virility (n.) Look up virility at
"period of manhood," 1580s, from Middle French virilité, from Latin virilitatem (nominative virilitas) "manhood," from virilis (see virile). Meaning "power of procreation, capacity for sexua intercourse" is from 1590s; sense of "manly strength" is recorded from c. 1600.
virion (n.) Look up virion at
coined in French, 1959, from virus (see virus) + -on.
virologist (n.) Look up virologist at
1946; see virology + -ist.
virology (n.) Look up virology at
1935, from comb. form of virus + -ology. Related: Virological.
virtu (n.) Look up virtu at
"excellence in an object of art, passion for works of art," 1722, from Italian virtu "excellence," from Latin virtutem (nominative virtus) "virtue, goodness, manliness" (see virtue). The same word as virtue, borrowed during a period when everything Italian was in vogue. Sometimes spelled vertu, as though from French, but this sense of the word is not in French.
virtual (adj.) Look up virtual at
late 14c., "influencing by physical virtues or capabilities, effective with respect to inherent natural qualities," from Medieval Latin virtualis, from Latin virtus "excellence, potency, efficacy," literally "manliness, manhood" (see virtue). The meaning "being something in essence or effect, though not actually or in fact" is from mid-15c., probably via sense of "capable of producing a certain effect" (early 15c.). Computer sense of "not physically existing but made to appear by software" is attested from 1959.
virtually (adv.) Look up virtually at
early 15c., "as far as essential qualities or facts are concerned;" from virtual + -ly (2). Sense of "in effect, as good as" is recorded from c. 1600.
virtue (n.) Look up virtue at
c. 1200, vertu, "moral life and conduct; a particular moral excellence," from Anglo-French and Old French vertu "force, strength, vigor; moral strength; qualities, abilities" (10c. in Old French), from Latin virtutem (nominative virtus) "moral strength, high character, goodness; manliness; valor, bravery, courage (in war); excellence, worth," from vir "man" (see virile).
For my part I honour with the name of virtue the habit of acting in a way troublesome to oneself and useful to others. [Stendhal "de l'Amour," 1822]
Especially (in women) "chastity, sexual purity" from 1590s. Phrase by virtue of (early 13c.) preserves alternative Middle English sense of "efficacy." Wyclif Bible has virtue where KJV uses power. The seven cardinal virtues (early 14c.) were divided into the natural (justice, prudence, temperance, fortitude) and the theological (hope, faith, charity). To make a virtue of a necessity (late 14c.) translates Latin facere de necessitate virtutem [Jerome].
virtuosity (n.) Look up virtuosity at
late 15c., "manly qualities," from Medieval Latin virtuositas, from Late Latin virtuosus (see virtuous). As "skill or abilities of a virtuoso," 1670s, from virtuoso + -ity.
virtuoso (n.) Look up virtuoso at
1610s, "scholar, connoisseur," from Italian virtuoso (plural virtuosi), noun use of adjective meaning "skilled, learned, of exceptional worth," from Late Latin virtuosus (see virtuous). Meaning "person with great skill, one who is a master of the mechanical part of a fine art" (as in music) is first attested 1743.
virtuous (adj.) Look up virtuous at
c. 1300, "characterized by vigor or strength; having qualities befitting a knight; valiant, hardy, courageous;" from Old French vertuos "righteous; potent; of good quality; mighty, valiant, brave" (12c.), from Late Latin virtuosus "good, virtuous," from Latin virtus (see virtue). From mid-14c. in English as "having beneficial or efficacious properties;" late 14c. (of persons) as "having excellent moral qualities; conforming to religious law." Related: Virtuously; virtuousness.
virulence (n.) Look up virulence at
1660s, from Late Latin virulentia, from Latin virulentus "full of poison" (see virulent). Related: Virulency (1610s).
virulent (adj.) Look up virulent at
c. 1400, in reference to wounds, ulcers, etc., "full of corrupt or poisonous matter," from Latin virulentus "poisonous," from virus "poison" (see virus). Figurative sense of "violent, spiteful" is attested from c. 1600. Related: Virulently.
virus (n.) Look up virus at
late 14c., "venomous substance," from Latin virus "poison, sap of plants, slimy liquid, a potent juice," probably from PIE root *weis- "to melt away, to flow," used of foul or malodorous fluids, with specialization in some languages to "poisonous fluid" (cognates: Sanskrit visam "poison," visah "poisonous;" Avestan vish- "poison;" Latin viscum "sticky substance, birdlime;" Greek ios "poison," ixos "mistletoe, birdlime;" Old Church Slavonic višnja "cherry;" Old Irish fi "poison;" Welsh gwy "fluid, water," gwyar "blood"). Main modern meaning "agent that causes infectious disease" first recorded 1728 (in reference to venereal disease). The computer sense is from 1972.
vis-a-vis (prep.) Look up vis-a-vis at
1755, from French prepositional use of the adj. vis-à-vis "face to face," from Old French vis "face" (see visage).
visa (n.) Look up visa at
1831, "official signature or endorsement on a passport," from French visa, from Modern Latin charta visa "verified paper," literally "paper that has been seen," from fem. past participle of Latin videre "to see" (see vision). Earlier visé (1810), from French past participle of viser "to examine, view." The credit card of this name was introduced 1976, replacing BankAmericard.
visage (n.) Look up visage at
c. 1300, from Anglo-French and Old French visage "face, coutenance; portrait," from vis "face, appearance," from Latin visus "a look, vision," from past participle stem of videre "to see" (see vision). Visagiste "make-up artist" is recorded from 1958, from French.
viscera (n.) Look up viscera at
"inner organs of the body," 1650s, from Latin viscera, plural of viscus "internal organ," of unknown origin.
visceral (adj.) Look up visceral at
1570s, "affecting inward feelings," from Middle French viscéral and directly from Medieval Latin visceralis "internal," from Latin viscera, plural of viscus "internal organ, inner parts of the body," of unknown origin. The bowels were regarded as the seat of emotion. The figurative sense vanished after 1640 and the literal sense is first recorded in 1794. The figurative sense was revived 1940s in arts criticism.
viscid (adj.) Look up viscid at
"sticky," 1630s, from French viscide or directly from Late Latin viscidus "sticky, clammy," from Latin viscum "mistletoe, birdlime" (see viscous). Related: Viscidity (1610s); viscidly.
viscosity (n.) Look up viscosity at
early 15c., from Old French viscosite (13c.) or directly from Medieval Latin viscositatem (nominative viscositas), from Late Latin viscosus (see viscous).
viscount (n.) Look up viscount at
late 14c., "deputy of a count or earl," from Anglo-French and Old French visconte (Modern French vicomte), from Medieval Latin vicecomes (genitive vicecomitis), from Late Latin vice- "deputy" (see vice-) + Latin comes "member of an imperial court, nobleman" (see count (n.)). As a rank in British peerage, first recorded 1440. Related: Viscountess.
viscous (adj.) Look up viscous at
late 14c., from Anglo-French viscous and directly from Late Latin viscosus "sticky," from Latin viscum "anything sticky, birdlime made from mistletoe, mistletoe," probably from PIE root *weis- "to melt away, flow" (used of foul or malodorous fluids); see virus.
vise (n.) Look up vise at
early 14c., "a winch, crane," from Anglo-French vice, Old French vis, viz "screw," from Latin vitis "vine, tendril of a vine," literally "that which winds," from root of viere "to bind, twist" (see withy). Also in Middle English, "device like a screw or winch for bending a crossbow or catapult; spiral staircase; the screw of a press; twisted tie for fastening a hood under the chin." The modern meaning "clamping tool with two jaws closed by a screw" is first recorded c. 1500.
Vishnu Look up Vishnu at
name of a principal Hindu deity, 1630s, from Sanskrit Vishnu, probably from root vish- and meaning "all-pervader" or "worker."
visibility (n.) Look up visibility at
c. 1400, "condition of being visible," from Late Latin visibilitatem (nominative visibilitas) "condition of being seen; conspicuousness," from visibilis (see visible). Meaning "range of vision under given conditions" is from 1914. Sense of "prominence, fame, public attention" is recorded from 1958.
visible (adj.) Look up visible at
mid-14c., from Old French visable, visible "perceptible" (12c.) and directly from Latin visibilis "that may be seen," from visus, past participle of videre "to see" (see vision). An Old English word for this was eagsyne. Related: Visibly.
Visigoth Look up Visigoth at
1640s, from Late Latin Visigothus (plural Visigothi), perhaps "West Goths" (which could be Latinized from a Germanic source such as Old High German westan "from the west"), as opposed to Ostrogothi; but according to some authorities, Visi/Vesi appears to be a Latinized form of a tribal name. Their kingdom endured to 507 in southern France, till 711 in Spain. In common with Vandal their name later was used for "uncivilized person" (1749). Related: Visigothic.
vision (n.) Look up vision at
c. 1300, "something seen in the imagination or in the supernatural," from Anglo-French visioun, Old French vision "presence, sight; view, look, appearance; dream, supernatural sight" (12c.), from Latin visionem (nominative visio) "act of seeing, sight, thing seen," noun of action from past participle stem of videre "to see."

This is from the productive PIE root *weid- "to know, to see" (cognates: Sanskrit veda "I know;" Avestan vaeda "I know;" Greek oida, Doric woida "I know," idein "to see;" Old Irish fis "vision," find "white," i.e. "clearly seen," fiuss "knowledge;" Welsh gwyn, Gaulish vindos, Breton gwenn "white;" Gothic, Old Swedish, Old English witan "to know;" Gothic weitan "to see;" English wise, German wissen "to know;" Lithuanian vysti "to see;" Bulgarian vidya "I see;" Polish widzieć "to see," wiedzieć "to know;" Russian videt' "to see," vest' "news," Old Russian vedat' "to know").

The meaning "sense of sight" is first recorded late 15c. Meaning "statesman-like foresight, political sagacity" is attested from 1926.
visionary (adj.) Look up visionary at
"able to see visions," 1650s (earlier "perceived in a vision," 1640s), from vision + -ary. Meaning "impractical" is attested from 1727. The noun is attested from 1702, from the adjective; originally "one who indulges in impractical fantasies."
visit (v.) Look up visit at
c. 1200, "come to (a person) to comfort or benefit," from Old French visiter "to visit; inspect, examine; afflict" (12c.) and directly from Latin visitare "to go to see, come to inspect," frequentative of visere "behold, visit" (a person or place), from past participle stem of videre "to see, notice, observe" (see vision). Originally of the deity, later of pastors and doctors (c. 1300), general sense of "pay a call" is from mid-13c. Meaning "come upon, afflict" (in reference to sickness, punishment, etc.) is recorded in English from mid-14c. Related: Visited; visiting.
visit (n.) Look up visit at
1620s, "friendly or formal call upon someone," from visit (v.) and from French visite (n.). From 1800 as "short or temporary trip to some place." With pay (v.) since 1650s.
visitation (n.) Look up visitation at
c. 1300, "a visit by an ecclesiastical representative to examine the condition of a parish, abbey, etc.," from Anglo-French visitacioun, Old French visitacion and directly from Latin visitationem (nominative visitatio), noun of action from past participle stem of visitare (see visit (v.)). The supernatural sense of "a sight, apparition, a coming of God to a mortal" is attested from mid-14c.
visitor (n.) Look up visitor at
late 14c., from Anglo-French visitour, Old French visiteor "visitor, inspector," from visiter (see visit (v.)). Sports sense is from 1900.
visor (n.) Look up visor at
c. 1300, viser, "front part of a helmet," from Anglo-French viser, Old French visiere "visor" (13c.), from vis "face" (see visage). Spelling shifted 15c. Meaning "eyeshade" is recorded from 1925.
vista (n.) Look up vista at
1650s, "a view or prospect," from Italian vista "sight, view," noun use of fem. past participle of vedere "see," from Latin videre "to see" (see vision).
Vistavision (n.) Look up Vistavision at
form of wide-screen cinematography, 1954; see vista + vision.
visual (adj.) Look up visual at
early 15c., "pertaining to the faculty of sight;" also "coming from the eye or sight" (as a beam of light was thought to do), from Late Latin visualis "of sight," from Latin visus "a sight, a looking; power of sight; things seen, appearance," from visus, past participle of videre "to see" (see vision). Meaning "perceptible by sight" is from late 15c; sense of "relating to vision" is first attested c. 1600. The noun meaning "photographic film or other visual display" is first recorded 1944.
visualise (v.) Look up visualise at
chiefly British English spelling of visualize. For suffix, see -ize. Related: Visualised; visualising; visualisation.
visualization (n.) Look up visualization at
1881, noun of action from visualize.
visualize (v.) Look up visualize at
1817, first attested in, and perhaps coined by, Coleridge ("Biographia Literaria"); see visual + -ize. Related: Visualized; visualizing.
visually (adv.) Look up visually at
mid-15c., from visual + -ly (2).
vita (n.) Look up vita at
plural vitae, Latin, literally "life" (see vital).
vital (adj.) Look up vital at
late 14c., "of or manifesting life," from Latin vitalis "of or belonging to life," from vita "life," related to vivere "to live," from PIE root *gweie- (1) "to live" (see bio-). The sense of "necessary or important" is from 1610s, via the notion of "essential to life" (late 15c.). Vital capacity recorded from 1852. Related: Vitally.
vital statistics (n.) Look up vital statistics at
1837, with reference to birth, marriage, death, etc.; meaning "a woman's bust, waist, and hip measurements" is from 1952. See vital.
vitality (n.) Look up vitality at
1590s, from Latin vitalitatem (nominative vitalitas) "vital force, life," from vitalis "pertaining to life" (see vital).
vitalize (v.) Look up vitalize at
1670s, "to give life to," from vital + -ize. Figurative sense by 1805. Related: Vitalized; vitalizing.
vitals (n.) Look up vitals at
"organs of the body essential to life," c. 1600, from noun use of adjective vital, perhaps on model of Latin vitalia "vital force," neuter plural of vitalis.
vitamin (n.) Look up vitamin at
1920, originally vitamine (1912) coined by Polish biochemist Casimir Funk (1884-1967), from Latin vita "life" (see vital) + amine, because they were thought to contain amino acids. The terminal -e formally was stripped off when scientists learned the true nature of the substance; -in was acceptable because it was used for neutral substances of undefined composition. The lettering system of nomenclature (Vitamin A, B, C, etc.) was introduced at the same time (1920).
vitiate (v.) Look up vitiate at
1530s, from Latin vitiatus, past participle of vitiare "to make faulty, injure, spoil, corrupt," from vitium "fault, defect, blemish, crime, vice" (see vice (n.1)). Related: Vitiated; vitiating.