vexillology (n.) Look up vexillology at
"study of flags," 1959, from Latin vexillum "flag, military ensign, banner" (from velum "a sail, curtain, veil; see veil (n.)) + -ology.
VFW (n.) Look up VFW at
1916, abbreviation of Veterans of Foreign Wars, U.S. organization with roots to 1899.
VHF Look up VHF at
1932, initialism (acronym) of very high frequency.
VHS Look up VHS at
1982, initialism (acronym) of Video Home System.
via (adv.) Look up via at
1779, from Latin via "by way of," ablative form of via "way, road, path, highway, channel, course," from PIE root *wegh- "to go, move, transport in a vehicle," which is also the source of English way (n.).
viability (n.) Look up viability at
1823, from French viabilité, from viable (see viable).
viable (adj.) Look up viable at
1828, from French viable "capable of life" (1530s), from vie "life" (from Latin vita "life," from PIE root *gwei- "to live") + -able. Originally of newborn infants; generalized sense is first recorded 1848. Related: Viably.
viaduct (n.) Look up viaduct at
1816, from Latin via "road" (see via) + -duct as in aqueduct. French viaduc is a 19c. English loan-word.
An extensive bridge consisting, strictly of a series of arches of masonry, erected for the purpose of conducting a road or a railway a valley or a district of low level, or over existing channels of communication, where an embankment would be impracticable or inexpedient; more widely, any elevated roadway which artificial constructions of timber, iron, bricks, or stonework are established. [Century Dictionary]
But the word apparently was coined by English landscape gardener Humphry Repton (1752-1818) for an architectural feature, "a form of bridge adapted to the purposes of passing over, which may unite strength with grace, or use with beauty ...."
Viagra (n.) Look up Viagra at
1998, proprietary name of drug manufactured by Pfizer company.
vial (n.) Look up vial at
late 14c., vyol, an irregular variant of fyole (see phial).
viand (n.) Look up viand at
"article of food," early 14c., from Anglo-French viaunde, Old French viande "food (vegetable as well as animal), victuals, provisions" (11c.), dissimilated from Vulgar Latin *vivanda, from Late Latin vivenda "things for living, things to be lived upon," in classical Latin, "be live," neuter plural gerundive of vivere "to live" (from PIE root *gwei- "to live"). The French word later was restricted to fresh meat.
viatic (adj.) Look up viatic at
1650s, from Latin viaticus "of or pertaining to a journey," from via "way" (see via) + -al (1). Related: Viatical (1782).
viaticum (n.) Look up viaticum at
1560s, from Latin viaticum "traveling money; provision for a journey," noun use of neuter of adjective viaticus, from via "way" (see via). In Late Latin also "money to pay the expenses of one studying abroad," and in Church Latin, "the eucharist given to a dying person."
vibe (n.) Look up vibe at
1940, short for vibraphone; attested from 1967 as an abbreviated form of vibration in the 1960s slang sense of "instinctive feeling." Related: Vibes.
vibrant (adj.) Look up vibrant at
1550s, "agitated;" 1610s, "vibrating" (especially "vibrating so as to produce sound," of a string, etc.), from Latin vibrantem (nominative vibrans) "swaying," present participle of vibrare "move to and fro" (see vibrate). Meaning "vigorous, full of life" is first recorded 1860. Related: Vibrantly; vibrancy.
vibraphone (n.) Look up vibraphone at
1926, a hybrid from vibrato + -phone.
vibrate (v.) Look up vibrate at
1610s (intransitive) "move to and fro;" 1660s, "swing to and fro;" from Latin vibratus, past participle of vibrare "set in tremulous motion, move quickly to and fro, quiver, tremble, shake," from PIE *wib-ro-, from root *weip- "to turn, vacillate, tremble ecstatically, move quickly to and fro" (source also of Lithuanian wyburiu "to wag" (the tail), Danish vippe, Dutch wippen "to swing," Old English wipan "to wipe"). Transitive sense "cause to vibrate" is from c. 1700. Related: Vibrated; vibrating.
vibration (n.) Look up vibration at
1650s, from Latin vibrationem (nominative vibratio) "a shaking, a brandishing," noun of action from past participle stem of vibrare "set in tremulous motion" (see vibrate). Meaning "intuitive signal about a person or thing" was popular late 1960s, but has been recorded as far back as 1899. Related: Vibrational.
vibrato Look up vibrato at
1861 (adv.), 1870 (n.), "tremulous effect in music," from Italian vibrato, from Latin vibratus, past participle of vibrare "to vibrate" (see vibrate).
Strictly, the vibrato is distinct from the tremolo, in that the latter involves a perceptible variation in pitch; but in common usage the terms are made synonymous. [Century Dictionary]
vibrator (n.) Look up vibrator at
1862, "that which vibrates," originally a part in a musical instrument, agent noun in Latin form from vibrate (v.). Attested from 1888 in reference to various appliances; specific sense of "small electrical device for sexual stimulation" is recorded from 1953.
vibrissa (n.) Look up vibrissa at
plural vibrissae, 1690s, "nose hair, stiff hair in the nostril," from Latin vibrissa, back-formation from vibrissare, from vibrare "to vibrate" (see vibrate). In reference to the long whiskers of a cat, etc., from 1839.
viburnum (n.) Look up viburnum at
genus of shrubs widespread in Eurasia and North America, the wayfaring-tree, 1731, from Latin viburnum, which is said to be probably an Etruscan word.
Vic Look up Vic at
1858, colloquial abbreviation of Royal Victoria Theater in London.
vicar (n.) Look up vicar at
early 14c., from Anglo-French vicare, Old French vicaire "deputy, second in command," also in the ecclesiastical sense (12c.), from Latin vicarius "a substitute, deputy, proxy," noun use of adjective vicarius "substituted, delegated," from vicis "change, interchange, succession; a place, position" (from PIE root *weik- (2) "to bend, to wind"). The original notion is of "earthly representative of God or Christ;" but also used in sense of "person acting as parish priest in place of a real parson" (early 14c.).

The original Vicar of Bray (in figurative use from 1660s) seems to have been Simon Allen, who held the benefice from c. 1540 to 1588, thus serving from the time of Henry VIII to Elizabeth I, being twice a Catholic and twice a Protestant but always vicar of Bray. The village is near Maidenhead in Berkshire.
vicarage (n.) Look up vicarage at
early 15c., "benefice of a vicar," from vicar + -age. Meaning "house or residence of a vicar" is from 1520s.
vicarious (adj.) Look up vicarious at
1630s, "taking the place of another," from Latin vicarius "that supplies a place; substituted, delegated," from vicis "a change, exchange, interchange; succession, alternation, substitution," from PIE root *weik- (2) "to bend, to wind."

From 1690s as "done or experienced in place of another" (usually in reference to punishment, often of Christ); from 1929 as "experienced imaginatively through another." Related: Vicariously.
vice (n.1) Look up vice at
"moral fault, wickedness," c. 1300, from Old French vice "fault, failing, defect, irregularity, misdemeanor" (12c.), from Latin vitium "defect, offense, blemish, imperfection," in both physical and moral senses (in Medieval Latin also vicium; source also of Italian vezzo "usage, entertainment"), from PIE *wi-tio-, from root *wei- (3) "vice, fault, guilt."
Horace and Aristotle have already spoken to us about the virtues of their forefathers and the vices of their own times, and through the centuries, authors have talked the same way. If all this were true, we would be bears today. [Montesquieu]
Vice squad "special police unit targeting prostitution, narcotics, gambling, etc.," is attested from 1905, American English. Vice anglais "fetish for corporal punishment," literally "the English vice," is attested from 1942, from French. In Old French, the seven deadly sins were les set vices.
vice (n.2) Look up vice at
"tool for holding," see vise.
vice versa Look up vice versa at
"the order being changed," c. 1600, Latin, from vice, ablative of vicis "a change, alternation, alternate order" (from PIE root *weik- (2) "to bend, to wind") + versa, feminine ablative singular of versus, past participle of vertere "to turn, turn about" (from PIE root *wer- (2) "to turn, bend"). "The phrase has the complete force of a proposition, being as much as to say that upon a transposition of antecedents the consequents are also transposed" [Century Dictionary].
vice- Look up vice- at
word-forming element meaning "deputy, assistant, substitute," also "instead of, in place of," 15c., from Latin vice "in place of," ablative of vicis "a change, a turn, interchange alternation" (from PIE root *weik- (2) "to bend, to wind"). In Middle English sometimes borrowed in Old French form vis-, vi-.
vice-president (n.) Look up vice-president at
also vice president, 1570s, "one who acts as a deputy for a president," from vice- + president. Made into an official rank and given a different meaning (vice = "next in rank to") in the U.S. Constitution (1787).
There seems to be no doubt of my election as V[ice] Pres[iden]t. It will have at least one advantage, that of permitting me to devote more of my time to my private affairs. [John C. Calhoun, letter to wife, Nov. 12, 1824]
Related: vice presidential; vice presidency.
vicegerent (n.) Look up vicegerent at
1530s, from Medieval Latin vicegerentem (nominative vicegerens), from Latin vicem, accusative of vicus "stead, place, office," (see vicarious) + gerens, present participle of gerere "to carry" (see gest). From 1570s as an adjective.
viceregent (n.) Look up viceregent at
also vice-regent, 1580s, from vice- + regent (n.). Difficult to distinguish from vicegerent.
viceroy (n.) Look up viceroy at
person ruling as representative of a sovereign, 1520s, from Middle French vice-roy, from Old French vice- "deputy" (see vice-) + roi "king," from Latin regem (nominative rex) "king," which is related to regere "to keep straight, guide, lead, rule," from PIE root *reg- "move in a straight line," with derivatives meaning "to direct in a straight line," thus "to lead, rule." The species of American butterfly so called from 1881.
Vichy (adj.) Look up Vichy at
in reference to collaborationist government of France, 1940, from the name of the city in department of Allier in central France, famous for mineral springs, seat 1940-44 of the French government formed under Nazi occupation and headed by Pétain. The place name is of uncertain origin.
vichyssoise (n.) Look up vichyssoise at
1939, French, in full crême vichyssoise glacée, literally "iced cream (soup) of Vichy" (see Vichy).
vicinage (n.) Look up vicinage at
"a neighborhood," early 14c., from Old French visenage, from Latin vicinus "near, neighboring" (see vicinity).
vicinity (n.) Look up vicinity at
1550s, "nearness in place," from Middle French vicinité and directly from Latin vicinitas "of or pertaining to neighbors or a neighborhood," as a noun, "neighborhood, nearness, proximity," from vicinus (adj.) "of the neighborhood, near, neighboring," as a noun "the neighborhood, a neighbor," from vicus "group of houses, village," related to the -wick, -wich in English place names, from PIE root *weik- (1) "clan." Meaning "neighborhood, surrounding district" in English is attested by 1796.
vicious (adj.) Look up vicious at
late 14c., "unwholesome, impure, of the nature of vice, wicked, corrupting, pernicious, harmful;" of a text, "erroneous, corrupt," from Anglo-French vicious, Old French vicios "wicked, cunning, underhand; defective, illegal" (Modern French vicieux), from Latin vitiosus (Medieval Latin vicious) "faulty, full of faults, defective, corrupt; wicked, depraved," from vitium "fault" (see vice (n.1)).

Meaning "inclined to be savage or dangerous" is first recorded 1711 (originally of animals, especially horses); that of "full of spite, bitter, severe" is from 1825. In law, "marred by some inherent fault" (late 14c.), hence also this sense in logic (c. 1600), as in vicious circle in reasoning (c. 1792, Latin circulus vitiosus), which was given a general sense of "a situation in which action and reaction intensify one another" by 1839. Related: Viciously (mid-14c., "sinfully"); viciousness.
vicissitude (n.) Look up vicissitude at
"a passing from one state to another," whether regular or not, 1560s, from Middle French vicissitude (14c.), from Latin vicissitudinem (nominative vicissitudo) "change, interchange, alternation," from vicissim (adv.) "changeably, on the other hand, by turns, in turn," from vicis "a turn, change" (from PIE root *weik- (2) "to bend, to wind"). Related: Vicissitudes.
Vicksburg Look up Vicksburg at
city in Mississippi, U.S., incorporated 1825, named for an early settler the Rev. Newitt Vick, who was said to have come to the region c. 1812 from Virginia with his family and chosen the town site in 1819.
victim (n.) Look up victim at
late 15c., "living creature killed and offered as a sacrifice to a deity or supernatural power," from Latin victima "person or animal killed as a sacrifice." Perhaps distantly connected to Old English wig "idol," Gothic weihs "holy," German weihen "consecrate" (compare Weihnachten "Christmas") on notion of "a consecrated animal." Sense of "person who is hurt, tortured, or killed by another" is recorded from 1650s; meaning "person oppressed by some power or situation" is from 1718. Weaker sense of "person taken advantage of" is recorded from 1781.
victimization (n.) Look up victimization at
1832, noun of action from victimize.
victimize (v.) Look up victimize at
1830, from victim + -ize. Related: Victimized; victimizing.
victimless (adj.) Look up victimless at
1965, from victim + -less.
victimology (n.) Look up victimology at
1958, from French victimologie (1956), from victime (see victim) + -logy.
victor (n.) Look up victor at
mid-14c., from Anglo-French, Old French victor "conqueror," and directly from Latin victorem (nominative victor) "a conqueror," agent noun from past participle stem of vincere "to conquer, overcome, defeat," from nasalized form of PIE root *weik- (3) "to fight, conquer." Fem. formations include victrice (late 14c.), victress (c. 1600), victrix (1650s).
Victoria Look up Victoria at
fem. proper name, Latin, literally "victory in war," also the name of the Roman goddess of victory (see victory). The Victoria cross is a decoration founded 1856 by Queen Victoria of Great Britain and awarded for acts of conspicuous bravery in battle.
Victorian (adj.) Look up Victorian at
1839, "belonging to or typical of the reign of Queen Victoria of Great Britain" (ruled 1837-1901). Figurative sense of "typified by prudish or outdated attitudes" is attested by 1934. The noun meaning "a person from or typical of Victorian times" is from 1876.
Victorianism (n.) Look up Victorianism at
1905, from Victorian + -ism.