Etymology
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Words related to V

vane (n.)

"plate metal wind indicator," early 15c., southern England alteration (see V) of fane "flag, banner."

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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 (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").

vixen (n.)

Old English *fyxen (implied in adjective fyxan), fem. of fox (see fox (n.) and cognate with Middle High German vühsinne, German füchsin). Solitary English survival of the Germanic feminine suffix -en, -in (also in Old English gyden "goddess;" mynecen "nun," from munuc "monk;" wlyfen "she-wolf," etc.). The figurative sense "ill-tempered woman" is attested from 1570s. The spelling shift from -f- to -v- began late 1500s (see V).

improve (v.)

late 15c., "to use to one's profit, to increase (income)," from Anglo-French emprouwer "to turn to profit" (late 13c.), from Old French en-, a causative prefix or from em-, + prou "profit," from Latin prode "advantageous" (see proud (adj.)).

Spelling with -v- was rare before 17c.; it apparently arose from confusion of -v- and -u-. Spelling otherwise deformed by influence of words in -prove. Meaning "make better, raise to a better quality or condition" first recorded 1610s. Intransitive sense "get better" is from 1727. Phrase improve the occasion retains the etymological sense. Meaning "to turn land to profit" (by clearing it, erecting buildings, etc.) was in Anglo-French (13c.) and survived or was revived in the American colonies and Australia. Hence, "make good use of, occupy (a place) and convert to some purpose."

IOU 

also I.O.U., I O U, 1610s, originally written IOV (see V); a punning on "I Owe You." "A memorandum or acknowledgement of debt less formal than a promissory note, because no direct promise to pay is expressed." [Century Dictionary]

U 

for historical evolution, see V. Used punningly for you by 1588 ["Love's Labour's Lost," V.i.60], not long after the pronunciation shift that made the vowel a homonym of the pronoun. As a simple shorthand (without intentional word-play), it is recorded from 1862. Common in business abbreviations since 1923 (such as U-Haul, attested from 1951).

The substitution of Middle English -o- for Old English -u- before -m-, -n-, or -r- was a French scribal habit before minims to avoid misreading the letters in the old style handwriting, which jammed them together. The practice transformed some, come, monk, tongue, worm.