varve (n.)
"annual deposit of silt in a lake bed," 1912, from Swedish varv "turn, layer," related to Old Norse hverfa, Old English hwerfan "to turn round" (see wharf).
varvel (n.)
"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.)
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," from a PIE root *wer- (1) "high raised spot or other bodily infirmity" (cognates: Old English wearte "wart," Swedish varbulde "pus swelling," Latin verruca "wart"). Related: Varied; varying.
vas (n.)
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.)
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.)
1934, from Latin vascularis (see vascular) on model of musculature.
vasculitis (n.)
1872, from Latin vasculum, diminutive of vas + -itis.
vase (n.)
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.)
1896, from Modern Latin vas (deferens) + -ectomy "a cutting."
Vaseline (n.)
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.)
1899, from comb. form of vas + constriction.
vasodilation (n.)
1896, from vasopressor, from vaso-, comb. form of Latin vas "container, vessel" (see vas) + dilation. Related: Vasodilator (1881).
vasopressin (n.)
1928, from vasopressor "causing the constriction of (blood) vessels) (from vaso-, comb. form of Latin vas "container, vessel;" see vas) + -in (2).
vassal (n.)
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" (cognates: Welsh gwas "youth, servant," Breton goaz "servant, vassal, man," Irish foss "servant"). The adjective is recorded from 1580s.
vassalage (n.)
c.1300, from Old French vassalage, vasselage "the service of a vassal," from vassal (see vassal).
vast (adj.)
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.)
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 (cognates: Old Saxon, Old Norse fat, Old Frisian fet, Middle Dutch, Dutch vat, Old High German faz, German faß), from PIE root *ped- (2) "container" (cognates: Lithuanian puodas "pot").
vaterland (n.)
1852, from German Vaterland, from Vater (see father (n.)) + Land (see land (n.)).
vates (n.)
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" (cognates: Old English wod "mad, frenzied," god-name Woden; see wood (adj.)). Hence vaticination "oracular prediction" (c.1600).
vatic (adj.)
"pertaining to a prophet," c.1600, from Latin vates (see vates) + -ic.
Vatican
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.)
"to prophecy, foretell," 1620s, from Latin vaticinatus, past participle of vaticinari, from vates (see vates) + formative element -cinus. Related: Vaticinated; vaticinating; Vaticinal.
vaticination (n.)
c.1600, from Latin vaticinationem (nominative vaticinatio), noun of action from past participle stem of vaticinari (see vaticinate).
vaudeville (n.)
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.)
"performer in vaudeville shows," 1900, from vaudeville + -ian.
Vaughan
from Welsh fychan, mutation of bychan "small."
vault (n.1)
"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" (see volvox). The -l- appeared in English c.1400, an etymological insertion in imitation of earlier forms (compare fault (n.)).
vault (v.1)
"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" (see volvox). Related: Vaulted; vaulting.
vault (n.2)
"a leap," especially using the hands or a pole, 1570s, from vault (v.1).
vault (v.2)
"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.
vaunt (v.)
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 "idle, empty" (see vain). Also short for avaunten "to boast" (see vaunt (n.)). Related: Vaunted; vaunting.
vaunt (n.)
"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."
Vauxhall
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.)
also V.C., U.S. military abbreviation of Viet Cong, by 1964; also see Charlie.
VCR (n.)
1971, initialism (acronym) from videocassette recorder (see videocassette).
VE Day (n.)
initialism (acronym) for Victory in Europe, from September 1944 (see victory).
veal (n.)
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.)
"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.)
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" (related to wit, and to Avestan vaeda "I know," Latin videre "to see;" see vision (n.)). The books are the Rig-, Yajur-, Sama-, and Atharva-veda.
vedette (n.)
"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" (see vision).
Vedic (adj.)
"pertaining to the Vedas," 1845, from Veda + -ic.
vee (n.)
1869, to denote the shape of the letter V. As a type of engine, by 1915.
veejay (n.)
1982, from pronunciation of V.J., from video, on model of deejay (see disk).
veep (n.)
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.)
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
since 1898 as an abbreviation of vegetarian; 1918 of vegetable. As a verb, colloquially short for vegetate, by 1985 (usually with out).
Vega (n.)
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.)
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 (adj.)
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 *weg- (2) "be strong, lively," source of watch (v.), vigor, velocity, and possibly witch (see wake (v.)). The meaning "resembling that of a vegetable, dull, uneventful; having life such as a plant has" is attested from 1854 (see vegetable (n.)).
vegetable (n.)
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."