vim (n.) Look up vim at
1843, usually said to be from Latin vim, accusative of vis "strength, force, power, vigor, energy," from Proto-Italic *wis-, traditionally from PIE root *weie- "to go after, pursue with vigor or desire," with noun derivatives indicating "force, power" (see gain (v.)) and related to the root of virile. But de Vaan seems to have doubts ("more easily explained from an original root noun"), and based on the early uses OED suggests the possibility that the English word is of "a purely inventive or interjectional origin."
vinaigrette (n.) Look up vinaigrette at
1690s, a type of condiment, from French vinaigrette (14c.), diminutive of vinaigre "(aromatic) vinegar" (see vinegar). Use in reference to a type of dressing for salads or cold vegetables is attested from 1877. From 1811 as "small box or bottle for carrying aromatic vinegar."
Vincent Look up Vincent at
masc. proper name, from French, shortened from Latin Vincentius, from vincentem (nominative vincens) "conquering," from vincere "to overcome" (from nasalized form of PIE root *weik- (3) "to fight, conquer"). The name of a 3c. martyr, it was introduced in England c. 1200.
vincible (adj.) Look up vincible at
1540s, from Middle French vincible and directly from Latin vincibilis "that which can be gained; easily maintained," from vincere "to overcome, conquer" (from nasalized form of PIE root *weik- (3) "to fight, conquer"). A vincible ignorance in theology is an ignorance in one who possesses the means of overcoming it.
vinculum (n.) Look up vinculum at
plural vincula, "a bond, tie," 1670s, from Latin vinculum "that with which anything is bound," from stem of vincire "to bind" (see wind (v.1)).
vindicate (v.) Look up vindicate at
1620s, "to avenge or revenge," from Latin vindicatus, past participle of vindicare "to stake a claim; to liberate; to act as avenger" (see vindication). Meaning "to clear from censure or doubt, by means of demonstration" is recorded from 1630s. Related: Vindicated, vindicating.
vindication (n.) Look up vindication at
late 15c., "act of avenging, revenge," from Old French vindicacion "vengeance, revenge" and directly from Latin vindicationem (nominative vindicatio) "act of claiming or avenging," noun of action from past participle stem of vindicare "lay claim to, assert; claim for freedom, set free; protect, defend; avenge" (related to vindicta "revenge"), probably from vim dicare "to show authority," from vim, accusative of vis "force" (see vim) + dicare "to proclaim" (from PIE root *deik- "to show," also "pronounce solemnly"). Meaning "justification by proof, defense against censure" is attested from 1640s.
vindicative (adj.) Look up vindicative at
mid-15c., "vindictive, having vengeful intent," from Old French vindicatif (14c.) or directly from Medieval Latin vindicativus, from vindicat-, past participle stem of vindicare (see vindicate). From c. 1600 as "involving retribution or punishment," a sense "common in 17th cent." [OED].
vindicatory (adj.) Look up vindicatory at
1640s, "serving to justify, tending to vindicate;" 1650s, "avenging," from vindicate + -ory.
vindictive (adj.) Look up vindictive at
1610s, "vengeful," from Latin vindicta "revenge" (see vindication) + -ive; or perhaps a shortening of vindicative based on the Latin word. From 1620s as "punitive, retributive," rather than personally vengeful or deliberately cruel. Related: Vindictively.
vindictiveness (n.) Look up vindictiveness at
1670s, from vindictive + -ness.
vine (n.) Look up vine at
c. 1300, "plant which bears the grapes from which wine is made," from Old French vigne "vine, vinyard" (12c.), from Latin vinea "vine, vineyard," from vinum "wine," from PIE *win-o- "wine," an Italic noun related to words for "wine" in Greek, Armenian, Hittite, and non-Indo-European Georgian and West Semitic (Hebrew yayin, Ethiopian wayn); probably ultimately from a lost Mediterranean language word *w(o)in- "wine." From late 14c. in reference to any plant with a long slender stem that trails or winds around. The European grape vine was imported to California via Mexico by priests in 1564.
vinegar (n.) Look up vinegar at
early 14c., from Old French vinaigre "vinegar," from vin "wine" (from Latin vinum; see wine (n.)) + aigre "sour" (see eager). In Latin, it was vinum acetum "wine turned sour," acetum for short (see acetic), also used figuratively for "wit, shrewdness;" and compare Greek oxos "wine vinegar," which is related to oxys "sharp" (from PIE root *ak- "be sharp, rise (out) to a point, pierce"). Related: Vinegary; vinegarish.
vineyard (n.) Look up vineyard at
c. 1300, replacing Old English wingeard, from vine + yard (n.1). Compare German weingarten.
Vinland Look up Vinland at
name supposedly given by Leif Erikssson to lands he explored in northeastern North America c. 1000; it could mean either "vine-land" or "meadow-land," and either way was perhaps coined to encourage settlement (compare Greenland).

That others might have found the New World before Columbus was popular knowledge: Irving's "History of New York" (1809) lists Noah along with Phoenician, Carthaginian, Tyrean, Chinese, German, and Welsh candidates, along with "the Norwegians, in 1002, under Biorn." Evidence in the old sagas of a Norse discovery of North America had been noticed from time to time by those who could read them. In early 19c. the notion was seriously debated by von Humboldt and other European scholars before winning their general acceptance by the 1830s. The case for the identification of Vinland with North America began to be laid out in English-language publications in 1840. Lowell wrote a poem about it ("Hakon's Lay," 1855). Thoreau knew of it ("Ktaadn," 1864). Physical evidence of the Norse discovery was uncovered by the excavations at L'Anse aux Meadows in 1960.
vino (n.) Look up vino at
"inferior wine," 1919, colloquial, from the Italian and Spanish word for "wine," from Latin vinum (see vine (n.)).
vinous (adj.) Look up vinous at
1660s, from Latin vinosus "full of wine; fond of wine," from vinum "wine" (see wine (n.)).
vintage (n.) Look up vintage at
early 15c., "harvest of grapes, yield of wine from a vineyard," from Anglo-French vintage (mid-14c.), from Old French vendage, vendenge "vine-harvest, yield from a vineyard," from Latin vindemia "a gathering of grapes, yield of grapes," from comb. form of vinum "wine" (see wine (n.)) + stem of demere "take off" (from de- "from, away from" + emere "to take;" see exempt). Sense shifted to "age or year of a particular wine" (1746), then to a general adjectival sense of "being of an earlier time" (1883). Used of cars since 1928.
vintner (n.) Look up vintner at
"wine merchant," c. 1400 (late 12c. as a surname), alteration of Anglo-French vineter, Old French vinetier "wine-merchant; grape-harvester," from Medieval Latin vinetarius "a wine dealer," from Latin vinetum "vineyard," from vinum "wine" (see vine).
vinyl (n.) Look up vinyl at
in modern use, in reference to a plastic or synthetic resin, 1939, short for polyvinyl; not in widespread use until late 1950s. Slang meaning "phonograph record" (1976) replaced wax (n.) in that sense. In chemistry, vinyl was used from 1851 as the name of a univalent radical derived from ethylene, from Latin vinum "wine" (see wine (n.)), because ethyl alcohol is the ordinary alcohol present in wine.
viol (n.) Look up viol at
stringed musical instrument played with a bow, late 15c., viel, from Middle French viole, from Old French viol "stringed instrument like a fiddle," from Old Provençal viola (see viola).
viola (n.) Look up viola at
"tenor violin," 1797, from Italian viola, from Old Provençal viola, from Medieval Latin vitula "stringed instrument," perhaps from Vitula, Roman goddess of joy (see fiddle), or from related Latin verb vitulari "to exult, be joyful." Viola da gamba "bass viol" (1724) is from Italian, literally "a viola for the leg" (i.e. to hold between the legs).
Viola Look up Viola at
fem. proper name, from Latin viola "the violet" (see violet).
violate (v.) Look up violate at
early 15c., "to break" (an oath, etc.), from Latin violatus, past participle of violare "treat with violence, dishonor, outrage" (see violation). Sense of "ravish" is first recorded mid-15c. Related: Violated; violating.
violation (n.) Look up violation at
c. 1400, from Old French violacion and directly from Latin violationem (nominative violatio) "an injury, irreverence, profanation," from past participle stem of violare "to treat with violence, outrage, dishonor," perhaps an irregular derivative of vis "strength, force, power, energy," from PIE root *weie- "to go after, pursue with vigor or desire" (see gain (v.)).
violative (adj.) Look up violative at
"tending to or causing violation," 1765, from violate + -ive.
violence (n.) Look up violence at
late 13c., "physical force used to inflict injury or damage," from Anglo-French and Old French violence (13c.), from Latin violentia "vehemence, impetuosity," from violentus "vehement, forcible," probably related to violare (see violation). Weakened sense of "improper treatment" is attested from 1590s.
violent (adj.) Look up violent at
mid-14c., from Old French violent or directly from Latin violentus, related to violare (see violation). In Middle English the word also was applied in reference to heat, sunlight, smoke, etc., with the sense "having some quality so strongly as to produce a powerful effect." Related: Violently.
violet (n.) Look up violet at
small wild plant with purplish-blue flowers, c. 1300, from Old French violete (12c.), diminutive of viole "violet," from Latin viola "the violet, a violet color," cognate with Greek ion (see iodine), probably from a pre-Indo-European Mediterranean language. The color sense (late 14c.) developed from the flower.
violin (n.) Look up violin at
1570s, from Italian violino, diminutive of viola (see viola). The modern form of the smaller, medieval viola da braccio.
violinist (n.) Look up violinist at
1660s, from Italian violinista, from violino (see violin).
violon d'Ingres (n.) Look up violon d'Ingres at
"an occasional pastime, an activity other than that for which one is well-known, or at which one excells," 1963, from French, literally "Ingres' violin," from the story that the great painter preferred to play his violin (badly) for visitors instead of showing them his pictures.
Une légende, assez suspecte, prétend que le peintre Ingres état plus fier de son jeu sur le violon, jeu qui était fort ordinaire, que de sa peinture, qui l'avait rendu illustre. [Larousse du XXe Siecle, 1931]
violoncello (n.) Look up violoncello at
1724, from Italian violoncello, diminutive of violone "bass viol," from viola (see viola) + augmentative suffix -one (see -oon). Related: Violoncellist.
VIP (n.) Look up VIP at
also V.I.P., 1933, initialism (acronym) for very important person or personage; not common until after World War II.
At most, the greatest persons, are but great wens, and excrescences; men of wit and delightfull conversation, but as moales for ornament, except they be so incorporated into the body of the world, that they contribute something to the sustentation of the whole. [John Donne, letter to Sir Henry Goodere, Sept. 1608]
viper (n.) Look up viper at
early 15c., from Middle French vipere, earlier in English as vipera (c. 1200), directly from Latin vipera "viper, snake, serpent," contraction of *vivipera, from vivus "alive, living" (from PIE root *gwei- "to live") + parere "bring forth, bear" (from PIE root *pere- (1) "to produce, bring forth"). In common with many snake species in cooler climates, in most cases the viper's eggs are kept inside the mother until hatching.

Applied to persons of spiteful character since at least 1590s. The only venomous snake found in Great Britain, but not especially dangerous. The word replaced native adder. "The flesh of the viper was formerly regarded as possessing great nutritive or restorative properties, and was frequently used medicinally" [OED]; hence viper-wine, wine medicated with some kind of extract from vipers, used 17c. by "gray-bearded gallants" in a bid "to feele new lust, and youthfull flames agin." [Massinger]
viperine (adj.) Look up viperine at
1540s, from Latin viperinus "pertaining to a viper or vipers," from vipera (see viper).
virago (n.) Look up virago at
late 14c., "man-like or heroic woman, woman of extraordinary stature, strength and courage," from Latin virago "female warrior, heroine, amazon," from vir "man" (from PIE root *wi-ro- "man"). Ælfric (c. 1000), following Vulgate, used it in Genesis ii.23 as the name Adam gave to Eve (KJV = woman):
Beo hire nama Uirago, þæt is, fæmne, forðan ðe heo is of hire were genumen.
Related: Viraginous.
viral (adj.) Look up viral at
"of the nature of, or caused by, a virus," 1944, see virus + -al (1). Sense of "become suddenly widely popular through internet sharing" is attested by 1999, originally in reference to marketing and based on the similarity of the effect to the spread of a computer virus. Related: Virally.
vireo (n.) Look up vireo at
small American bird, 1834, a modern use of Latin vireo, a word Pliny applied to some kind of bird, believed to be the European greenfinch, from virere "be green" (see verdure).
Virgilian (adj.) Look up Virgilian at
1510s, from Latin Virgilianus "of or characteristic of the Roman poet Virgil" (Publius Vergilius Maro, 70-19 B.C.E.). Also in Virgilian lots (Latin sortes Virgilianae), opening Virgil at random as an oracle.
virgin (n.) Look up virgin at
c. 1200, "unmarried or chaste woman noted for religious piety and having a position of reverence in the Church," from Anglo-French and Old French virgine "virgin; Virgin Mary," from Latin virginem (nominative virgo) "maiden, unwedded girl or woman," also an adjective, "fresh, unused," probably related to virga "young shoot," via a notion of "young" (compare Greek talis "a marriageable girl," cognate with Latin talea "rod, stick, bar").

Meaning "young woman in a state of inviolate chastity" is recorded from c. 1300. Also applied since early 14c. to a chaste man. Meaning "naive or inexperienced person" is attested from 1953. The adjective is recorded from 1550s in the literal sense; figurative sense of "pure, untainted" is attested from c. 1300. The Virgin Islands were named (in Spanish) by Columbus for St. Ursula and her 11,000 martyred virgin companions.
virginal (adj.) Look up virginal at
early 15c., from Old French virginal "virginal, pure, chaste," or directly from Latin virginalis "of a maiden, of a virgin," from virgin (see virgin). The keyed musical instrument so called from 1520s (see virginals).
virginals (n.) Look up virginals at
"small harpsichord," 1520s, evidently from virgin, but the connection is unclear, unless it means "an instrument played by girls."
Virginia Look up Virginia at
British colony in North America, name appears on a map in 1587, named for Elizabeth I, the Virgin Queen. The fem. proper name is from Latin Virginia, fem. of Virginius, earlier Verginius, probably related to Vergilius (see Virgilian). Related: Virginian.
virginity (n.) Look up virginity at
c. 1300, from Anglo-French and Old French virginite "(state of) virginity; innocence" (10c. in Old French), from Latin virginitatem (nominative virginitas) "maidenhood, virginity," from virgo (see virgin).
Distraught pretty girl: "I've lost my virginity!"
Benny Hill: "Do you still have the box it came in?"
Virgo Look up Virgo at
zodiacal constellation, c. 1000, from Latin constellation name Virgo "the virgin" (see virgin). Meaning "person born under the sign of Virgo" is attested from 1917.
virgule (n.) Look up virgule at
thin sloping line similar to a modern backslash, used as a comma in medieval MSS and still in modern text to indicate line breaks in poetry, 1837, from French virgule (16c.), from Latin virgula "punctuation mark," literally "little twig," diminutive of virga "shoot, rod, stick." The word had been borrowed in its Latin form in 1728.
viridian (adj.) Look up viridian at
1882, from the paint color name (1862), from Latin virid-, stem of viridis "green, blooming, vigorous" (see verdure) + -ian.
virile (adj.) Look up virile at
late 15c., "characteristic of a man; marked by manly force," from Middle French viril (14c.) and directly from Latin virilis "of a man, manly, worthy of a man," from vir "a man, a hero," from PIE root *wi-ro- "man." Virile member for "penis" is recorded from 1540s.
virility (n.) Look up virility at
"period of manhood," 1580s, from Middle French virilité, from Latin virilitatem (nominative virilitas) "manhood," from virilis "of a man, manly, worthy of a man," from vir "a man, a hero," from PIE root *wi-ro- "man." Meaning "power of procreation, capacity for sexua intercourse" is from 1590s; sense of "manly strength" is recorded from c. 1600.