varvel (n.) Look up varvel at
"metal ring attached to the end of a hawk's jess and connecting it to the leash," 1530s, from Old French vervelle "falcon's leg fetter" (14c.), from Vulgar Latin derivation of Latin vertibulum "joint." Related: Varvels.
vary (v.) Look up vary at
mid-14c. (transitive); late 14c. (intransitive), from Old French variier "be changed, go astray; change, alter, transform" and directly from Latin variare "change, alter, make different," from varius "varied, different, spotted;" perhaps related to varus "bent, crooked, knock-kneed," and varix "varicose vein," and, more distantly, to Old English wearte "wart," Swedish varbulde "pus swelling," Latin verruca "wart." Related: Varied; varying.
vas (n.) Look up vas at
in anatomy, "a tube, duct, or conduit for conveying blood, lymph, semen, etc.," plural vasa, Latin, literally "vessel." Vas deferens (plural vasa defferentia) is from 1570s.
vascular (adj.) Look up vascular at
1670s, in anatomy, "pertaining to conveyance or circulation of fluids," from Modern Latin vascularis "of or pertaining to vessels or tubes," from Latin vasculum "a small vessel," diminutive of vas "vessel."
vasculature (n.) Look up vasculature at
1934, from Latin vascularis (see vascular) on model of musculature.
vasculitis (n.) Look up vasculitis at
1872, from Latin vasculum, diminutive of vas, + -itis "inflammation."
vase (n.) Look up vase at
late 14c., from Old French vas, vase "receptacle, container," from Latin vas (plural vasa) "container, vessel." American English preserves the original English pronunciation (Swift rhymes it with face, Byron with place and grace), while British English shifted mid-19c. to preference for a pronunciation that rhymes with bras.
vasectomy (n.) Look up vasectomy at
1896, from Modern Latin vas (deferens) + -ectomy "a cutting."
Vaseline (n.) Look up Vaseline at
1872, trademark for an ointment made from petroleum and marketed by Chesebrough Manufacturing Co., coined from German Wasser "water" + Greek elaion "oil" + scientific-sounded ending -ine. Robert A. Chesebrough was of the opinion that petroleum was a product of the underground decomposition of water.
The name is of mixed origin, being derived from Wasser, water, and elaion [Greek in the original], oil (water-oil), and indicates the belief of the discoverer that petroleum, the mother of Vaseline, is produced by the agency of heat and pressure from the carbon of certain rocks, and the hydrogen of water. ["The Monthly Review of Dental Surgery," February 1877]
vasoconstriction (n.) Look up vasoconstriction at
1899, from combining form of vas + constriction.
vasodilation (n.) Look up vasodilation at
1896, from vasopressor, from vaso-, comb. form of Latin vas "container, vessel" (see vas) + dilation. Related: Vasodilator (1881).
vasopressin (n.) Look up vasopressin at
1928, from vasopressor "causing the constriction of (blood) vessels) (from vaso-, comb. form of Latin vas "container, vessel;" see vas) + -in (2).
vassal (n.) Look up vassal at
early 14c. (c. 1200 as a surname) "tenant who pledges fealty to a lord," from Old French vassal "subject, subordinate, servant" (12c.), from Medieval Latin vassallus "manservant, domestic, retainer," extended from vassus "servant," from Old Celtic *wasso- "young man, squire" (source also of Welsh gwas "youth, servant," Breton goaz "servant, vassal, man," Irish foss "servant"), literally "one who stands under," from PIE root *upo "under." The adjective is recorded from 1580s.
vassalage (n.) Look up vassalage at
c. 1300, from Old French vassalage, vasselage "the service of a vassal," from vassal (see vassal).
vast (adj.) Look up vast at
1570s, "being of great extent or size," from Middle French vaste, from Latin vastus "immense, extensive, huge," also "desolate, unoccupied, empty." The two meanings probably originally attached to two separate words, one with a long -a- one with a short -a-, that merged in early Latin (see waste (v.)). Meaning "very great in quantity or number" is from 1630s; that of "very great in degree" is from 1670s. Very popular early 18c. as an intensifier. Related: Vastly; vastness; vasty.
vat (n.) Look up vat at
c. 1200, large tub or cistern, "especially one for holding liquors in an immature state" [Century Dictionary], southern variant (see V) of Old English fæt "container, vat," from Proto-Germanic *fatan (source also of Old Saxon, Old Norse fat, Old Frisian fet, Middle Dutch, Dutch vat, Old High German faz, German faß), from PIE root *ped- (2) "container" (source also of Lithuanian puodas "pot").
vaterland (n.) Look up vaterland at
1852, from German Vaterland, from Vater (see father (n.)) + Land (see land (n.)).
vates (n.) Look up vates at
1620s, "poet or bard," specifically "Celtic divinely inspired poet" (1728), from Latin vates "sooth-sayer, prophet, seer," from a Celtic source akin to Old Irish faith "poet," Welsh gwawd "poem," from PIE root *wet- (1) "to blow; inspire, spiritually arouse" (source also of Old English wod "mad, frenzied," god-name Woden; see wood (adj.)). Hence vaticination "oracular prediction" (c. 1600).
vatic (adj.) Look up vatic at
"pertaining to a prophet," c. 1600, from Latin vates (see vates) + -ic.
Vatican Look up Vatican at
1550s, from Latin mons Vaticanus, Roman hill on which Papal palace stands. Said to be an Etruscan loan-word, not related to vates "sooth-sayer."
vaticinate (v.) Look up vaticinate at
"to prophecy, foretell," 1620s, from Latin vaticinatus, past participle of vaticinari, from vates (see vates) + formative element -cinus. Related: Vaticinated; vaticinating; Vaticinal.
vaticination (n.) Look up vaticination at
c. 1600, from Latin vaticinationem (nominative vaticinatio), noun of action from past participle stem of vaticinari (see vaticinate).
vaudeville (n.) Look up vaudeville at
1735, "a country song," especially one for the stage, from French vaudeville (16c.), alteration (by influence of ville "town") of Middle French vaudevire, said to be from (chanson du) Vau de Vire "(song of the) valley of Vire," in the Calvados region of Normandy, first applied to the popular satirical songs of Olivier Basselin, a 15c. poet who lived in Vire. The alternative explanation is that vaudevire derives from Middle French dialectal vauder "to go" + virer "to turn." From the popularity of the songs in France grew a form of theatrical entertainment based on parodies of popular opera and drama, interspersed with songs.
The Théatre du Vaudeville is rich in parodies, which follow rapidly upon every new piece given at the Opera, or at the Théatre Français. Their parody upon Hamlet is too ludicrous for description, but irresistibly laughable; and the elegaut light ballet of La Colombe Retrouvée [The Dove found again], I saw parodied at the Vaudeville as "La Maison Retrouvée" [The House found again], with a breadth of farce quite beyond the genius of Sadler's Wells. Some of the acting here, particularly that of the men, is exquisite; and the orchestra like all the orchestras in Paris is full and excellent. ["France in 1816," by Lady Morgan]
As a sort of popular stage variety entertainment show suitable for families, from c. 1881 in U.S., displaced by movies after c. 1914, considered dead from 1932.
vaudevillian (n.) Look up vaudevillian at
"performer in vaudeville shows," 1900, from vaudeville + -ian.
Vaughan Look up Vaughan at
from Welsh fychan, mutation of bychan "small."
vault (n.2) Look up vault at
"a leap," especially using the hands or a pole, 1570s, from vault (v.1).
vault (v.2) Look up vault at
"to form with a vault or arched roof," late 14c., from Old French vaulter, volter, from voute "arch, vaulted roof" (see vault (n.1)). Related: Vaulted; vaulting.
vault (n.1) Look up vault at
"arched roof or ceiling," c. 1300, vaute, from Old French voute "arch, vaulting, vaulted roof or chamber," from Vulgar Latin *volta, contraction of *volvita, noun use of fem. of *volvitus, alteration of Latin volutus "bowed, arched," past participle of volvere "to turn, turn around, roll," from PIE root *wel- (3) "to turn, revolve." The -l- appeared in English c. 1400, an etymological insertion in imitation of earlier forms (compare fault (n.), assault (n.)).
vault (v.1) Look up vault at
"jump or leap over," especially by aid of the hands or a pole, 1530s, transitive (implied in vaulting); 1560s, intransitive, from Middle French volter "to gambol, leap," from Italian voltare "to turn," from Vulgar Latin *volvitare "to turn, leap," frequentative of Latin volvere "to turn, turn around, roll," from PIE root *wel- (3) "to turn, revolve." Related: Vaulted; vaulting.
vaunt (n.) Look up vaunt at
"boasting utterance," c. 1400, short for avaunt "a boast" (late 14c.), from avaunten "to boast" (c. 1300), from Old French avanter "boast about, boast of, glory in."
vaunt (v.) Look up vaunt at
early 15c., "speak vainly or proudly," from Anglo-French vaunter, Old French vanter "to praise, speak highly of," from Medieval Latin vanitare "to boast," frequentative of Latin vanare "to utter empty words," from vanus "empty, void," figuratively "idle, fruitless," from PIE *wano-, suffixed form of root *eue- "to leave, abandon, give out." Also short for avaunten "to boast" (see vaunt (n.)). Related: Vaunted; vaunting.
Vauxhall Look up Vauxhall at
popular pleasure garden on south bank of Thames in London, c. 1661-1859; the name is Middle English Faukeshale (late 13c.), "Hall or manor of a man called Falkes," an Old French personal name.
VC (n.) Look up VC at
also V.C., U.S. military abbreviation of Viet Cong, by 1964; also see Charlie.
VCR (n.) Look up VCR at
1971, initialism (acronym) from videocassette recorder (see videocassette).
VE Day (n.) Look up VE Day at
initialism (acronym) for Victory in Europe, from September 1944 (see victory).
veal (n.) Look up veal at
late 14c., "calf meat as food," from Anglo-French vel, Old French veel "a calf" (12c., Modern French veau), earlier vedel, from Latin vitellus "a little calf," diminutive of vitulus "calf," perhaps originally "yearling," if related, as some think, to Sanskrit vatsah "calf," literally "yearling;" Gothic wiþrus, Old English weðer (see wether; also see veteran).
vector (n.) Look up vector at
"quantity having magnitude and direction," 1846; earlier "line joining a fixed point and a variable point," 1704, from Latin vector "one who carries or conveys, carrier" (also "one who rides"), agent noun from past participle stem of vehere "carry, convey" (see vehicle). Related: Vectorial.
Veda (n.) Look up Veda at
ancient sacred Hindu book, 1734, from Sanskrit veda, literally "knowledge, understanding," especially "sacred knowledge," from root vid- "to know," from PIE root *weid- "to see." The books are the Rig-, Yajur-, Sama-, and Atharva-veda.
vedette (n.) Look up vedette at
"mounted sentinel placed in advance of an outpost," 1680s, from French vedette (16c.), from Italian (Florentine) vedetta "watch tower, peep hole," probably from vedere "to see," from Latin videre "to see" (from PIE root *weid- "to see"), or else from Latin vigil "watchful, awake," from PIE root *weg- "to be strong, be lively."
Vedic (adj.) Look up Vedic at
"pertaining to the Vedas," 1845, from Veda + -ic.
vee (n.) Look up vee at
1869, to denote the shape of the letter V. As a type of engine, by 1915.
veejay (n.) Look up veejay at
1982, from pronunciation of V.J., from video, on model of deejay (see disk).
veep (n.) Look up veep at
1949, American English, apparently coined from V.P., abbreviation of vice president, perhaps modeled on jeep, which was then in vogue. Introduced by Alben W. Barkley (1877-1956), Harry Truman's vice president. According to the "Saturday Evening Post," "his grandchildren, finding Vice-President too long, call him that." The magazines quickly picked it up, especially when the 71-year-old Barkley married a 38-year-old widow (dubbed the Veepess).
Barkley says word "Veep" is not copyrighted, and any vice president who wants to can use it. But he hopes not many will. [U.S. Department of State wireless bulletin, 1949]
"Time," tongue in cheek, suggested the president should be Peep, the Secretary of State Steep, and the Secretary of Labor Sleep.
veer (v.) Look up veer at
1580s, "to change direction" (originally of the wind; 1610s of a ship), from Middle French virer "to turn" (12c.), of uncertain origin, perhaps (Diez) from the Latin stem vir- in viriae (plural) "bracelets." Gamillscheg finds von Wartburg's derivation of it from a Vulgar Latin contraction of Latin vibrare "to shake" to be nicht möglich. Related: veered, veering.
veg Look up veg at
since 1898 as an abbreviation of vegetarian; 1918 of vegetable. As a verb, colloquially short for vegetate, by 1985 (usually with out).
Vega (n.) Look up Vega at
1638, bright northern star, the alpha of Lyra, from Arabic (Al Nasr) al Waqi translated variously as "the eagle of the desert" or "the falling vulture" (or bird).
vegan (n.) Look up vegan at
1944, from vegetable (n.) + -an; coined by English vegetarian Donald Watson (1910-2005) to distinguish those who abstain from all animal products (eggs, cheese, etc.) from those who merely refuse to eat the animals.
vegetable (n.) Look up vegetable at
mid-15c., "non-animal life," originally any plant, from vegetable (adj.); specific sense of "plant cultivated for food, edible herb or root" is first recorded 1767. Meaning "person who leads a monotonous life" is recorded from 1921; sense of "one totally incapacitated mentally and physically" is from 1976.

The Old English word was wyrt (see wort). The commonest source of words for vegetables in Indo-European languages are derivatives of words for "green" or "growing" (compare Italian, Spanish verdura, Irish glasraidh, Danish grøntsager). For a different association, compare Greek lakhana, related to lakhaino "to dig."
vegetable (adj.) Look up vegetable at
early 15c., "capable of life or growth; growing, vigorous;" also "neither animal nor mineral, of the plant kingdom, living and growing as a plant," from Old French vegetable "living, fit to live," and directly from Medieval Latin vegetabilis "growing, flourishing," from Late Latin vegetabilis "animating, enlivening," from Latin vegetare "to enliven," from vegetus "vigorous, enlivened, active, sprightly," from vegere "to be alive, active, to quicken," from PIE root *weg- "to be strong, be lively." The meaning "resembling that of a vegetable, dull, uneventful; having life such as a plant has" is attested from 1854 (see vegetable (n.)).
vegetal (adj.) Look up vegetal at
c. 1400, from Medieval Latin *vegetalis, from Latin vegetare (see vegetable (adj.)).