The Portrait of A Lady: Word Meanings in Hindi & English Paragraph Wise Class 11 English

‘A Portrait of A Lady’ is a lesson in class 11 textbook ‘Hornbill’. A paragraph wise word meanings given here would help in learning well in understanding the lesson ‘A Portrait of A lady’. Hindi meanings are also given along with English meanings.

The Portrait of A Lady Word Meanings

WordsMeaningsHindi Meanings
Wrinkledlines and folds in skin due to old ageझुर्रियों वाला
Prettyattractive and appealingआकर्षक ओर मन को भाने  वाला
Best partmost of the part, more than halfआधे से ज्यादा हिस्सा
Sort oftype or typical ofतरह का
As ifas thoughजैसे कि
Revoltingextremely unpleasant, disgusting, repulsiveघिनौना ओर घृणा उत्पन्न करने वाला
Absurdsilly and ridiculous, not sensibleबेतुका, बेढंगा ओर निरर्थक
Undignifiedcausing dishonour and disrespectअशोभनीय
Terriblyvery muchबहुत ज्यादा, खूब
Hobbledifficulty in walkingलंगड़ा  के या अटक के चलना  
Spotlesspure and clean, without any marksबेदाग
Stoopshoulder bending forwardकंधों का आगे की ओर झुकना, निहुरना  
Rosary a string of beads used in counting prayersजपमाला, सुमिरणी
Tell beadsto pray with rosary माला जपना
Locksthe hair of headबालों की लट
Puckeredwith irregular lines and foldsसिकुड़ा ओर शिकन वाला चेहरा
Serenityfree from stress and emotions, calm and peacefulशांत चित्त की अवस्था
Constantlyall the timeहमेशा, बराबर
Monotonousnever changing, dull and boringएक जैसा ही
Bothered worriedपरेशान ओर चिंतित
Chorusgroup singingसमूह गान
Send forask to comeबुलवाना
Distressfelt troubled, worried with mental painमन में अशान्ति के भाव, पीड़ा ओर  क्लेश  
Lewdobscene and offensiveअश्लील
Gentlefolkpeople from respected or high-class familiesकुलीन जन
Disapprovalexpressing dislikeनापसंदगी, नकारना
Seclusionavoiding contact with public.एकांत
Resignationwilling to accept difficult and unpleasant situations that you cannot changeकिस्मत के भरोसे
Rarely not often, not a usual happeningकभी-कभार ही
Veritablecomparatively genuine and authentic, very much so realसत्य ओर दृढ़
Bedlama very noisy and confusing sceneहंगामा ओर शोरगुल
Shooto make flee or run awayभगाना
Cherishlove the pleasant feeling ofमन में संजोना, अच्छा लगना
Imprintmarkछाप, मोहर
Clasphold tightly in handकस कर पकड़ना
Frivoloussilly and not seriousतुच्छ ओर नजरंदाज करने लायक
Rebukereprimand, speak angrily and severelyडांट , झिड़क
Sagging loosening due to sinking or bulgingझोल ओर स्थिलता
Dilapidatedold and in bad conditionटूटा फूटा, बर्बाद अवस्था में
Omit tofail to do something, excludingभूल कर छोड़ देना या  न कर पाना
Pallorpale colour due to illnessचेहरे का पीलापन
Customaryconventional and ritual practicesपारंपरिक ओर रूढ़िगत प्रथाएँ ओर रिवाज
Shroudcloth to wrap a dead bodyकफन
Blazea bright flame ofलपट या रौशनी की चमक

A Portrait of A Lady: Paragraph Wise Word Meanings

MY grandmother, like everybody’s grandmother, was an old woman. She had been old and wrinkled for the twenty years that I had known her. People said that she had once been young and pretty and had even had a husband, but that was hard to believe. My grandfather’s portrait hung above the mantelpiece in the drawing room. He wore big turban and loose-fitting clothes. His long, white beard covered the best part of his chest and he looked at least a hundred years old. He did not look the sort of person who would have a wife or children. He looked as if he could only have lots and lots of grandchildren. As for my grandmother being young and pretty, the thought was almost revolting. She often told us of the games she used to play as a child. That seemed quite absurd and undignified on her part and we treated it like the fables of the Prophets she used to tell us.

English Word/PhraseMeaning in EnglishMeaning in Hindi
Old womanAn elderly womanबुढ़िया
WrinkledHaving small lines or folds on the skin, often due to ageझुर्रियाँ वाला
PortraitA painting or photograph of a person, especially the faceचित्र
MantelpieceA shelf above a fireplace where decorative objects are placedमंटलपीस
TurbanA long piece of cloth wrapped around the head as a head coveringसरपट
Loose-fitting clothesClothes that are not tight or form-fittingढीले कपड़े
AbsurdExtremely silly or foolishबेतुका
UndignifiedNot showing proper respect or seriousnessअयोग्य
FablesStories with a moral lesson, often involving animalsपौराणिक कथाएँ
ProphetsPeople who are believed to have been sent by God to teach people about the religionनबी

She had always been short and fat and slightly bent. Her face was a criss-cross of wrinkles running from everywhere to everywhere. No, we were certain she had always been as we had known her. Old, so terribly old that she could not have grown older, and had stayed at the same age for twenty years. She could never have been pretty; but she was always beautiful. She hobbled about the house in spotless white with one hand resting on her waist to balance her stoop and the other telling the beads of her rosary. Her silver locks were scattered untidily over her pale, puckered face, and her lips constantly moved in inaudible prayer. Yes, she was beautiful. She was like the winter landscape in the mountains, an expanse of pure white serenity breathing peace and contentment.

English Word/PhraseMeaning in EnglishMeaning in Hindi
Slightly bentNot standing or sitting straight; slightly curvedथोड़ा मुड़ा हुआ
Criss-crossA pattern of intersecting lines or marksक्रिस-क्रॉस
WrinklesSmall lines or folds on the skin, often due to ageझुर्रियाँ
HobbledWalked with difficulty or a limpलंगड़ाते हुए चलना
SpotlessCompletely clean and free from dirt or stainsनिर्लेप
RosaryA string of beads used in praying the rosary, a form of devotion to Mary, the mother of Jesusमाला
Silver locksGray or white hairचांदी जैसे बाल
PaleHaving a light color or lacking in color; not bright or intenseफीका
PuckeredGathered or folded together closelyझुर्रियों से भरा हुआ
InaudibleUnable to be heardअसुनी
SerenityThe state of being calm, peaceful, and untroubledशांति
ContentmentA state of happiness and satisfactionसंतोष

My grandmother and I were good friends. My parents left me with her when they went to live in the city and we were constantly together. She used to wake me up in the morning and get me ready for school. She said her morning prayer in a monotonous sing-song while she bathed and dressed me in the hope that I would listen and get to know it by heart; I listened because I loved her voice but never bothered to learn it. Then she would fetch my wooden slate which she had already washed and plastered with yellow chalk, a tiny earthen ink-pot and a red pen, tie them all in a bundle and hand it to me. After a breakfast of a thick, stale chapatti with a little butter and sugar spread on it, we went to school. She carried several stale chapattis with her for the village dogs.

English Word/PhraseMeaning in EnglishMeaning in Hindi
MonotonousDull, tedious, and repetitious; lacking in variety and interestएकमुखी
Sing-songA way of speaking or singing with a rising and falling rhythm that is pleasant to listen toगीत गाने की तरह
BathedWashed one’s body in a bathtub or showerनहाना
PlasteredCover or coat (a surface) with plaster or a similar materialप्लास्टर से ढकना
SlateA flat piece of stone, typically rectangular or square, used for roofing or flooringफर्श का पत्थर
EarthenMade of clay or other earthenware materialमिट्टी का
Ink-potA small container for holding inkमसाले का बरतन
StaleNo longer fresh and pleasant to eat or smell; having lost its original flavor or qualityबासी
ChapattiA thin, unleavened flatbread made from wheat flour, common in Indian cuisineचपाती
ButterA pale yellow edible fatty substance made by churning cream and used as a spread or in cookingमक्खन
SugarA sweet crystalline substance obtained from various plants, especially sugar cane and sugar beet, used as a sweetenerचीनी
VillageA group of houses and associated buildings, larger than a hamlet and smaller than a town, situated in a rural areaगाँव

My grandmother always went to school with me because the school was attached to the temple. The priest taught us the alphabet and the morning prayer. While the children sat in rows on either side of the verandah singing the alphabet or the prayer in a chorus, my grandmother sat inside reading the scriptures. When we had both finished, we would walk back together. This time the village dogs would meet us at the temple door. They followed us to our home growling and fighting with each other for the chapattis we threw to them.

English Word/PhraseMeaning in EnglishMeaning in Hindi
AttachedJoined or fastened to somethingजुड़ा हुआ
TempleA building devoted to the worship, or regarded as the dwelling place, of a god or gods or other objects of religious reverenceमंदिर
PriestA person who performs religious ceremonies and offers prayers to a deity or deitiesपुजारी
VerandahA roofed platform along the outside of a house, level with the ground floorबरामदा
ChorusA large group of singers, especially one that performs together with an orchestra or opera companyजनसमूह
ScripturesSacred writings or books; religious textsधर्म ग्रंथ
VillageA group of houses and associated buildings, larger than a hamlet and smaller than a town, situated in a rural areaगाँव

When my parents were comfortably settled in the city, they sent for us. That was a turning-point in our friendship. Although we shared the same room, my grandmother no longer came to school with me. I used to go to an English school in a motor bus. There were no dogs in the streets and she took to feeding sparrows in the courtyard of our city house.

English Word/PhraseMeaning in EnglishMeaning in Hindi
Comfortably settledTo have established oneself comfortably in a placeसुखद रूप से स्थापित होना
Turning-pointA time at which a decisive change in a situation occurs, especially one with beneficial resultsबदलाव का समय
FriendshipA state of mutual trust and support between two peopleमित्रता
CourtyardA space open to the sky and surrounded by walls or buildingsआंगन
City houseA house located in a cityशहरी घर

As the years rolled by we saw less of each other. For some time she continued to wake me up and get me ready for school. When I came back she would ask me what the teacher had taught me. I would tell her English words and little things of western science and learning, the law of gravity, Archimedes’ Principle, the world being round, etc. This made her unhappy. She could not help me with my lessons. She did not believe in the things they taught at the English school and was distressed that there was no teaching about God and the scriptures. One day I announced that we were being given music lessons. She was very disturbed. To her music had lewd associations. It was the monopoly of harlots and beggars and not meant for gentlefolk. She said nothing but her silence meant disapproval. She rarely talked to me after that.

English Word/PhraseMeaning in EnglishMeaning in Hindi
Rolled byPassed graduallyधीरे-धीरे बीता
Western scienceThe scientific knowledge and discoveries made in the Western worldपश्चिमी विज्ञान
Law of gravityA law stating that any two masses in the universe attract each other with a force proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between themगुरुत्वाकर्षण का कानून
Archimedes’ PrincipleA law of physics stating that the upward buoyant force that is exerted on a body immersed in a fluid is equal to the weight of the fluid that the body displacesआर्किमीडीज का सिद्धांत
ScripturesReligious texts or booksधर्मग्रंथ
DisapprovalThe feeling of not approving of or being against something or someoneअसंतोष

When I went up to University, I was given a room of my own. The common link of friendship was snapped. My grandmother accepted her seclusion with resignation. She rarely left her spinning-wheel to talk to anyone. From sunrise to sunset she sat by her wheel spinning and reciting prayers. Only in the afternoon she relaxed for a while to feed the sparrows. While she sat in the verandah breaking the bread into little bits, hundreds of little birds collected round her creating a veritable bedlam of chirrupings. Some came and perched on her legs, others on her shoulders. Some even sat on her head. She smiled but never shooed them away. It used to be the happiest half hour of the day for her.

English Word/PhraseMeaningHindi Translation
UniversityAn institution of higher education and researchविश्वविद्यालय
SeclusionThe state of being private and away from other peopleएकांतता
Spinning-wheelA device used to spin fibers into threads or yarnचरखी
RecitingSaying something out loud, often from memoryरटना
VerandahA roofed platform along the outside of a houseछज्जा
BedlamA scene of uproar and confusionहल्ला बोल
ChirrupingsThe high-pitched sound made by small birdsचहचहाना
PerchedResting on a branch or other objectचढ़ा हुआ
ShooedTo make someone or something go away, usually by waving your hands or making a loud noiseचले जाने को कहना

When I decided to go abroad for further studies, I was sure my grandmother would be upset. I would be away for five years, and at her age one could never tell. But my grandmother could. She was not even sentimental. She came to leave me at the railway station but did not talk or show any emotion. Her lips moved in prayer, her mind was lost in prayer. Her fingers were busy telling the beads of her rosary. Silently she kissed my forehead, and when I left I cherished the moist imprint as perhaps the last sign of physical contact between us.

English Word/PhraseMeaningHindi Translation
AbroadIn or to a foreign country or countriesविदेश
SentimentalShowing or characterized by tender emotions, especially of fondness, romanticism, or nostalgiaभावनात्मक
Railway stationA place where trains regularly stop so that passengers can get on or offरेलवे स्टेशन
EmotionA strong feeling such as love or anger, or strong feelings in generalभावना
PrayerA solemn request for help or expression of thanks addressed to God or an object of worshipप्रार्थना
RosaryA string of beads used for counting prayers in the Roman Catholic Churchमाला
CherishedHeld dear; valued highlyअमूल्य
ImprintA mark or depression made by pressureछाप

But that was not so. After five years I came back home and was met by her at the station. She did not look a day older. She still had no time for words, and while she clasped me in her arms I could hear her reciting her prayers. Even on the first day of my arrival, her happiest moments were with her sparrows whom she fed longer and with frivolous rebukes.

English Word/PhraseMeaningHindi Translation
ClaspedTo hold tightly with arms, hands, or legsगले लगाना
RecitingSaying something out loud, often from memoryरटना
FrivolousNot having any serious purpose or valueफुटील
RebukesExpress sharp disapproval or criticism of (someone) because of their behavior or actionsडांट
ArrivalThe act of reaching a destination or the time when someone or something arrivesआगमन

In the evening a change came over her. She did not pray. She collected the women of the neighbourhood, got an old drum and started to sing. For several hours she thumped the sagging skins of the dilapidated drum and sang of the home-coming of warriors. We had to persuade her to stop to avoid overstraining. That was the first time since I had known her that she did not pray.

English Word/PhraseMeaningHindi Translation
NeighbourhoodA district or community within a town or cityपड़ोस
DilapidatedIn a state of disrepair or ruin as a result of age or neglectटूटा-फूटा
ThumpedHit (something) heavily and repeatedlyठाप
SaggingHanging down or bending because of weight or pressureझुका हुआ
WarriorsA brave or experienced soldier or fighterयोद्धा
PersuadeCause (someone) to do something through reasoning or argumentराज़ी करना
OverstrainingTo push someone or something too far beyond their limits, causing strain or damageज्यादा तनाव

The next morning she was taken ill. It was a mild fever and the doctor told us that it would go. But my grandmother thought differently. She told us that her end was near. She said that, since only a few hours before the close of the last chapter of her life she had omitted to pray, she was not going to waste any more time talking to us.

English Word/PhraseMeaningHindi Translation
Taken illTo become sick or unwellबीमार हो जाना
Mild feverA slight increase in body temperature often due to an infectionसामान्य बुखार
EndThe final part of somethingअंत
NearClose in distance or timeनिकट
OmittedLeft out or excludedछोड़ देना
WasteUse or expend carelessly, extravagantly, or to no purposeबेकार करना

We protested. But she ignored our protests. She lay peacefully in bed praying and telling her beads. Even before we could suspect, her lips stopped moving and the rosary fell from her lifeless fingers. A peaceful pallor spread on her face and we knew that she was dead. We lifted her off the bed and, as is customary, laid her on the ground and covered her with a red shroud. After a few hours of mourning we left her alone to make arrangements for her funeral. In the evening we went to her room with a crude stretcher to take her to be cremated. The sun was setting and had lit her room and verandah with a blaze of golden light. We stopped half-way in the courtyard. All over the verandah and in her room right up to where she lay dead and stiff wrapped in the red shroud, thousands of sparrows sat scattered on the floor. There was no chirruping. We felt sorry for the birds and my mother fetched some bread for them. She broke it into little crumbs, the way my grandmother used to, and threw it to them. The sparrows took no notice of the bread. When we carried my grandmother’s corpse off, they flew away quietly. Next morning the sweeper swept the bread crumbs into the dustbin.

English Word/PhraseMeaningHindi Translation
ProtestedTo express disagreement or disapprovalविरोध करना
PeacefullyIn a calm and serene mannerशांतिपूर्ण
PrayingCommunicating with a God or deity, often through spoken or silent wordsप्रार्थना करना
BeadsSmall, often spherical objects, usually strung together for counting or decorative purposesमोती
LifelessWithout life or consciousnessनिर्जीव
PallorAn unhealthy pale appearanceफीकापन
FuneralA ceremony to honor and remember a deceased personअंतिम संस्कार
Crude stretcherA simple and rudimentary device used for carrying an injured or deceased personअसंगत बिछौना
CrematedTo burn a dead body into ashes, often as part of a funeral riteशव दहन करना
CourtyardAn open space surrounded by walls or buildings, often located within a house or other structureआंगन
ChirrupingThe sound made by birds, often in a repetitive and melodious mannerचहचहाना
DustbinA container used for collecting and disposing of waste materialsरद्दी बक्सा

“The Portrait of A lady”-Explanation of the Highlighted Words

“The thought was almost revolting” means that the idea or concept being referred to is causing strong feelings of disgust or repulsion in the speaker. In this context, the speaker is suggesting that it is difficult for them to imagine their grandmother as having been young and pretty because she has always appeared old and wrinkled to them. The speaker finds it almost disgusting to think of their grandmother in a different way than the way they have always known her.

“an expanse of pure white serenity” is used to describe the beauty and peacefulness of the old woman who is being described. The phrase is a metaphor comparing the woman’s appearance to that of a serene winter landscape in the mountains, which is wide and open and covered in pure white snow. The description suggests that the old woman’s appearance is not conventionally attractive, but she possesses a beauty that is peaceful, serene, and calming, just like the winter landscape.

turning-point” is a critical moment or event that marks a significant change or shift in the direction or course of something. It can be a moment of realization or decision-making that alters the path or trajectory of a person, group, or situation. Turning-points can be positive or negative, and they often have long-term effects that influence future events and outcomes. In the context of the given sentence, the turning-point refers to the moment when the narrator’s parents sent for them, which caused a significant change in their friendship with their grandmother.

“accepted her seclusion with resignation” means that the grandmother had to spend a lot of time alone or away from other people, but she had come to terms with this situation and had learned to live with it without complaining. She had accepted her isolation as a part of her life, and although it may have been difficult for her, she had decided to make the best of the situation and not let it get her down. In other words, she had learned to be content with her seclusion and had accepted it as an unavoidable reality.

“a veritable bedlam of chirrupings” means that there were a lot of birds chirping loudly and excitedly, creating a chaotic and noisy environment. The word “veritable” means “genuine” or “real”, while “bedlam” refers to a state of uproar, confusion or chaos. The word “chirrupings” is used to describe the sounds that birds make when they chirp. So, the phrase is used to paint a picture of a very noisy and lively scene, where the birds were chirping so loudly and in such large numbers that it created a sense of chaos or bedlam.

“frivolous rebukes” refer to light-hearted or playful scolding that are not meant to be taken seriously. In the context of the given passage, it means that the grandmother was scolding her sparrows playfully and not in a harsh manner. It could be seen as a way for her to express her joy at her grandson’s return and to distract herself from the emotions she might be feeling.

“the sagging skins of the dilapidated drum”: “sagging skins” refers to the drum’s drumheads or membranes, which are usually made of animal skin or synthetic materials. These drumheads are stretched over the top and bottom of the drum’s body, creating a resonant chamber that amplifies the sound produced by striking the drum with sticks or hands.

The adjective “sagging” implies that the drumheads are old and worn out, causing them to hang down or droop because they are no longer taut. Similarly, “dilapidated” suggests that the drum is in a state of disrepair, indicating that it is old, damaged, or broken. Thus, the phrase “sagging skins of the dilapidated drum” paints a picture of an old, worn-out drum with loosely stretched drumheads that have lost their original tension and sound quality.

Leave a Reply