versus (prep.) Look up versus at
mid-15c., in legal case names, denoting action of one party against another, from Latin versus "turned toward or against," from past participle of vertere (frequentative versare) "to turn, turn back, be turned; convert, transform, translate; be changed," from PIE *wert- "to turn, wind," from root *wer- (3) "to turn, bend" (source also of Old English -weard "toward," originally "turned toward," weorthan "to befall," wyrd "fate, destiny," literally "what befalls one;" Sanskrit vartate "turns round, rolls;" Avestan varet- "to turn;" Old Church Slavonic vrŭteti "to turn, roll," Russian vreteno "spindle, distaff;" Lithuanian ver čiu "to turn;" Greek rhatane "stirrer, ladle;" German werden, Old English weorðan "to become" (for sense, compare turn into); Welsh gwerthyd "spindle, distaff;" Old Irish frith "against").
vert (n.) Look up vert at
mid-15c., "the color green" (especially in heraldry), also "trees and brush bearing green leaves" (in forest law), from Anglo-French and Old French vert "foliage, greenery, green cloth," from Latin viridem, viridis "green" (see verdure).
vert (v.) Look up vert at
"to turn in some direction," 1570s, from Latin vertere "to turn" from PIE root *wer- (3) "to turn, bend" (see versus). As a noun meaning "one who has left the Church of England" from 1864, short for convert (v.).
vertebra (n.) Look up vertebra at
"bone of the spine," early 15c., from Latin vertebra "joint or articulation of the body, joint of the spine" (plural vertebræ), perhaps from vertere "to turn" (see versus) + instrumental suffix -bra. The notion would be the spine as the "hinge" of the body.
vertebral (adj.) Look up vertebral at
1680s, from vertebra + -al (1).
vertebrate (n.) Look up vertebrate at
"a vertebrate animal," 1826, from Latin vertebratus (Pliny), from vertebra "joint or articulation of the body, joint of the spine" (see vertebra). As an adjective also from 1826.
vertex (n.) Look up vertex at
1560s, "the point opposite the base in geometry," from Latin vertex "highest point," literally "the turning point," originally "whirling column, whirlpool," from vertere "to turn" (see versus). Meaning "highest point of anything" is first attested 1640s.
vertical (adj.) Look up vertical at
1550s, "of or at the vertex, directly overhead," from Middle French vertical (1540s), from Late Latin verticalis "overhead," from Latin vertex (genitive verticis) "highest point" (see vertex). Meaning "straight up and down" is first recorded 1704. As a noun meaning "the vertical position or line" from 1834. Related: Vertically.
vertiginous (adj.) Look up vertiginous at
c. 1600, "of the nature of vertigo," from French vertigineux, from Latin vertiginosus "suffering from dizziness," from vertigo (see vertigo). From 1620s as "dizzy;" 1640s as "liable to cause dizziness." Related: Vertiginously.
vertigo (n.) Look up vertigo at
early 15c., from Latin vertigo "dizziness, sensation of whirling," originally "a whirling or spinning movement," from vertere "to turn" (see versus).
vervain (n.) Look up vervain at
herbaceous plant much valued medicinally in Middle Ages, late 14c., from Old French verveine (13c.), from Latin verbena (see verbena).
verve (n.) Look up verve at
1690s, "special talent in writing, enthusiasm in what pertains to art and literature," from French verve "enthusiasm" (especially pertaining to the arts), in Old French "caprice, odd humor, proverb, saying; messenger's report" (12c.), probably from Gallo-Roman *verva, from Latin verba "(whimsical) words," plural of verbum "word" (see verb). Meaning "mental vigor" is first recorded 1803.
vervet (n.) Look up vervet at
South African monkey, 1884, from French (Cuvier), of unknown origin, perhaps short for vert grivet, literally "a green grivet," indicating it was greener than the kind of monkey known as a grivet (itself a name of unknown origin). "Vervets are among the monkeys carried about by organ-grinders" [Century Dictionary].
very (adj.) Look up very at
late 13c., verray "true, real, genuine," later "actual, sheer" (late 14c.), from Anglo-French verrai, Old French verai "true, truthful, sincere; right, just, legal," from Vulgar Latin *veracus, from Latin verax (genitive veracis) "truthful," from verus "true" (source also of Italian vero), from PIE root *were-o- "true, trustworthy" (source also of Old English wær "a compact," Old Dutch, Old High German war, Dutch waar, German wahr "true;" Welsh gwyr, Old Irish fir "true;" Old Church Slavonic vera "faith," Russian viera "faith, belief"). Meaning "greatly, extremely" is first recorded mid-15c. Used as a pure intensive since Middle English.
vesicant (n.) Look up vesicant at
"a blistering agent," 1660s, from Medieval Latin vesicantem (nominative vesicans), present participle of vesicare, from vesica "a bladder, a blister" (see ventral). From 1826 as an adjective.
vesicle (n.) Look up vesicle at
"small, bladder-like structure," early 15c., from Middle French vesicule, from Latin vesicula "little blister," diminutive of vesica "bladder, blister" (see ventral).
vesicular (adj.) Look up vesicular at
1715, from Modern Latin vesicularis, from vesicula "little blister," diminutive of vesica "bladder" (see ventral).
Vespa (n.) Look up Vespa at
1950, proprietary name of an Italian make of motor scooter, first produced 1946, from Italian, literally "wasp," from Latin vespa (see wasp). Rival brand was Lambretta.
vesper (n.) Look up vesper at
late 14c., "the evening star," from Old French vespre "evening, nightfall" (12c., Modern French vêpre), from Latin vesper (masc.), vespera (fem.) "evening star, evening, west," related to Greek hesperos, and ultimately from PIE root *wes-pero- "evening, night" (source also of Old Church Slavonic večeru, Polish wieczór, Russian vecherŭ, Lithuanian vakaras, Welsh ucher, Old Irish fescor "evening"), perhaps an enlarged form of root *we- "down" (source of Sanskrit avah "down, downward"), thus literally "direction in which the sun sets." Meaning "evening" is attested from c. 1600.

Vespers "sixth canonical hour" is attested from 1610s, from plural of Latin vespera "evening;" the native name was evensong (Old English æfen-sang).
vespertine (adj.) Look up vespertine at
c. 1500, "of the evening," from Latin vespertinus "of the evening," from vesper "evening" (see vesper).
vespiary (n.) Look up vespiary at
"wasp's nest," 1816, from Latin vespa "wasp" (see wasp) on model of apiary. A proper formation would be *vespary.
vessel (n.) Look up vessel at
c. 1300, "container," from Old French vessel "container, receptacle, barrel; ship" (12c., Modern French vaisseau) from Late Latin vascellum "small vase or urn," also "a ship," alteration of Latin vasculum, diminutive of vas "vessel." Sense of "ship, boat" is found in English from early 14c. "The association between hollow utensils and boats appears in all languages" [Weekley]. Meaning "canal or duct of the body" (especially for carrying blood) is attested from late 14c.
vest (v.) Look up vest at
early 15c., "to put in possession of a person," from Old French vestir "to clothe; get dressed," from Medieval Latin vestire "to put into possession, to invest," from Latin vestire "to clothe, dress, adorn," related to vestis "garment, clothing," from PIE *wes-ti-, suffixed form of root *wes- (4) "to clothe" (see wear (v.)). Related: Vested; vesting.
vest (n.) Look up vest at
1610s, "loose outer garment" (worn by men in Eastern countries or in ancient times), from French veste "a vest, jacket" (17c.), from Italian vesta, veste "robe, gown," from Latin vestis "clothing," from vestire "to clothe" (see vest (v.)). The sleeveless garment worn by men beneath the coat was introduced by Charles II in a bid to rein in men's attire at court, which had grown extravagant and decadent in the French mode.
The King hath yesterday, in Council, declared his resolution of setting a fashion for clothes .... It will be a vest, I know not well how; but it is to teach the nobility thrift. [Pepys, "Diary," Oct. 8, 1666]
Louis XIV of France is said to have mocked the effort by putting his footmen in such vests.
Vesta Look up Vesta at
Roman goddess of hearth and home, late 14c., corresponding to, and perhaps cognate with, Greek Hestia, from hestia "hearth," from PIE root *wes- (3) "to dwell, stay" (source also of Sanskrit vasati "stays, dwells," Gothic wisan, Old English, Old High German wesan "to be"). As the name of a planetoid from 1807 (Olbers).
vestal (adj.) Look up vestal at
"chaste, pure, virgin," 1590s, originally (early 15c.) "belonging to or dedicated to Vesta," Roman goddess of hearth and home, from Latin vestalis. The noun is recorded from 1570s, short for Vestal virgin, one of four (later six) priestesses (Latin virgines Vestales) in charge of the sacred fire in the temple of Vesta in Rome. From 1580s in reference to any virgin or chaste woman.
They entered the service of the goddess at from six to ten years of age, their term of service lasting thirty years. They were then permitted to retire and to marry, but few did so, for, as vestals, they were treated with great honor, and had important public privileges. Their persons were inviolable, any offense against them being punished with death, and they were treated in all their relations with the highest distinction and reverence. A vestal who broke her vow of chastity was immured alive in an underground vault amid public mourning. There were very few such instances; in one of them, under Domitian, the chief of the vestals was put to death under a false charge trumped up by the emperor. [Century Dictionary]
vested (adj.) Look up vested at
"established, secured, settled, not in a state of contingency," 1766, past participle adjective from vest (v.).
vestibular (adj.) Look up vestibular at
1819, in reference to the inner ear part, from vestibule + -ar.
vestibule (n.) Look up vestibule at
1620s, "a porch," later "antechamber, lobby" (1730), from French vestible, from Latin vestibulum "forecourt, entrance," of unknown origin. In reference to the ear part from 1728.
vestige (n.) Look up vestige at
c. 1600, from French vestige "a mark, trace, sign" (16c.), from Latin vestigium "footprint, trace," a word of unknown origin.
vestigial (adj.) Look up vestigial at
1850, "like a mere trace of what has been," originally in biology, from vestige + -al (1).
vestment (n.) Look up vestment at
c. 1300, from Old French vestment (12c., Modern French vêtement), from Latin vestimentum "clothing, clothes," from vestire "to clothe," from PIE *wes- (4) "to clothe" (see wear (v.)). Related: Vestments; vestmental.
vestry (n.) Look up vestry at
mid-15c., probably from Anglo-French *vesterie, from Old French vestiaire "room for vestments, dressing room" (12c.), from Latin vestarium "wardrobe," noun use of neuter of vestiarius (adj.) "of clothes," from vestis "garment" (see vest (v.)). Often also a meeting room for the transaction of parish business, and retained in non-liturgical churches as the name of a separate room used for Sunday school, prayer meetings, etc., hence transferred secular use (as in vestryman, 1610s).
vesture (n.) Look up vesture at
late 14c., "garments, clothes worn by a person at one time," from Anglo-French and Old French vesture, vesteure "dress, clothes, clothing," from Vulgar Latin *vestitura "vestments, clothing," from Latin vestivus, past participle of vestire "to clothe," from PIE *wes- (4) "to clothe" (see wear (v.)).
Vesuvius Look up Vesuvius at
volcano near Naples, of unknown origin; perhaps from Celtic root *ves- "mountain" or Oscan fesf "smoke, steam." Related: Vesuvian.
vet (n.1) Look up vet at
1862, shortened form of veterinarian.
vet (n.2) Look up vet at
1848, shortened form of veteran (n.).
vet (v.) Look up vet at
"to submit (an animal) to veterinary care," 1891, from veterinarian. The colloquial sense of "subject (something) to careful examination" (as of an animal by a veterinarian, especially of a horse before a race) is attested by 1901. Related: Vetted; vetting.
vetch (n.) Look up vetch at
climbing herb, late 14c., from Old North French veche, variant of Old French vece, from Latin vicia, which perhaps is related to vincire "to bind" (compare second element of periwinkle (n.1)). Dutch wikke, German Wicke are loan-words from Latin vicia.
veteran (n.) Look up veteran at
c. 1500, "old experienced soldier," from French vétéran, from Latin veteranus "old, aged, that has been long in use," especially of soldiers; as a plural noun, "old soldiers," from vetus (genitive veteris) "old, aged, advanced in years; of a former time," as a plural noun, vetores, "men of old, forefathers," from PIE *wet-es-, from root *wet- (2) "year" (source also of Sanskrit vatsa- "year," Greek etos "year," Hittite witish "year," Old Church Slavonic vetuchu "old," Old Lithuanian vetušas "old, aged;" and compare wether). Latin vetus also is the ultimate source of Italian vecchio, French vieux, Spanish viejo. General sense of "one who has seen long service in any office or position" is attested from 1590s. The adjective first recorded 1610s.
veterinarian (n.) Look up veterinarian at
animal doctor, 1640s, from Latin veterinarius "of or having to do with beasts of burden," also, as a noun, "cattle doctor," from veterinum "beast of burden," perhaps from vetus (genitive veteris) "old" (see veteran), possibly from the notion of "experienced," or of "one year old" (hence strong enough to draw burdens). Another theory connects it to Latin vehere "to draw," on notion of "used as a draft animal." Replaced native dog-leech (1520s).
veterinary (adj.) Look up veterinary at
1791, from Latin veterinarius "of or pertaining to beasts of burden," from veterinus (see veterinarian).
veto (n.) Look up veto at
1620s, from Latin veto, literally "I forbid," first person singular present indicative of vetare "forbid, prohibit, oppose, hinder," of unknown origin. In ancient Rome, the "technical term for protest interposed by a tribune of the people against any measure of the Senate or of the magistrates" [Lewis].
veto (v.) Look up veto at
1706, from veto (n.). Related: Vetoed; vetoing.
vetting (n.) Look up vetting at
1918, verbal noun from vet (v.).
vex (v.) Look up vex at
early 15c., from Old French vexer "vex, harass" (14c.), from Latin vexare "to shake, jolt, toss violently;" figuratively "attack, harass, trouble, annoy," from vexus, collateral form of vectus, past participle of vehere "to draw, carry" (see vehicle). Related: Vexed; vexing.
vexation (n.) Look up vexation at
c. 1400, from Old French vexacion "abuse, harassment; insult, affront," or directly from Latin vexationem (nominative vexatio) "annoyance, harassing; distress, trouble," noun of action from past participle stem of vexare "to harass, trouble" (see vex).
vexatious (adj.) Look up vexatious at
1530s; see vexation + -ous. Related: Vexatiously; vexatiousness.
vexed (adj.) Look up vexed at
mid-15c., past participle adjective from vex. Phrase vexed question attested from 1825 (in Latin form vexata quaestio from 1813).
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.