking some action and therefore the correct path is sometimes just a guess. A relationship without forgiveness to err is doomed to fail!

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“His use of guile to overcome his adversary was very clever.” Artful deception is another way to explain guile and how it is used. Guile is one of those words that will have a very negative tone to it. Artful deception is a nice way to say a person is scheming and dishonest. Guile is not a complimentary part of one’s character!


“Her use of guile to exploit her boss’s weakness was deplorable.” The single most often used meaning of guile is “the use of clever and usually dishonest methods to achieve something.” The key thought is a veiled or hidden action to achieve something that would not otherwise be accomplished. A couple of synonyms that will help understand our meaning here are: craftiness, slyness, and sneakiness. These words all suggest doing something with a hidden intent. Guile must be used only if nothing else will work and the end result will turn out well for all parties!


“The state senate used guile to get their most important bill passed.” The origin of guile is from its first use during the 13th century. It is an Anglo-French word that may have come from an old German word that meant some kind of divination. It had the sense of being able to “wiggle” out of something bad. It may have been an art or cunning of getting out of difficult situations. The use of guile is seldom good for both parties!


“He was very successful and knew how to use guile in a discrete way to accomplish his goals.” In this example sentence, we see ‘guile’ used in a very subtle or ‘foxy like’ way. The intent is to put something across to someone without arousing resistance. When one must use guile, it is questionable as to what their true intention must be. The purpose for using guile is to get something of negative value across without raising suspicion or resistance. Use guile only when nothing else will work and a good end result must be achieved!


“Samson did not know that there was guile in Delilah’s mouth.” Relationships are supposed to be founded upon truthfulness and trust. Guile is not a good item to include in any relationship. However, to get what one person thinks is a good relationship, guile is often used to achieve an end result. The use of guile is often the reason a relationship ends up being destroyed. Do not use guile for any reason because it will backfire!

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”She pleaded and wheedled, but I wouldn’t be swayed.” Wheedle is one of those words that sounds strange. It is, however, a word that writers have used to convey a certain image. Shysters and hucksters quickly come to mind. They are the sinister types that wheedle conjures up, but anyone can ‘wheedle’ another person if we have tried to get something and those efforts have failed. Using soft words and flattery are not out of the question to get what we want!


“My wife pleaded and wheedled, but I wouldn’t be swayed.” In this example sentence, we see ‘wheedle’ to mean “to persuade someone to do something or to give you something by saying nice things.” This is most likely the most used definition of wheedle. This is the transitive verb form meaning to influence or entice by soft words or flattery. Cajole and coax are two synonyms that are similar in use. Beware that soft words and flattery may signal the beginning of being wheedled!


“He’s trying to wheedle money out of them.” Many times the use of ‘wheedle’ will be associated with some scam or scheme to get something by dishonest gain. One symptom would be the use of seductive appeal or artful words in persuading a person to part with money. ‘To wheedle’ someone is not normally a criminal act, but may be part of a scheme to defraud an intended victim. Be wise and beware of anyone trying to wheedle you to part with money!


“Several hucksters were wheedling her life’s savings out of her.” We see in this illustration that this action “wheedle” will produce an end result. In this case, something of value “money” changes hands. A person of wisdom will be aware of the schemes that hucksters will use to gain something by using fraud. Be cautious of new acquaintances that use soft words and flattery. Their intent may be a selfish one!


“She wheedled, you’re such a good cook, you make dinner,” It is unfortunate that this happens in many relationships. This illustrates the concept of gain by the use of soft words or flattery. In an honest relationship this is not needed. Each party should have an understanding of what the other wants or needs. It is part of the give and take in good balanced personal relationships. To wheedle your partner is dishonest!

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