voracious (adj.)
1630s, formed as an adjectival form of voracity. Related: Voraciously; voraciousness.
voracity (n.)
1520s, from Middle French voracité (14c.) or directly from Latin voracitatem (nominative voracitas) "greediness, ravenousness," from vorax (genitive voracis) "greedy, ravenous, consuming," from vorare "to devour," from PIE *gwor-a-, from root *gwora- "food, devouring."
vorlage (n.)
"skiing," 1939, from German vorlage, from vorlegen "to lean forward," from vor (see fore) + legen, from Old High German laga "act of laying," from Proto-Germanic *lagam, from PIE root *legh- "to lie down, lay."
vorpal (adj.)
1871, invented by Lewis Carroll in "Through the Looking-Glass."
vortex (n.)
1650s, "whirlpool, eddying mass," from Latin vortex, variant of vertex "an eddy of water, wind, or flame; whirlpool; whirlwind," from stem of vertere "to turn" (from PIE root *wer- (2) "to turn, bend"). Plural form is vortices. Became prominent in 17c. theories of astrophysics (by Descartes, etc.). In reference to human affairs, it is attested from 1761. Vorticism as a movement in British arts and literature is attested from 1914, coined by Ezra Pound. Related: Vortical; vorticist.
votary (n.)
1540s, "one consecrated by a vow," from Latin votum "a promise to a god; that which is promised" (see vow (n.)) + -ary. Originally "a monk or nun," general sense of "ardent devotee of some aim or pursuit" is from 1591 (in Shakespeare, originally in reference to love). Related: Votaress.
vote (n.)
mid-15c., "formal expression of one's wish or choice with regard to a proposal, candidate, etc.," from Latin votum "a vow, wish, promise to a god, solemn pledge, dedication," noun use of neuter of votus, past participle of vovere "to promise, dedicate" (see vow (n.)). Meaning "totality of voters of a certain class or type" is from 1888.
vote (v.)
1550s, "give a vote to;" 1560s, "enact or establish by vote,"; see vote (n.). Earlier it meant "to vow" to do something (mid-15c.). Related: Voted; voting.
voter (n.)
1570s, agent noun from vote (v.).
votive (adj.)
1590s, "dedicated or given in fulfillment of a vow," from Middle French votif, from Latin votivus "of or pertaining to a vow, promised by a vow, conforming to one's wishes," from votum (see vow (n.)).
vouch (v.)
early 14c., "summon into court to prove a title," from Anglo-French voucher, Old French vocher "to call, summon, invoke, claim," probably from Gallo-Roman *voticare, metathesis of Latin vocitare "to call to, summon insistently," frequentative of Latin vocare "to call, call upon, summon" (from PIE root *wekw- "to speak"). Meaning "guarantee to be true or accurate" is first attested 1590s. Related: Vouched; vouching.
voucher (n.)
1520s, originally "summoning of a person into court to warrant the title to a property, a calling to vouch;" see vouch. Meaning "receipt from a business transaction" is first attested 1690s; sense of "document which can be exchanged for goods or services" is attested from 1947.
vouchsafe (v.)
c. 1300, vouchen safe "to vouch as safe, guarantee" (see vouch and safe (adj.)).
vow (n.)
"solemn promise," c. 1300, from Anglo-French and Old French voe (Modern French vœu), from Latin votum "a promise to a god, solemn pledge, dedication; that which is promised; a wish, desire, longing, prayer," noun use of neuter of votus, past participle of vovere "to promise solemnly, pledge, dedicate, vow," from PIE root *wegwh- "to speak solemnly, vow, preach" (source also of Sanskrit vaghat- "one who offers a sacrifice;" Greek eukhe "vow, wish," eukhomai "I pray"). Meaning "solemn engagement to devote oneself to a religious order or life" is from c. 1400; earlier "to bind oneself" to chastity (early 14c.).
vow (v.)
"promise solemnly," c. 1300, from Old French voer, from voe (see vow (n.)). Related: Vowed; vowing.
vowel (n.)
c. 1300, from Old French voieul (Modern French voyelle), from Latin vocalis, in littera vocalis, literally "vocal letter," from vox (genitive vocis) "voice," from PIE root *wekw- "to speak." Vowel shift in reference to the pronunciation change between Middle and Modern English is attested from 1909. The Hawaiian word hooiaioia, meaning "certified," has the most consecutive vowels of any word in current human speech; the English record-holder is queueing.
vox
Latin, literally "voice," related to vocare "to call," from PIE root *wekw- "to speak."
vox populi (n.)
1540s, Latin, literally "voice of the people." The full maxim (first attested in Medieval Latin) is vox populi, vox Dei "the voice of the people is the voice of God." Short form vox pop attested by 1964.
voyage (n.)
c. 1300, from Old French voiage "travel, journey, movement, course, errand, mission, crusade" (12c., Modern French voyage), from Late Latin viaticum "a journey" (in classical Latin "provisions for a journey"), noun use of neuter of viaticus "of or for a journey," from via "road, journey, travel" (see via).
voyage (v.)
late 15c., from Old French voyager, from voiage (see voyage (n.)). Related: Voyaged; voyaging.
voyager (n.)
late 15c., from Old French voyagier, from voiage (see voyage (n.)).
voyeur (n.)
a scopophiliac, 1889 as a French word in English, from French voyeur, literally "one who views or inspects," from voir "to view," from Latin videre "to see" (from PIE root *weid- "to see").
Je ne puis pourtant omettre une catégorie de sadistes assez étonnants; ce sont ceux qu'on désigne sous le nom de "voyeurs." Ceux-ci cherchent une excitation dans les spectacles impudiques. [Léo Taxil]
voyeurism (n.)
"scopophilia," 1913, from voyeur + -ism.
voyeuristic (adj.)
1919, from voyeur + -istic. Related: Voyeuristically.
vroom
1967, echoic of the sound of a motor engine revving.
vs
abbreviation in law of Latin versus "turned toward or against," past participle of vertere "to turn" (from PIE root *wer- (2) "to turn, bend"). Also sometimes vs.; ver.
vue
French, literally "view, sight; aspect, appearance; vision" (see view (n.)).
vug (n.)
1818, from Cornish vooga "a cavity in rock; cave, hollow."
Vulcan (n.)
god of fire and metal-work in Roman mythology, 1510s, from Latin Vulcanus, Volcanus, according to Klein a word of Etruscan origin. Often with allusions to his lameness and the unfaithfulness of his wife, Venus. As the name of a hypothetical planet between Mercury and the Sun, it is attested from 1860 in English (see intramercurial). The Roman feast of Vulcanalia was on Aug. 23.
vulcanize (v.)
1827, "to put into flames," from Vulcan (q.v.), name of the Roman god of fire, + -ize. As a treatment for rubber, first recorded 1846. Related: Vulcanized; vulcanizing.
vulgar (adj.)
late 14c., "common, ordinary," from Latin vulgaris, volgaris "of or pertaining to the common people, common, vulgar, low, mean," from vulgus "the common people, multitude, crowd, throng," perhaps from a PIE root *wel- "to crowd, throng" (source also of Sanskrit vargah "division, group," Greek eilein "to press, throng," Middle Breton gwal'ch "abundance," Welsh gwala "sufficiency, enough") [not in Watkins]. Meaning "coarse, low, ill-bred" is first recorded 1640s, probably from earlier use (with reference to people) with meaning "belonging to the ordinary class" (1530). Related: Vulgarly.
What we have added to human depravity is again a thoroughly Roman quality, perhaps even a Roman invention: vulgarity. That word means the mind of the herd, and specifically the herd in the city, the gutter, and the tavern. [Guy Davenport, "Wheel Ruts"]
vulgarian (n.)
"rich person of vulgar manners," 1804, from vulgar (adj.) + -ian.
vulgarity (n.)
1570s, "the common people," from Middle French vulgarité and directly from Late Latin vulgaritas "the multitude," from vulgaris (see vulgar). Meaning "coarseness, crudeness" is recorded from 1774.
vulgarize (v.)
"to make vulgar" (transitive), 1709, from vulgar + -ize. Related: Vulgarized; vulgarizing.
Vulgate (n.)
Latin translation of the Bible, especially that completed in 405 by St. Jerome (c.340-420), c. 1600, from Medieval Latin Vulgata, from Late Latin vulgata "common, general, ordinary, popular" (in vulgata editio "popular edition"), from Latin vulgata, fem. past participle of vulgare "make common or public, spread among the multitude," from vulgus "the common people" (see vulgar). So called because the translations made the book accessible to the common people of ancient Rome.
vulnerability (n.)
1767, noun from vulnerable (q.v.).
vulnerable (adj.)
c. 1600, from Late Latin vulnerabilis "wounding," from Latin vulnerare "to wound, hurt, injure, maim," from vulnus (genitive vulneris) "wound," perhaps related to vellere "pluck, to tear" (see svelte), or from PIE *wele-nes-, from *wele- (2) "to strike, wound" (see Valhalla).
Vulpecula
constellation added to the celestial map in 1687 by Johannes Hevelius, from Latin vulpecula, volpecula "little fox," diminutive of vulpes, volpes "fox" (see vulpine).
vulpine (adj.)
"pertaining to a fox, fox-like," 1620s, from Latin vulpinus "of or pertaining to a fox," from vulpes, earlier volpes (genitive vulpis, volpis) "fox," from PIE *wlpe- "fox" (source also of Greek alopex "fox").
vulture (n.)
late 14c., from Anglo-French vultur, Old French voutoir, voutre (Modern French vautour), from Latin vultur, earlier voltur, perhaps related to vellere "to pluck, to tear" (see svelte). Figurative sense is recorded from 1580s. Related: Vulturine; vulturous.
vulva (n.)
late 14c., from Latin vulva, earlier volva "womb, female sexual organ," perhaps literally "wrapper," from volvere "to turn, twist, roll, revolve," also "turn over in the mind," from PIE root *wel- (3) "to turn, revolve," with derivatives referring to curved, enclosing objects.
VW (n.)
1958, short for Volkswagen, which is German for "people's car" (see folk (n.) + wagon).