British Library Cataloguing Data
The concise Oxford dictionary of current English.--8th ed.
1. English language--Dictionaries
I. Allen, R. E. (Robert Edward), 1944-423
ISBN 0-19-861243-5 thumb index
ISBN 0-19-861200-1 plain
VA abbr. 1 US Veterans' Administration. 2 Vicar Apostolic. 3
Vice Admiral. 4 US Virginia (in official postal use). 5 (in
the UK) Order of Victoria and Albert.
Va. abbr. Virginia.
vac n. Brit. colloq. vacation (esp. of universities). [abbr.]
vacancy n. (pl. -ies) 1 the state of being vacant or empty. 2 an
unoccupied post or job (there are three vacancies for typists).
3 an available room in a hotel etc. 4 emptiness of mind;
vacant adj. 1 not filled or occupied; empty. 2 not mentally active;
showing no interest (had a vacant stare). Ьvacant possession
Brit. ownership of a house etc. with any previous occupant
having moved out. ЬЬvacantly adv. [ME f. OF vacant or L vacare
vacate v.tr. 1 leave vacant or cease to occupy (a house, room, etc.).
2 give up tenure of (a post etc.). 3 Law annul (a judgement or
contract etc.). ЬЬvacatable adj. [L vacare vacat- be empty]
vacation n. & v. --n. 1 a fixed period of cessation from work, esp. in
universities and lawcourts. 2 US a holiday. 3 the act of
vacating (a house or post etc.). --v.intr. US take a holiday.
Ьvacation land US an area providing attractions for
holidaymakers. ЬЬvacationer n. vacationist n. [ME f. OF
vacation or L vacatio (as VACATE)]
vaccinate v.tr. inoculate with a vaccine to procure immunity from a
disease; immunize. ЬЬvaccination n. vaccinator n.
vaccine n. & adj. --n. 1 an antigenic preparation used to stimulate
the production of antibodies and procure immunity from one or
several diseases. 2 hist. the cowpox virus used in vaccination
against smallpox. --adj. of or relating to cowpox or
vaccination. ЬЬvaccinal adj. [L vaccinus f. vacca cow]
vaccinia n. Med. a virus used as a vaccine against smallpox. [mod.L
vacillate v.intr. 1 fluctuate in opinion or resolution. 2 move from side
to side; oscillate, waver. ЬЬvacillation n. vacillator n. [L
vacillare vacillat- sway]
vacua pl. of VACUUM.
vacuole n. Biol. a tiny space within the cytoplasm of a cell
containing air, fluid, food particles, etc. ЬЬvacuolar adj.
vacuolation n. [F, dimin. of L vacuus empty]
vacuous adj. 1 lacking expression (a vacuous stare). 2 unintelligent
(a vacuous remark). 3 empty. ЬЬvacuity n. vacuously adv.
vacuousness n. [L vacuus empty (as VACATE)]
vacuum n. & v. --n. (pl. vacuums or vacua) 1 a space entirely devoid
of matter. 2 a space or vessel from which the air has been
completely or partly removed by a pump etc. 3 a the absence of
the normal or previous content of a place, environment, etc. b
the absence of former circumstances, activities, etc. 4 (pl.
vacuums) colloq. a vacuum cleaner. 5 a decrease of pressure
below the normal atmospheric value. --v. colloq. 1 tr. clean
with a vacuum cleaner. 2 intr. use a vacuum cleaner. Ьvacuum
brake a brake in which pressure is caused by the exhaustion of
air. vacuum-clean clean with a vacuum cleaner. vacuum cleaner
an apparatus for removing dust etc. by suction. vacuum flask
Brit. a vessel with a double wall enclosing a vacuum so that
the liquid in the inner receptacle retains its temperature.
vacuum gauge a gauge for testing the pressure after the
production of a vacuum. vacuum-packed sealed after the partial
removal of air. vacuum pump a pump for producing a vacuum.
vacuum tube a tube with a near-vacuum for the free passage of
electric current. [mod.L, neut. of L vacuus empty]
VAD abbr. 1 Voluntary Aid Detachment. 2 a member of this.
n. a handbook etc. carried constantly for use. [F f. mod.L, =
go with me]
vagabond n., adj., & v. --n. 1 a wanderer or vagrant, esp. an idle one.
2 colloq. a scamp or rascal. --adj. having no fixed habitation;
wandering. --v.intr. wander about as a vagabond. ЬЬvagabondage
n. [ME f. OF vagabond or L vagabundus f. vagari wander]
vagal see VAGUS.
vagary n. (pl. -ies) a caprice; an eccentric idea or act (the
vagaries of Fortune). ЬЬvagarious adj. [L vagari wander]
vagi pl. of VAGUS.
vagina n. (pl. vaginas or vaginae) 1 the canal between the uterus and
vulva of a woman or other female mammal. 2 a sheath formed
round a stem by the base of a leaf. ЬЬvaginal adj. vaginitis
n. [L, = sheath, scabbard]
n. a painful spasmodic contraction of the vagina, usu. in
response to pressure. [mod.L (as VAGINA)]
vagrant n. & adj. --n. 1 a person without a settled home or regular
work. 2 a wanderer or vagabond. --adj. 1 wandering or roving
(a vagrant musician). 2 being a vagrant. ЬЬvagrancy n.
vagrantly adv. [ME f. AF vag(a)raunt, perh. alt. f. AF wakerant
etc. by assoc. with L vagari wander]
vague adj. 1 of uncertain or ill-defined meaning or character (gave a
vague answer; has some vague idea of emigrating). 2 (of a
person or mind) imprecise; inexact in thought, expression, or
understanding. ЬЬvaguely adv. vagueness n. vaguish adj. [F
vague or L vagus wandering, uncertain]
vagus n. (pl. vagi) Anat. either of the tenth pair of cranial
nerves with branches to the heart, lungs, and viscera. ЬЬvagal
adj. [L: see VAGUE]
vail v. archaic 1 tr. lower or doff (one's plumes, pride, crown,
etc.) esp. in token of submission. 2 intr. yield; give place;
remove one's hat as a sign of respect etc. [ME f. obs. avale
f. OF avaler to lower f. a val down, f. val VALE(1)]
vain adj. 1 excessively proud or conceited, esp. about one's own
attributes. 2 empty, trivial, unsubstantial (vain boasts; vain
triumphs). 3 useless; followed by no good result (in the vain
hope of dissuading them). Ьin vain without result or success
(it was in vain that we protested). take a person's name in
vain use it lightly or profanely. ЬЬvainly adv. vainness n.
[ME f. OF f. L vanus empty, without substance]
vainglory n. literary boastfulness; extreme vanity. ЬЬvainglorious adj.
vaingloriously adv. vaingloriousness n. [ME, after OF vaine
gloire, L vana gloria]
vair n. 1 archaic or hist. a squirrel-fur widely used for medieval
linings and trimmings. 2 Heraldry fur represented by small
shield-shaped or bell-shaped figures usu. alternately azure and
argent. [ME f. OF f. L (as VARIOUS)]
Vaishnava n. Hinduism a devotee of Vishnu. [Skr. vaisnav ]
Vaisya n. 1 the third of the four great Hindu castes, comprising the
merchants and agriculturalists. 2 a member of this caste.
[Skr. vaisya peasant, labourer]
valance n. (also valence) a short curtain round the frame or canopy of
a bedstead, above a window, or under a shelf. ЬЬvalanced adj.
[ME ult. f. OF avaler descend: see VAIL]
vale(1) n. archaic or poet. (except in place-names) a valley (Vale of
the White Horse). Ьvale of tears literary the world as a scene
of life, trouble, etc. [ME f. OF val f. L vallis, valles]
vale(2) int. & n. --int. farewell. --n. a farewell. [L, imper. of
valere be well or strong]
n. 1 the act or an instance of bidding farewell. 2 the words
used in this. [L valedicere valedict- (as VALE(2), dicere say),
n. US a person who gives a valedictory, esp. the
highest-ranking member of a graduating class.
adj. & n. --adj. serving as a farewell. --n. (pl. -ies) a
n. Chem. esp. US = VALENCY. Ьvalence electron an electron in
the outermost shell of an atom involved in forming a chemical
var. of VALANCE.
n. a rich kind of lace. [Valenciennes in NE France, where it
was made in the 17th and 18th c.]
valency n. (pl. -ies) Brit. Chem. the combining power of an atom
measured by the number of hydrogen atoms it can displace or
combine with. [LL valentia power, competence f. valere be well
valentine n. 1 a card or gift sent, often anonymously, as a mark of love
or affection on St Valentine's Day (14 Feb.). 2 a sweetheart
chosen on this day. [ME f. OF Valentin f. L Valentinus, name of
valerian n. 1 any of various flowering plants of the family
Valerianaceae. 2 the root of any of these used as a medicinal
sedative. Ьcommon valerian 1 a valerian, Valeriana officinalis,
with pink or white flowers and a strong smell liked by cats:
also called SETWALL. 2 the root of this used as a medicinal
sedative. [ME f. OF valeriane f. med.L valeriana (herba), app.
fem. of Valerianus of Valerius]
n. Chem. = PENTANOIC ACID. [VALERIAN + -IC]
valet n. & v. --n. 1 a gentleman's personal attendant who looks
after his clothes etc. 2 a hotel etc. employee with similar
duties. --v. (valeted, valeting) 1 intr. work as a valet. 2
tr. act as a valet to. 3 tr. clean or clean out (a car). [F, =
OF valet, vaslet, VARLET: rel. to VASSAL]
valeta var. of VELETA.
n. & adj. --n. a person of poor health or unduly anxious about
health. --adj. 1 of or being a valetudinarian. 2 of poor
health. 3 seeking to recover one's health. ЬЬvaletudinarianism
n. [L valetudinarius in ill health f. valetudo -dinis health
f. valere be well]
adj. & n. (pl. -ies) = VALETUDINARIAN.
valgus n. a deformity involving the outward displacement of the foot
or hand from the midline. [L, = knock-kneed]
Valhalla n. 1 (in Norse mythology) a palace in which the souls of slain
heroes feasted for eternity. 2 a building used for honouring
the illustrious. [mod.L f. ON Valh”ll f. valr the slain + h”ll
valiant adj. (of a person or conduct) brave, courageous. ЬЬvaliantly
adv. [ME f. AF valiaunt, OF vailant ult. f. L valere be strong]
valid adj. 1 (of a reason, objection, etc.) sound or defensible;
well-grounded. 2 a executed with the proper formalities (a
valid contract). b legally acceptable (a valid passport). c
not having reached its expiry date. ЬЬvalidity n. validly adv.
[F valide or L validus strong (as VALIANT)]
validate v.tr. make valid; ratify, confirm. ЬЬvalidation n. [med.L
validare f. L (as VALID)]
valine n. Biochem. an amino acid that is an essential nutrient for
vertebrates and a general constituent of proteins. [VALERIC
(ACID) + -INE(4)]
valise n. 1 a kitbag. 2 US a small portmanteau. [F f. It. valigia
corresp. to med.L valisia, of unkn. orig.]
Valium n. propr. the drug diazepam used as a tranquillizer and
relaxant. [20th c.: orig. uncert.]
Valkyrie n. (in Norse mythology) each of Odin's twelve handmaidens who
selected heroes destined to be slain in battle. [ON Valkyrja,
lit. 'chooser of the slain' f. valr the slain + (unrecorded)
kur-, kuz- rel. to CHOOSE]
vallecula n. (pl. valleculae) Anat. & Bot. a groove or furrow.
ЬЬvallecular adj. valleculate adj. [LL, dimin. of L vallis
valley n. (pl. -eys) 1 a low area more or less enclosed by hills and
usu. with a stream flowing through it. 2 any depression
compared to this. 3 Archit. an internal angle formed by the
intersecting planes of a roof. [ME f. AF valey, OF valee ult.
f. L vallis, valles: cf. VALE(1)]
vallum n. Rom. Antiq. a rampart and stockade as a defence. [L,
collect. f. vallus stake]
valonia n. acorn-cups of an evergreen oak, Quercus macrolepsis, used in
tanning, dyeing, and making ink. [It. vallonia ult. f. Gk
valor US var. of VALOUR.
valorize v.tr. (also -ise) raise or fix the price of (a commodity etc.)
by artificial means, esp. by government action. ЬЬvalorization
n. [back-form. f. valorization f. F valorisation (as VALOUR)]
valour n. (US valor) personal courage, esp. in battle. ЬЬvalorous
adj. [ME f. OF f. LL valor -oris f. valere be strong]
valse n. a waltz. [F f. G (as WALTZ)]
valuable adj. & n. --adj. of great value, price, or worth (a valuable
property; valuable information). --n. (usu. in pl.) a valuable
thing, esp. a small article of personal property. ЬЬvaluably
valuation n. 1 a an estimation (esp. by a professional valuer) of a
thing's worth. b the worth estimated. 2 the price set on a
thing. ЬЬvaluate v.tr. esp. US.
valuator n. a person who makes valuations; a valuer.
value n. & v. --n. 1 the worth, desirability, or utility of a thing,
or the qualities on which these depend (the value of regular
exercise). 2 worth as estimated; valuation (set a high value on
my time). 3 the amount of money or goods for which a thing can
be exchanged in the open market; purchasing power. 4 the
equivalent of a thing; what represents or is represented by or
may be substituted for a thing (paid them the value of their
lost property). 5 (in full value for money) something well
worth the money spent. 6 the ability of a thing to serve a
purpose or cause an effect (news value; nuisance value). 7 (in
pl.) one's principles or standards; one's judgement of what is
valuable or important in life. 8 Mus. the duration of the sound
signified by a note. 9 Math. the amount denoted by an algebraic
term or expression. 10 (foll. by of) a the meaning (of a word
etc.). b the quality (of a spoken sound). 11 the relative rank
or importance of a playing-card, chess-piece, etc., according to
the rules of the game. 12 the relation of one part of a picture
to others in respect of light and shade; the part being
characterized by a particular tone. 13 Physics & Chem. the
numerical measure of a quantity or a number denoting magnitude
on some conventional scale (the value of gravity at the
equator). --v.tr. (values, valued, valuing) 1 estimate the
value of; appraise (esp. professionally) (valued the property at
њ200,000). 2 have a high or specified opinion of; attach
importance to (a valued friend). Ьvalue added tax a tax on the
amount by which the value of an article has been increased at
each stage of its production. value judgement a subjective
estimate of quality etc. value received money or its equivalent
given for a bill of exchange. [ME f. OF, fem. past part. of
valoir be worth f. L valere]
valueless adj. having no value. ЬЬvaluelessness n.
valuer n. a person who estimates or assesses values, esp.
valuta n. 1 the value of one currency with respect to another. 2 a
currency considered in this way. [It., = VALUE]
valve n. 1 a device for controlling the passage of fluid through a
pipe etc., esp. an automatic device allowing movement in one
direction only. 2 Anat. & Zool. a membranous part of an organ
etc. allowing a flow of blood etc. in one direction only. 3
Brit. = thermionic valve. 4 a device to vary the effective
length of the tube in a brass musical instrument. 5 each of the
two shells of an oyster, mussel, etc. 6 Bot. each of the
segments into which a capsule or dry fruit dehisces. 7 archaic
a leaf of a folding door. ЬЬvalvate adj. valved adj. (also in
comb.). valveless adj. valvule n. [ME f. L valva leaf of a
valvular adj. 1 having a valve or valves. 2 having the form or function
of a valve. [mod.L valvula, dimin. of L valva]
n. inflammation of the valves of the heart.
vambrace n. hist. defensive armour for the forearm. [ME f. AF
vaunt-bras, OF avant-bras f. avant before (see AVAUNT) + bras
vamoose v.intr. US (esp. as int.) sl. depart hurriedly. [Sp. vamos
let us go]
vamp(1) n. & v. --n. 1 the upper front part of a boot or shoe. 2 a
patched-up article. 3 an improvised musical accompaniment.
--v. 1 tr. (often foll. by up) repair or furbish. 2 tr. (foll.
by up) make by patching or from odds and ends. 3 a tr. & intr.
improvise a musical accompaniment (to). b tr. improvise (a
musical accompaniment). 4 tr. put a new vamp to (a boot or
shoe). [ME f. OF avantpi‚ f. avant before (see AVAUNT) + pied
vamp(2) n. & v. colloq. --n. 1 an unscrupulous flirt. 2 a woman who
uses sexual attraction to exploit men. --v. 1 tr. allure or
exploit (a man). 2 intr. act as a vamp. [abbr. of VAMPIRE]
vampire n. 1 a ghost or reanimated corpse supposed to leave its grave
at night to suck the blood of persons sleeping. 2 a person who
preys ruthlessly on others. 3 (in full vampire bat) any
tropical (esp. South American) bat of the family Desmodontidae,
with incisors for piercing flesh and feeding on blood. 4
Theatr. a small spring trapdoor used for sudden disappearances.
ЬЬvampiric adj. [F vampire or G Vampir f. Magyar vampir perh.
f. Turk. uber witch]
vampirism n. 1 belief in the existence of vampires. 2 the practices of a
vamplate n. hist. an iron plate on a lance protecting the hand when the
lance was couched. [ME f. AF vauntplate (as VAMBRACE, PLATE)]
van(1) n. 1 a covered vehicle for conveying goods etc. 2 Brit. a
railway carriage for luggage or for the use of the guard. 3
Brit. a gypsy caravan. [abbr. of CARAVAN]
van(2) n. 1 a vanguard. 2 the forefront (in the van of progress).
[abbr. of VANGUARD]
van(3) n. 1 the testing of ore quality by washing on a shovel or by
machine. 2 archaic a winnowing fan. 3 archaic or poet. a wing.
[ME, southern & western var. of FAN(1), perh. partly f. OF van
or L vannus]
van(4) n. Brit. Tennis colloq. = ADVANTAGE. [abbr.]
vanadium n. Chem. a hard grey metallic transition element occurring
naturally in several ores and used in small quantities for
strengthening some steels. °Symb.: V. ЬЬvanadate n. vanadic
adj. vanadous adj. [mod.L f. ON VanadЎs name of the Scand.
goddess Freyja + -IUM]
Van Allen belt
n. (also Van Allen layer) each of two regions of intense
radiation partly surrounding the earth at heights of several
thousand kilometres. [J. A. Van Allen, US physicist b. 1914]
V. & A. abbr. Victoria & Albert Museum (in London).
vandal n. & adj. --n. 1 a person who wilfully or maliciously destroys
or damages property. 2 (Vandal) a member of a Germanic people
that ravaged Gaul, Spain, N. Africa, and Rome in the 4th-5th
c., destroying many books and works of art. --adj. of or
relating to the Vandals. ЬЬVandalic adj. (in sense 2 of n.).
[L Vandalus f. Gmc]
vandalism n. wilful or malicious destruction or damage to works of art or
other property. ЬЬvandalistic adj. vandalistically adv.
vandalize v.tr. (also -ise) destroy or damage wilfully or maliciously.
van de Graaff generator
n. Electr. a machine devised to generate electrostatic charge
by means of a vertical endless belt collecting charge from a
voltage source and transferring it to a large insulated metal
dome, where a high voltage is produced. [R. J. van de Graaff,
US physicist d. 1967]
van der Waals forces
n.pl. Chem. short-range attractive forces between uncharged
molecules arising from the interaction of dipole moments. [J.
van der Waals, Dutch physicist d. 1923]
vandyke n. & adj. --n. 1 each of a series of large points forming a
border to lace or cloth etc. 2 a cape or collar etc. with
these. --adj. (Vandyke) in the style of dress, esp. with
pointed borders, common in portraits by Van Dyck. ЬVandyke
beard a neat pointed beard. Vandyke brown a deep rich brown.
[Sir A. Van Dyck, Anglicized Vandyke, Flem. painter d. 1641]
vane n. 1 (in full weather-vane) a revolving pointer mounted on a
church spire or other high place to show the direction of the
wind (cf. WEATHERCOCK). 2 a blade of a screw propeller or a
windmill etc. 3 the sight of surveying instruments, a quadrant,
etc. 4 the flat part of a bird's feather formed by the barbs.
ЬЬvaned adj. vaneless adj. [ME, southern & western var. of
obs. fane f. OE fana banner f. Gmc]
vanessa n. any butterfly of the genus Vanessa, including the red
admiral and the painted lady. [mod.L]
vang n. Naut. each of two guy-ropes running from the end of a gaff
to the deck. [earlier fang = gripping-device: OE f. ON fang
grasp f. Gmc]
vanguard n. 1 the foremost part of an army or fleet advancing or ready
to advance. 2 the leaders of a movement or of opinion etc.
[earlier vandgard, (a)vantgard, f. OF avan(t)garde f. avant
before (see AVAUNT) + garde GUARD]
vanilla n. 1 a any tropical climbing orchid of the genus Vanilla, esp.
V. planifolia, with fragrant flowers. b (in full vanilla-pod)
the fruit of these. 2 a substance obtained from the vanilla-pod
or synthesized and used to flavour ice-cream, chocolate, etc.
[Sp. vainilla pod, dimin. of vaina sheath, pod, f. L VAGINA]
vanillin n. the fragrant principle of vanilla.
vanish v. 1 intr. a disappear suddenly. b disappear gradually; fade
away. 2 intr. cease to exist. 3 intr. Math. become zero. 4
tr. cause to disappear. Ьvanishing cream an ointment that
leaves no visible trace when rubbed into the skin.
vanishing-point 1 the point at which receding parallel lines
viewed in perspective appear to meet. 2 the state of complete
disappearance of something. [ME f. OF e(s)vaniss- stem of
e(s)vanir ult. f. L evanescere (as EX-(1), vanus empty)]
Vanitory n. (pl. -ies) propr. = vanity unit.
vanity n. (pl. -ies) 1 conceit and desire for admiration of one's
personal attainments or attractions. 2 a futility or
unsubstantiality (the vanity of human achievement). b an unreal
thing. 3 ostentatious display. 4 US a dressing-table. Ьvanity
bag (or case) a bag or case carried by a woman and containing a
small mirror, make-up, etc. Vanity Fair the world (allegorized
in Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress) as a scene of vanity. vanity
unit a unit consisting of a wash-basin set into a flat top with
cupboards beneath. [ME f. OF vanit‚ f. L vanitas -tatis (as
vanquish v.tr. literary conquer or overcome. ЬЬvanquishable adj.
vanquisher n. [ME venkus, -quis, etc., f. OF vencus past part.
and venquis past tenses of veintre f. L vincere: assim. to
vantage n. 1 (also vantage point or ground) a place affording a good
view or prospect. 2 Tennis = ADVANTAGE. 3 archaic an advantage
or gain. [ME f. AF f. OF avantage ADVANTAGE]
vapid adj. insipid; lacking interest; flat, dull (vapid moralizing).
ЬЬvapidity n. vapidly adv. vapidness n. [L vapidus]
vapor US var. of VAPOUR.
vaporific adj. concerned with or causing vapour or vaporization.
n. an instrument for measuring the amount of vapour.
vaporize v.tr. & intr. (also -ise) convert or be converted into vapour.
ЬЬvaporizable adj. (also vaporable). vaporization n.
vaporizer n. a device that vaporizes substances, esp. for medicinal
vapour n. & v. (US vapor) --n. 1 moisture or another substance
diffused or suspended in air, e.g. mist or smoke. 2 Physics a
gaseous form of a normally liquid or solid substance (cf. GAS).
3 a medicinal agent for inhaling. 4 (in pl.) archaic a state of
depression or melancholy thought to be caused by exhalations of
vapour from the stomach. --v.intr. 1 rise as vapour. 2 make
idle boasts or empty talk. Ьvapour density the density of a gas
or vapour relative to hydrogen etc. vapour pressure the
pressure of a vapour in contact with its liquid or solid form.
vapour trail a trail of condensed water from an aircraft or
rocket at high altitude, seen as a white streak against the sky.
ЬЬvaporous adj. vaporously adv. vaporousness n. vapourer n.
vapouring n. vapourish adj. vapoury adj. [ME f. OF vapour or
L vapor steam, heat]
var. abbr. 1 variant. 2 variety.
varactor n. a semiconductor diode with a capacitance dependent on the
applied voltage. [varying re actor]
varec n. 1 seaweed. 2 = KELP. [F varec(h) f. ON: rel. to WRECK]
variable adj. & n. --adj. 1 a that can be varied or adapted (a rod of
variable length; the pressure is variable). b (of a gear)
designed to give varying speeds. 2 apt to vary; not constant;
unsteady (a variable mood; variable fortunes). 3 Math. (of a
quantity) indeterminate; able to assume different numerical
values. 4 (of wind or currents) tending to change direction. 5
Astron. (of a star) periodically varying in brightness. 6 Bot.
& Zool. (of a species) including individuals or groups that
depart from the type. 7 Biol. (of an organism or part of it)
tending to change in structure or function. --n. 1 a variable
thing or quantity. 2 Math. a variable quantity. 3 Naut. a a
shifting wind. b (in pl.) the region between the NE and SE
trade winds. ЬЬvariability n. variableness n. variably adv.
[ME f. OF f. L variabilis (as VARY)]
variance n. 1 difference of opinion; dispute, disagreement; lack of
harmony (at variance among ourselves; a theory at variance with
all known facts). 2 Law a discrepancy between statements or
documents. 3 Statistics a quantity equal to the square of the
standard deviation. [ME f. OF f. L variantia difference (as
variant adj. & n. --adj. 1 differing in form or details from the main
one (a variant spelling). 2 having different forms (forty
variant types of pigeon). 3 variable or changing. --n. a
variant form, spelling, type, reading, etc. [ME f. OF (as
variate n. Statistics 1 a quantity having a numerical value for each
member of a group. 2 a variable quantity, esp. one whose values
occur according to a frequency distribution. [past part. of L
variare (as VARY)]
variation n. 1 the act or an instance of varying. 2 departure from a
former or normal condition, action, or amount, or from a
standard or type (prices are subject to variation). 3 the
extent of this. 4 a thing that varies from a type. 5 Mus. a
repetition (usu. one of several) of a theme in a changed or
elaborated form. 6 Astron. a deviation of a heavenly body from
its mean orbit or motion. 7 Math. a change in a function etc.
due to small changes in the values of constants etc. 8 Ballet a
solo dance. ЬЬvariational adj. [ME f. OF variation or L
variatio (as VARY)]
varicella n. Med. = CHICKENPOX. [mod.L, irreg. dimin. of VARIOLA]
varices pl. of VARIX.
n. a mass of varicose veins in the spermatic cord. [formed as
VARIX + -CELE]
adj. (US varicolored) 1 variegated in colour. 2 of various or
different colours. [L varius VARIOUS + COLOURED]
varicose adj. (esp. of the veins of the legs) affected by a condition
causing them to become dilated and swollen. ЬЬvaricosity n. [L
varicosus f. VARIX]
variegate v.tr. 1 mark with irregular patches of different colours. 2
diversify in appearance, esp. in colour. 3 (as variegated adj.)
Bot. (of plants) having leaves containing two or more colours.
ЬЬvariegation n. [L variegare variegat- f. varius various]
varietal adj. 1 esp. Bot. & Zool. of, forming, or designating a variety.
2 (of wine) made from a single designated variety of grape.
varietist n. a person whose habits etc. differ from what is normal.
variety n. (pl. -ies) 1 diversity; absence of uniformity;
many-sidedness; the condition of being various (not enough
variety in our lives). 2 a quantity or collection of different
things (for a variety of reasons). 3 a a class of things
different in some common qualities from the rest of a larger
class to which they belong. b a specimen or member of such a
class. 4 (foll. by of) a different form of a thing, quality,
etc. 5 Biol. a a subspecies. b a cultivar. c an individual
or group usually fertile within the species to which it belongs
but differing from the species type in some qualities capable of
perpetuation. 6 a mixed sequence of dances, songs, comedy acts,
etc. (usu. attrib.: a variety show). Ьvariety store US a shop
selling many kinds of small items. [F vari‚t‚ or L varietas (as
varifocal adj. & n. --adj. having a focal length that can be varied, esp.
of a lens that allows an infinite number of focusing distances
for near, intermediate, and far vision. --n. (in pl.) varifocal
variform adj. having various forms. [L varius + -FORM]
variole n. 1 a shallow pit like a smallpox mark. 2 a small spherical
mass in variolite. [med.L variola: see VARIOLA]
variolite n. a rock with embedded small spherical masses causing on its
surface an appearance like smallpox pustules. ЬЬvariolitic adj.
[as VARIOLE + -ITE(1)]
n. 1 a device for varying the inductance in an electric
circuit. 2 a device for indicating an aircraft's rate of change
of altitude. [as VARIOUS + -METER]
variorum adj. & n. --adj. 1 (of an edition of a text) having notes by
various editors or commentators. 2 (of an edition of an
author's works) including variant readings. --n. a variorum
edition. [L f. editio cum notis variorum edition with notes by
various (commentators): genit. pl. of varius VARIOUS]
various adj. 1 different, diverse (too various to form a group). 2
more than one, several (for various reasons). ЬЬvariously adv.
variousness n. [L varius changing, diverse]
varistor n. a semiconductor diode with resistance dependent on the
applied voltage. [varying res istor]
varix n. (pl. varices) 1 Med. a a permanent abnormal dilation of a
vein or artery. b a vein etc. dilated in this way. 2 each of
the ridges across the whorls of a univalve shell. [ME f. L
varlet n. archaic or joc. 1 a menial or rascal. 2 hist. a knight's
attendant. ЬЬvarletry n. [ME f. OF, var. of vaslet: see VALET]
varmint n. US or dial. a mischievous or discreditable person or
animal, esp. a fox. [var. of varmin, VERMIN]
varna n. each of the four Hindu castes. [Skr., = colour, class]
varnish n. & v. --n. 1 a resinous solution used to give a hard shiny
transparent coating to wood, metal, paintings, etc. 2 any other
preparation for a similar purpose (nail varnish). 3 external
appearance or display without an underlying reality. 4
artificial or natural glossiness. 5 a superficial polish of
manner. --v.tr. 1 apply varnish to. 2 gloss over (a fact).
ЬЬvarnisher n. [ME f. OF vernis f. med.L veronix fragrant
resin, sandarac or med.Gk berenike prob. f. Berenice in
varsity n. (pl. -ies) 1 Brit. colloq. (esp. with ref. to sports)
university. 2 US a university etc. first team in a sport.
varus n. a deformity involving the inward displacement of the foot or
hand from the midline. [L, = bent, crooked]
varve n. annually deposited layers of clay and silt in a lake used to
determine the chronology of glacial sediments. ЬЬvarved adj.
[Sw. varv layer]
vary v. (-ies, -ied) 1 tr. make different; modify, diversify (seldom
varies the routine; the style is not sufficiently varied). 2
intr. a undergo change; become or be different (the temperature
varies from 30ш to 70ш). b be of different kinds (his mood
varies). 3 intr. (foll. by as) be in proportion to.
ЬЬvaryingly adv. [ME f. OF varier or L variare (as VARIOUS)]
vas n. (pl. vasa) Anat. a vessel or duct. Ьvas deferens (pl.
vasa deferentia) Anat. the spermatic duct from the testicle to
the urethra. ЬЬvasal adj. [L, = vessel]
vascular adj. of, made up of, or containing vessels for conveying blood
or sap etc. (vascular functions; vascular tissue). Ьvascular
plant a plant with conducting tissue. ЬЬvascularity n.
vascularize v.tr. (also -ise). vascularly adv. [mod.L
vascularis f. L VASCULUM]
vasculum n. (pl. vascula) a botanist's (usu. metal) collecting-case
with a lengthwise opening. [L, dimin. of VAS]
vase n. a vessel, usu. tall and circular, used as an ornament or
container, esp. for flowers. ЬЬvaseful n. (pl. -fuls). [F f.
vasectomy n. (pl. -ies) the surgical removal of part of each vas
deferens esp. as a means of sterilization. ЬЬvasectomize v.tr.
Vaseline n. & v. --n. propr. a type of petroleum jelly used as an
ointment, lubricant, etc. --v.tr. (vaseline) treat with
Vaseline. [irreg. f. G Wasser + Gk elaion oil]
vasiform adj. 1 duct-shaped. 2 vase-shaped. [L vasi- f. VAS + -FORM]
vaso- comb. form a vessel, esp. a blood-vessel (vasoconstrictive). [L
vas: see VAS]
adj. = VASOMOTOR.
adj. causing constriction of blood-vessels.
adj. causing dilatation of blood-vessels. ЬЬvasodilation n.
vasomotor adj. causing constriction or dilatation of blood-vessels.
n. a pituitary hormone acting to reduce diuresis and increase
blood pressure. Also called ANTIDIURETIC HORMONE.
vassal n. 1 hist. a holder of land by feudal tenure on conditions of
homage and allegiance. 2 rhet. a humble dependant. ЬЬvassalage
n. [ME f. OF f. med.L vassallus retainer, of Celt. orig.: the
root vassus corresp. to OBret. uuas, Welsh gwas, Ir. foss: cf.
vast adj. & n. --adj. 1 immense, huge; very great (a vast expanse
of water; a vast crowd). 2 colloq. great, considerable (makes a
vast difference). --n. poet. or rhet. a vast space (the vast
of heaven). ЬЬvastly adv. vastness n. [L vastus void,
VAT abbr. (in the UK) value added tax.
vat n. & v. --n. 1 a large tank or other vessel, esp. for holding
liquids or something in liquid in the process of brewing,
tanning, dyeing, etc. 2 a dyeing liquor in which a textile is
soaked to take up a colourless soluble dye afterwards coloured
by oxidation in air. --v.tr. (vatted, vatting) place or treat
in a vat. ЬЬvatful n. (pl. -fuls). [ME, southern & western
var. of fat, OE f‘t f. Gmc]
vatic adj. formal prophetic or inspired. [L vates prophet]
Vatican n. 1 the palace and official residence of the Pope in Rome. 2
papal government. ЬVatican City an independent Papal State in
Rome, instituted in 1929. Vatican Council an ecumenical council
of the Roman Catholic Church, esp. that held in 1869-70 or that
held in 1962-5. ЬЬVaticanism n. Vaticanist n. [F Vatican or L
Vaticanus name of a hill in Rome]
v.tr. & intr. formal prophesy. ЬЬvaticinal adj. vaticination
n. vaticinator n. [L vaticinari f. vates prophet]
VATman n. (pl. -men) colloq. a customs and excise officer who
n. 1 esp. US variety entertainment. 2 a stage play on a
trivial theme with interspersed songs. 3 a satirical or topical
song with a refrain. ЬЬvaudevillian adj. & n. [F, orig. of
convivial song esp. any of those composed by O. Basselin,
15th-c. poet born at Vau de Vire in Normandy]
n. & adj. --n. (pl. same) 1 a native of Vaud in W.
Switzerland. 2 the French dialect spoken in Vaud. --adj. of or
relating to Vaud or its dialect. [F]
n. & adj. --n. (pl. same) a member of the Waldenses. --adj.
of or relating to the Waldenses. [F, repr. med.L Valdensis: see
vault n. & v. --n. 1 a an arched roof. b a continuous arch. c a
set or series of arches whose joints radiate from a central
point or line. 2 a vaultlike covering (the vault of heaven). 3
an underground chamber: a as a place of storage (bank vaults).
b as a place of interment beneath a church or in a cemetery etc.
(family vault). 4 an act of vaulting. 5 Anat. the arched roof
of a cavity. --v. 1 intr. leap or spring, esp. while resting
on one or both hands or with the help of a pole. 2 tr. spring
over (a gate etc.) in this way. 3 tr. (esp. as vaulted) a make
in the form of a vault. b provide with a vault or vaults.
ЬЬvaulter n. [OF voute, vaute, ult. f. L volvere roll]
vaulting n. 1 arched work in a vaulted roof or ceiling. 2 a gymnastic
or athletic exercise in which participants vault over obstacles.
Ьvaulting-horse a wooden block to be vaulted over by gymnasts.
vaunt v. & n. literary --v. 1 intr. boast, brag. 2 tr. boast of;
extol boastfully. --n. a boast. ЬЬvaunter n. vauntingly adv.
[ME f. AF vaunter, OF vanter f. LL vantare f. L vanus VAIN:
partly obs. avaunt (v.) f. avanter f. a- intensive + vanter]
vavasory n. (pl. -ies) hist. the estate of a vavasour. [OF vavasorie
or med.L vavasoria (as VAVASOUR)]
vavasour n. hist. a vassal owing allegiance to a great lord and having
other vassals under him. [ME f. OF vavas(s)our f. med.L
vavassor, perh. f. vassus vassorum VASSAL of vassals]
VE abbr. Victory in Europe (in 1945). ЬVE day 8 May, the day
've abbr. (chiefly after pronouns) = HAVE (I've; they've).
veal n. calf's flesh as food. ЬЬvealy adj. [ME f. AF ve(e)l, OF
veiaus veel f. L vitellus dimin. of vitulus calf]
vector n. & v. --n. 1 Math. & Physics a quantity having direction as
well as magnitude, esp. as determining the position of one point
in space relative to another (radius vector). 2 a carrier of
disease. 3 a course to be taken by an aircraft. --v.tr. direct
(an aircraft in flight) to a desired point. ЬЬvectorial adj.
vectorize v.tr. (also -ise) (in sense 1 of n.). vectorization
n. [L, = carrier, f. vehere vect- convey]
Veda n. (in sing. or pl.) the most ancient Hindu scriptures, esp.
four collections called Rig-Veda, Sama-Veda, Yajur-Veda, and
Atharva-Veda. [Skr. veda, lit. (sacred) knowledge]
Vedanta n. 1 the Upanishads. 2 the Hindu philosophy based on these,
esp. in its monistic form. ЬЬVedantic adj. Vedantist n. [Skr.
vedanta (as VEDA, anta end)]
Vedda n. a Sri Lankan aboriginal. [Sinh. vedda hunter]
vedette n. a mounted sentry positioned beyond an army's outposts to
observe the movements of the enemy. [F, = scout, f. It.
vedetta, veletta f. Sp. vela(r) watch f. L vigilare]
Vedic adj. & n. --adj. of or relating to the Veda or Vedas. --n. the
language of the Vedas, an older form of Sanskrit. [F V‚dique or
G Vedisch (as VEDA)]
vee n. 1 the letter V. 2 a thing shaped like a V. [name of the
veer(1) v. & n. --v.intr. 1 change direction, esp. (of the wind)
clockwise (cf. BACK v. 5). 2 change in course, opinion,
conduct, emotions, etc. 3 Naut. = WEAR(2). --n. a change of
course or direction. [F virer f. Rmc, perh. alt. f. L gyrare
veer(2) v.tr. Naut. slacken or let out (a rope, cable, etc.). [ME f.
veg n. colloq. a vegetable or vegetables. [abbr.]
Vega n. Astron. a brilliant blue star in the constellation of the
Lyre. [Sp. or med.L Vega f. Arab., = the falling vulture]
vegan n. & adj. --n. a person who does not eat or use animal
products. --adj. using or containing no animal products.
[contr. of VEGETARIAN]
vegetable n. & adj. --n. 1 Bot. any of various plants, esp. a herbaceous
plant used wholly or partly for food, e.g. a cabbage, potato,
turnip, or bean. 2 colloq. a a person who is incapable of
normal intellectual activity, esp. through brain injury etc. b
a person lacking in animation or living a monotonous life.
--adj. 1 of, derived from, relating to, or comprising plants or
plant life, esp. as distinct from animal life or mineral
substances. 2 of or relating to vegetables as food. 3 a
unresponsive to stimulus (vegetable behaviour). b uneventful,
monotonous (a vegetable existence). Ьvegetable butter a
vegetable fat with the consistency of butter. vegetable ivory
see IVORY. vegetable marrow see MARROW 1. vegetable oyster =
SALSIFY. vegetable parchment see PARCHMENT 2. vegetable
spaghetti 1 a variety of marrow with flesh resembling spaghetti.
2 its flesh. vegetable sponge = LOOFAH. vegetable tallow see
TALLOW. vegetable wax an exudation of certain plants such as
sumac. [ME f. OF vegetable or LL vegetabilis animating (as
vegetal adj. 1 of or having the nature of plants (vegetal growth). 2
vegetative. [med.L vegetalis f. L vegetare animate]
n. & adj. --n. a person who abstains from animal food, esp.
that from slaughtered animals, though often not eggs and dairy
products. --adj. excluding animal food, esp. meat (a vegetarian
diet). ЬЬvegetarianism n. [irreg. f. VEGETABLE + -ARIAN]
vegetate v.intr. 1 live an uneventful or monotonous life. 2 grow as
plants do; fulfil vegetal functions. [L vegetare animate f.
vegetus f. vegere be active]
n. 1 plants collectively; plant life (luxuriant vegetation; no
sign of vegetation). 2 the process of vegetating.
ЬЬvegetational adj. [med.L vegetatio growth (as VEGETATE)]
adj. 1 concerned with growth and development as distinct from
sexual reproduction. 2 of or relating to vegetation or plant
life. ЬЬvegetatively adv. vegetativeness n. [ME f. OF
vegetatif -ive or med.L vegetativus (as VEGETATE)]
vegie n. (also veggie) colloq. a vegetarian. [abbr.]
vehement adj. showing or caused by strong feeling; forceful, ardent (a
vehement protest; vehement desire). ЬЬvehemence n. vehemently
adv. [ME f. F v‚h‚ment or L vehemens -entis, perh. f. vemens
(unrecorded) deprived of mind, assoc. with vehere carry]
vehicle n. 1 any conveyance for transporting people, goods, etc., esp.
on land. 2 a medium for thought, feeling, or action (the stage
is the best vehicle for their talents). 3 a liquid etc. as a
medium for suspending pigments, drugs, etc. 4 the literal
meaning of a word or words used metaphorically (opp. TENOR 6).
ЬЬvehicular adj. [F v‚hicule or L vehiculum f. vehere carry]
veil n. & v. --n. 1 a piece of usu. more or less transparent fabric
attached to a woman's hat etc., esp. to conceal the face or
protect against the sun, dust, etc. 2 a piece of linen etc. as
part of a nun's head-dress, resting on the head and shoulders.
3 a curtain, esp. that separating the sanctuary in the Jewish
Temple. 4 a disguise; a pretext; a thing that conceals (under
the veil of friendship; a veil of mist). 5 Photog. slight
fogging. 6 huskiness of the voice. 7 = VELUM. --v.tr. 1
cover with a veil. 2 (esp. as veiled adj.) partly conceal
(veiled threats). Ьbeyond the veil in the unknown state of life
after death. draw a veil over avoid discussing or calling
attention to. take the veil become a nun. ЬЬveilless adj. [ME
f. AF veil(e), OF voil(e) f. L vela pl. of VELUM]
veiling n. light fabric used for veils etc.
vein n. & v. --n. 1 a any of the tubes by which blood is conveyed
to the heart (cf. ARTERY). b (in general use) any blood-vessel
(has royal blood in his veins). 2 a nervure of an insect's
wing. 3 a slender bundle of tissue forming a rib in the
framework of a leaf. 4 a streak or stripe of a different colour
in wood, marble, cheese, etc. 5 a fissure in rock filled with
ore or other deposited material. 6 a source of a particular
characteristic (a rich vein of humour). 7 a distinctive
character or tendency; a cast of mind or disposition; a mood
(spoke in a sarcastic vein). --v.tr. fill or cover with or as
with veins. ЬЬveinless n. veinlet n. veinlike adj. veiny
adj. (veinier, veiniest). [ME f. OF veine f. L vena]
veining n. a pattern of streaks or veins.
veinstone n. = GANGUE.
vela pl. of VELUM.
velamen n. (pl. velamina) an enveloping membrane esp. of an aerial
root of an orchid. [L f. velare cover]
velar adj. 1 of a veil or velum. 2 Phonet. (of a sound) pronounced
with the back of the tongue near the soft palate. [L velaris f.
velum: see VELUM]
Velcro n. propr. a fastener for clothes etc. consisting of two strips
of nylon fabric, one looped and one burred, which adhere when
pressed together. ЬЬVelcroed adj. [F velours croch‚ hooked
veld n. (also veldt) S.Afr. open country; grassland. [Afrik. f.
Du., = FIELD]
veldskoen n. a strong suede or leather shoe or boot. [Afrik., =
veleta n. (also valeta) a ballroom dance in triple time. [Sp., =
n. archaic a slight skirmish or controversy. [L velitatio f.
velitari skirmish f. veles velitis light-armed skirmisher]
velleity n. literary 1 a low degree of volition not conducive to action.
2 a slight wish or inclination. [med.L velleitas f. L velle to
vellum n. 1 a fine parchment orig. from the skin of a calf. b a
manuscript written on this. 2 smooth writing-paper imitating
vellum. [ME f. OF velin (as VEAL)]
n. an instrument for measuring velocity.
n. 1 hist. an early form of bicycle propelled by pressure from
the rider's feet on the ground. 2 US a child's tricycle.
ЬЬvelocipedist n. [F v‚locipЉde f. L velox -ocis swift + pes
velocity n. (pl. -ies) 1 the measure of the rate of movement of a usu.
inanimate object in a given direction. 2 speed in a given
direction. 3 (in general use) speed. Ьvelocity of escape =
escape velocity. [F v‚locit‚ or L velocitas f. velox -ocis
velodrome n. a special place or building with a track for cycle-racing.
[F v‚lodrome f. v‚lo bicycle (as VELOCITY, -DROME)]
velour n. (also velours) 1 a plushlike woven fabric or felt. 2
archaic a hat of this felt . [F velours velvet f. OF velour,
velous f. L villosus hairy f. villus: see VELVET]
velout‚ n. a sauce made from a roux of butter and flour with white
stock. [F, = velvety]
velum n. (pl. vela) a membrane, membranous covering, or flap. [L, =
sail, curtain, covering, veil]
adj. covered with soft fine hairs. [perh. f. It. vellutino f.
velvet n. & adj. --n. 1 a closely woven fabric of silk, cotton, etc.,
with a thick short pile on one side. 2 the furry skin on a
deer's growing antler. 3 anything smooth and soft like velvet.
--adj. of, like, or soft as velvet. Ьon velvet in an
advantageous or prosperous position. velvet glove outward
gentleness, esp. cloaking firmness or strength (cf. iron hand).
ЬЬvelveted adj. velvety adj. [ME f. OF veluotte f. velu
velvety f. med.L villutus f. L villus tuft, down]
velveteen n. 1 a cotton fabric with a pile like velvet. 2 (in pl.)
trousers etc. made of this.
Ven. abbr. Venerable (as the title of an archdeacon).
vena cava n. (pl. venae cavae) each of usu. two veins carrying blood
into the heart. [L, = hollow vein]
venal adj. 1 (of a person) able to be bribed or corrupted. 2 (of
conduct etc.) characteristic of a venal person. ЬЬvenality n.
venally adv. [L venalis f. venum thing for sale]
venation n. the arrangement of veins in a leaf or an insect's wing etc.,
or the system of venous blood vessels in an organism.
ЬЬvenational adj. [L vena vein]
vend v.tr. 1 offer (small wares) for sale. 2 Law sell.
Ьvending-machine a machine that dispenses small articles for
sale when a coin or token is inserted. ЬЬvender n. (usu. in
comb.). vendible adj. [F vendre or L vendere sell (as VENAL,
vendace n. a small delicate fish, Coregonus albula, found in some
British lakes. [OF vendese, - oise f. Gaulish]
vendee n. Law the buying party in a sale, esp. of property.
vendetta n. 1 a a blood feud in which the family of a murdered person
seeks vengeance on the murderer or the murderer's family. b
this practice as prevalent in Corsica and Sicily. 2 a prolonged
bitter quarrel. [It. f. L vindicta: see VINDICTIVE]
vendeuse n. a saleswoman, esp. in a fashionable dress-shop. [F]
vendor n. 1 Law the seller in a sale, esp. of property. 2 =
vending-machine (see VEND). [AF vendour (as VEND)]
vendue n. US a public auction. [Du. vendu(e) f. F vendue sale f.
veneer n. & v. --n. 1 a a thin covering of fine wood or other surface
material applied to a coarser wood. b a layer in plywood. 2
(often foll. by of) a deceptive outward appearance of a good
quality etc. --v.tr. 1 apply a veneer to (wood, furniture,
etc.). 2 disguise (an unattractive character etc.) with a more
attractive manner etc. [earlier fineer f. G furni(e)ren f. OF
veneering n. material used as veneer.
n. (also venipuncture) Med. the puncture of a vein esp. with a
hypodermic needle to withdraw blood or for an intravenous
injection. [L vena vein + PUNCTURE]
venerable adj. 1 entitled to veneration on account of character, age,
associations, etc. (a venerable priest; venerable relics). 2 as
the title of an archdeacon in the Church of England. 3 RC Ch.
as the title of a deceased person who has attained a certain
degree of sanctity but has not been fully beatified or
canonized. ЬЬvenerability n. venerableness n. venerably adv.
[ME f. OF venerable or L venerabilis (as VENERATE)]
venerate v.tr. 1 regard with deep respect. 2 revere on account of
sanctity etc. ЬЬveneration n. venerator n. [L venerari adore,
venereal adj. 1 of or relating to sexual desire or intercourse. 2
relating to venereal disease. Ьvenereal disease any of various
diseases contracted chiefly by sexual intercourse with a person
already infected. ЬЬvenereally adv. [ME f. L venereus f.
venus veneris sexual love]
n. the scientific study of venereal diseases. ЬЬvenereological
adj. venereologist n.
venery(1) n. archaic sexual indulgence. [med.L veneria (as VENEREAL)]
venery(2) n. archaic hunting. [ME f. OF venerie f. vener to hunt ult.
f. L venari]
n. (also venisection) phlebotomy. [med.L venae sectio cutting
of a vein (as VEIN, SECTION)]
Venetian n. & adj. --n. 1 a native or citizen of Venice in NE Italy. 2
the Italian dialect of Venice. 3 (venetian) = venetian blind.
--adj. of Venice. Ьvenetian blind a window-blind of adjustable
horizontal slats to control the light. Venetian glass delicate
glassware made at Murano near Venice. Venetian red a reddish
pigment of ferric oxides. Venetian window a window with three
separate openings, the central one being arched and highest.
ЬЬvenetianed adj. (in sense 3 of n.). [ME f. OF Venicien,
assim. to med.L Venetianus f. Venetia Venice]
vengeance n. punishment inflicted or retribution exacted for wrong to
oneself or to a person etc. whose cause one supports. Ьwith a
vengeance in a higher degree than was expected or desired; in
the fullest sense (punctuality with a vengeance). [ME f. OF f.
venger avenge f. L (as VINDICATE)]
venial adj. (of a sin or fault) pardonable, excusable; not mortal.
ЬЬveniality n. venially adv. venialness n. [ME f. OF f. LL
venialis f. venia forgiveness]
var. of VENEPUNCTURE.
var. of VENESECTION.
venison n. a deer's flesh as food. [ME f. OF veneso(u)n f. L venatio
-onis hunting f. venari to hunt]
Venite n. 1 a canticle consisting of Psalm 95. 2 a musical setting of
this. [ME f. L, = 'come ye', its first word]
n. a diagram of usu. circular areas representing mathematical
sets, the areas intersecting where they have elements in common.
[J. Venn, Engl. logician d. 1923]
venom n. 1 a poisonous fluid secreted by snakes, scorpions, etc.,
usu. transmitted by a bite or sting. 2 malignity; virulence of
feeling, language, or conduct. ЬЬvenomed adj. [ME f. OF venim,
var. of venin ult. f. L venenum poison]
venomous adj. 1 a containing, secreting, or injecting venom. b (of a
snake etc.) inflicting poisonous wounds by this means. 2 (of a
person etc.) virulent, spiteful, malignant. ЬЬvenomously adv.
venomousness n. [ME f. OF venimeux f. venim: see VENOM]
venose adj. having many or very marked veins. [L venosus f. vena
venous adj. of, full of, or contained in veins. ЬЬvenosity n.
venously adv. [L venosus VENOSE or L vena vein + -OUS]
vent(1) n. & v. --n. 1 (also vent-hole) a hole or opening allowing
motion of air etc. out of or into a confined space. 2 an
outlet; free passage or play (gave vent to their indignation).
3 the anus esp. of a lower animal, serving for both excretion
and reproduction. 4 the venting of an otter, beaver, etc. 5 an
aperture or outlet through which volcanic products are
discharged at the earth's surface. 6 a touch-hole of a gun. 7
a finger-hole in a musical instrument. 8 a flue of a chimney.
--v. 1 tr. a make a vent in (a cask etc.). b provide (a
machine) with a vent. 2 tr. give vent or free expression to
(vented my anger on the cat). 3 intr. (of an otter or beaver)
come to the surface for breath. Ьvent one's spleen on scold or
ill-treat without cause. ЬЬventless adj. [partly F vent f. L
ventus wind, partly F ‚vent f. ‚venter expose to air f. OF
esventer ult. f. L ventus wind]
vent(2) n. a slit in a garment, esp. in the lower edge of the back of a
coat. [ME, var. of fent f. OF fente slip ult. f. L findere
ventiduct n. Archit. an air-passage, esp. for ventilation. [L ventus
wind + ductus DUCT]
ventifact n. a stone shaped by wind-blown sand. [L ventus wind + factum
neut. past part. of facere make]
ventil n. Mus. 1 a valve in a wind instrument. 2 a shutter for
regulating the air-flow in an organ. [G f. It. ventile f.
med.L ventile sluice f. L ventus wind]
ventilate v.tr. 1 cause air to circulate freely in (a room etc.). 2
submit (a question, grievance, etc.) to public consideration and
discussion. 3 Med. a oxygenate (the blood). b admit or force
air into (the lungs). ЬЬventilation n. ventilative adj. [L
ventilare ventilat- blow, winnow, f. ventus wind]
n. 1 an appliance or aperture for ventilating a room etc. 2
Med. = RESPIRATOR 2.
ventral adj. 1 Anat. & Zool. of or on the abdomen (cf. DORSAL). 2
Bot. of the front or lower surface. Ьventral fin either of the
ventrally placed fins on a fish. ЬЬventrally adv. [obs.
venter abdomen f. L venter ventr-]
ventre … terre
adv. at full speed. [F, lit. with belly to the ground]
ventricle n. Anat. 1 a cavity in the body. 2 a hollow part of an organ,
esp. in the brain or heart. ЬЬventricular adj. [ME f. L
ventriculus dimin. of venter belly]
adj. 1 having a protruding belly. 2 Bot. distended, inflated.
[irreg. f. VENTRICLE + -OSE(1)]
n. the skill of speaking or uttering sounds so that they seem
to come from the speaker's dummy or a source other than the
speaker. ЬЬventriloquial adj. ventriloquist n. ventriloquize
v.intr. (also -ise). [ult. f. L ventriloquus ventriloquist f.
venter belly + loqui speak]
n. = VENTRILOQUISM.
venture n. & v. --n. 1 a an undertaking of a risk. b a risky
undertaking. 2 a commercial speculation. --v. 1 intr. dare;
not be afraid (did not venture to stop them). 2 intr. (usu.
foll. by out etc.) dare to go (out), esp. outdoors. 3 tr. dare
to put forward (an opinion, suggestion, etc.). 4 a tr. expose
to risk; stake (a bet etc.). b intr. take risks. 5 intr.
(foll. by on, upon) dare to engage in etc. (ventured on a longer
journey). Ьat a venture at random; without previous
consideration. venture capital = risk capital. Venture Scout
Brit. a member of the Scout Association aged between 16 and 20.
[aventure = ADVENTURE]
venturer n. hist. a person who undertakes or shares in a trading
adj. 1 disposed to take risks. 2 risky. ЬЬventuresomely adv.
venturi n. (pl. venturis) a short piece of narrow tube between wider
sections for measuring flow-rate or exerting suction. [G. B.
Venturi, It. physicist d. 1822]
venue n. 1 a an appointed meeting-place esp. for a sports event,
meeting, concert, etc. b a rendezvous. 2 Law hist. the county
or other place within which a jury must be gathered and a cause
tried (orig. the neighbourhood of the crime etc.). [F, = a
coming, fem. past part. of venir come f. L venire]
venule n. Anat. a small vein adjoining the capillaries. [L venula
dimin. of vena vein]
Venus n. (pl. Venuses) 1 the planet second from the sun in the solar
system. 2 poet. a a beautiful woman. b sexual love; amorous
influences or desires. ЬVenus (or Venus's) fly-trap a
flesh-consuming plant, Dionaea muscipula, with leaves that close
on insects etc. Venus's comb = shepherd's needle (see
SHEPHERD). Venus's looking-glass any of various plants of the
genus Legousia with small blue flowers. ЬЬVenusian adj. & n.
[OE f. L Venus Veneris, the goddess of love]
veracious adj. formal 1 speaking or disposed to speak the truth. 2 (of a
statement etc.) true or meant to be true. ЬЬveraciously adv.
veraciousness n. [L verax veracis f. verus true]
veracity n. 1 truthfulness, honesty. 2 accuracy (of a statement etc.).
[F veracit‚ or med.L veracitas (as VERACIOUS)]
veranda n. (also verandah) 1 a portico or external gallery, usu. with a
roof, along the side of a house. 2 Austral. & NZ a roof over a
pavement in front of a shop. [Hindi varanda f. Port. varanda]
veratrine n. a poisonous compound obtained from sabadilla etc., and used
esp. as a local irritant in the treatment of neuralgia and
rheumatism. [F v‚ratrine f. L veratrum hellebore]
verb n. Gram. a word used to indicate an action, state, or
occurrence, and forming the main part of the predicate of a
sentence (e.g. hear, become, happen). [ME f. OF verbe or L
verbum word, verb]
verbal adj., n., & v. --adj. 1 of or concerned with words (made a
verbal distinction). 2 oral, not written (gave a verbal
statement). 3 Gram. of or in the nature of a verb (verbal
inflections). 4 literal (a verbal translation). 5 talkative,
articulate. --n. 1 Gram. a a verbal noun. b a word or words
functioning as a verb. 2 sl. a verbal statement, esp. one made
to the police. 3 sl. an insult; abuse (gave them the verbal).
--v.tr. (verballed, verballing) Brit. sl. attribute a damaging
statement to (a suspect). Ьverbal noun Gram. a noun formed as
an inflection of a verb and partly sharing its constructions
(e.g. smoking in smoking is forbidden: see -ING(1)).
ЬЬverbally adv. [ME f. F verbal or LL verbalis (as VERB)]
verbalism n. 1 minute attention to words: verbal criticism. 2 merely
verbal expression. ЬЬverbalist n. verbalistic adj.
verbalize v. (also -ise) 1 tr. express in words. 2 intr. be verbose. 3
tr. make (a noun etc.) into a verb. ЬЬverbalizable adj.
verbalization n. verbalizer n.
verbatim adv. & adj. in exactly the same words; word for word (copied it
verbatim; a verbatim report). [ME f. med.L (adv.), f. L verbum
word: cf. LITERATIM]
verbena n. any plant of the genus Verbena, bearing clusters of fragrant
flowers. [L, = sacred bough of olive etc., in med.L vervain]
verbiage n. needless accumulation of words; verbosity. [F f. obs.
verbeier chatter f. verbe word: see VERB]
verbose adj. using or expressed in more words than are needed.
ЬЬverbosely adv. verboseness n. verbosity n. [L verbosus f.
verboten adj. forbidden, esp. by an authority. [G]
int. expressing the absence of the need for a further explicit
statement. [abbr. of L verbum sapienti sat est a word is enough
for the wise person]
verdant adj. 1 (of grass etc.) green, fresh-coloured. 2 (of a field
etc.) covered with green grass etc. 3 (of a person)
unsophisticated, raw, green. ЬЬverdancy n. verdantly adv.
[perh. f. OF verdeant part. of verdoier be green ult. f. L
n. 1 ornamental usu. green serpentine. 2 a green incrustation
on ancient bronze. 3 green porphyry. [obs. F, = antique green]
verderer n. Brit. a judicial officer of royal forests. [AF (earlier
verder), OF verdier ult. f. L viridis green]
verdict n. 1 a decision on an issue of fact in a civil or criminal
cause or an inquest. 2 a decision; a judgement. [ME f. AF
verdit, OF voirdit f. voir, veir true f. L verus + dit f. L
verdigris n. 1 a a green crystallized substance formed on copper by the
action of acetic acid. b this used as a medicine or pigment. 2
green rust on copper or brass. [ME f. OF verte-gres, vert de
Grece green of Greece]
verdure n. 1 green vegetation. 2 the greenness of this. 3 poet.
freshness. ЬЬverdured adj. verdurous adj. [ME f. OF f. verd
green f. L viridis]
verge(1) n. 1 an edge or border. 2 an extreme limit beyond which
something happens (on the verge of tears). 3 Brit. a grass
edging of a road, flower-bed, etc. 4 Archit. an edge of tiles
projecting over a gable. 5 a wand or rod carried before a
bishop, dean, etc., as an emblem of office. [ME f. OF f. L
verge(2) v.intr. 1 incline downwards or in a specified direction (the
now verging sun; verge to a close). 2 (foll. by on) border on;
approach closely (verging on the ridiculous). [L vergere bend,
verger n. (also virger) 1 an official in a church who acts as
caretaker and attendant. 2 an officer who bears the staff
before a bishop etc. ЬЬvergership n. [ME f. AF (as VERGE(1))]
verglas n. a thin coating of ice or frozen rain. [F]
veridical adj. 1 formal truthful. 2 Psychol. (of visions etc.)
coinciding with reality. ЬЬveridicality n. veridically adv.
[L veridicus f. verus true + dicere say]
veriest adj. (superl. of VERY). archaic real, extreme (the veriest
fool knows that).
n. 1 the process or an instance of establishing the truth or
validity of something. 2 Philos. the establishment of the
validity of a proposition empirically. 3 the process of
verifying procedures laid down in weapons agreements.
verify v.tr. (-ies, -ied) 1 establish the truth or correctness of by
examination or demonstration (must verify the statement;
verified my figures). 2 (of an event etc.) bear out or fulfil
(a prediction or promise). 3 Law append an affidavit to
(pleadings); support (a statement) by testimony or proofs.
ЬЬverifiable adj. verifiably adv. verifier n. [ME f. OF
verifier f. med.L verificare f. verus true]
verily adv. archaic really, truly. [ME f. VERY + -LY(2), after OF &
n. 1 the appearance or semblance of being true or real. 2 a
statement etc. that seems true. ЬЬverisimilar adj. [L
verisimilitudo f. verisimilis probable f. veri genit. of verus
true + similis like]
verism n. realism in literature or art. ЬЬverist n. veristic adj.
[L verus or It. vero true + -ISM]
verismo n. (esp. of opera) realism. [It. (as VERISM)]
veritable adj. real; rightly so called (a veritable feast). ЬЬveritably
adv. [OF (as VERITY)]
verity n. (pl. -ies) 1 a true statement, esp. one of fundamental
import. 2 truth. 3 a really existent thing. [ME f. OF verit‚,
vert‚ f. L veritas -tatis f. verus true]
verjuice n. 1 an acid liquor obtained from crab-apples, sour grapes,
etc., and formerly used in cooking and medicine. 2 bitter
feelings, thoughts, etc. [ME f. OF vertjus f. VERT green + jus
adj. & n. S.Afr. --adj. politically or socially conservative
or reactionary, esp. as regards apartheid. --n. a person
holding such views. [Afrik., lit. narrow, cramped]
verligte adj. & n. S.Afr. --adj. progressive or enlightened, esp. as
regards apartheid. --n. a person holding such views. [Afrik.,
vermeil n. 1 silver gilt. 2 an orange-red garnet. 3 poet. vermilion.
[ME f. OF: see VERMILION]
vermi- comb. form worm. [L vermis worm]
vermian adj. of worms; wormlike. [L vermis worm]
n. 1 pasta made in long slender threads. 2 shreds of chocolate
used as cake decoration etc. [It., pl. of vermicello dimin. of
verme f. L vermis worm]
vermicide n. a substance that kills worms.
adj. 1 like a worm in form or movement; vermiform. 2 Med. of
or caused by intestinal worms. 3 marked with close wavy lines.
[med.L vermicularis f. L vermiculus dimin. of vermis worm]
adj. 1 = VERMICULAR. 2 wormeaten. [L vermiculatus past part.
of vermiculari be full of worms (as VERMICULAR)]
n. 1 the state or process of being eaten or infested by or
converted into worms. 2 a vermicular marking. 3 a wormeaten
state. [L vermiculatio (as VERMICULATE)]
n. a hydrous silicate mineral usu. resulting from alteration of
mica, and expandable into sponge by heating, used as an
insulation material. [as VERMICULATE + -ITE(1)]
vermiform adj. worm-shaped. Ьvermiform appendix see APPENDIX 1.
vermifuge adj. & n. --adj. that expels intestinal worms. --n. a drug
that does this.
vermilion n. & adj. --n. 1 cinnabar. 2 a a brilliant red pigment made
by grinding this or artificially. b the colour of this. --adj.
of this colour. [ME f. OF vermeillon f. vermeil f. L
vermiculus dimin. of vermis worm]
vermin n. (usu. treated as pl.) 1 mammals and birds injurious to game,
crops, etc., e.g. foxes, rodents, and noxious insects. 2
parasitic worms or insects. 3 vile persons. ЬЬverminous adj.
[ME f. OF vermin, -ine ult. f. L vermis worm]
verminate v.intr. 1 breed vermin. 2 become infested with parasites.
ЬЬvermination n. [L verminare verminat- f. vermis worm]
adj. feeding on worms.
vermouth n. a wine flavoured with aromatic herbs. [F vermout f. G
n. & adj. --n. 1 the language or dialect of a particular
country (Latin gave place to the vernacular). 2 the language of
a particular clan or group. 3 homely speech. --adj. 1 (of
language) of one's native country; not of foreign origin or of
learned formation. 2 (of architecture) concerned with ordinary
rather than monumental buildings. ЬЬvernacularism n.
vernacularity n. vernacularize v.tr. (also -ise).
vernacularly adv. [L vernaculus domestic, native f. verna
vernal adj. of, in, or appropriate to spring (vernal equinox; vernal
breezes). Ьvernal grass a sweet-scented European grass,
Anthoxanthum odoratum, grown for hay. ЬЬvernally adv. [L
vernalis f. vernus f. ver spring]
n. (also -isation) the cooling of seed before planting, in
order to accelerate flowering. ЬЬvernalize v.tr. (also -ise).
[(transl. of Russ. yarovizatsiya) f. VERNAL]
vernation n. Bot. the arrangement of leaves in a leaf-bud (cf.
AESTIVATION). [mod.L vernatio f. L vernare bloom (as VERNAL)]
vernicle n. = VERONICA 2. [ME f. OF (earlier ver(o)nique), f. med.L
vernier n. a small movable graduated scale for obtaining fractional
parts of subdivisions on a fixed main scale of a barometer,
sextant, etc. Ьvernier engine an auxiliary engine for slight
changes in the motion of a space rocket etc. [P. Vernier, Fr.
mathematician d. 1637]
veronal n. propr. a sedative drug, a derivative of barbituric acid.
[G, f. Verona in Italy]
veronica n. 1 any plant of the genus Veronica or Hebe, esp. speedwell.
2 a a cloth supposedly impressed with an image of Christ's face.
b any similar picture of Christ's face. 3 Bullfighting the
movement of a matador's cape away from a charging bull. [med.L
f. the name Veronica: in sense 2 from the association with St
verruca n. (pl. verrucae or verrucas) a wart or similar growth.
ЬЬverrucose adj. verrucous adj. [L]
versant n. 1 the extent of land sloping in one direction. 2 the
general slope of land. [F f. verser f. L versare frequent. of
vertere vers- turn]
versatile adj. 1 turning easily or readily from one subject or occupation
to another; capable of dealing with many subjects (a versatile
mind). 2 (of a device etc.) having many uses. 3 Bot. & Zool.
moving freely about or up and down on a support (versatile
antenna). 4 archaic changeable, inconstant. ЬЬversatilely adv.
versatility n. [F versatile or L versatilis (as VERSANT)]
verse n. & v. --n. 1 a metrical composition in general (wrote pages
of verse). b a particular type of this (English verse). 2 a a
metrical line in accordance with the rules of prosody. b a
group of a definite number of such lines. c a stanza of a poem
or song with or without refrain. 3 each of the short numbered
divisions of a chapter in the Bible or other scripture. 4 a a
versicle. b a passage (of an anthem etc.) for solo voice.
--v.tr. 1 express in verse. 2 (usu. refl.; foll. by in)
instruct; make knowledgeable. ЬЬverselet n. [OE fers f. L
versus a turn of the plough, a furrow, a line of writing f.
vertere vers- turn: in ME reinforced by OF vers f. L versus]
versed(1) adj. (foll. by in) experienced or skilled in; knowledgeable
about. [F vers‚ or L versatus past part. of versari be engaged
in (as VERSANT)]
versed(2) adj. Math. reversed. Ьversed sine unity minus cosine. [mod.L
(sinus) versus turned (sine), formed as VERSE]
verset n. Mus. a short prelude or interlude for organ. [F: dimin. of
versicle n. each of the short sentences in a liturgy said or sung by a
priest etc. and alternating with responses. ЬЬversicular adj.
[ME f. OF versicule or L versiculus dimin. of versus: see VERSE]
adj. 1 changing from one colour to another in different lights.
2 variegated. [L versicolor f. versus past part. of vertere
turn + color colour]
versify v. (-ies, -ied) 1 tr. turn into or express in verse. 2 intr.
compose verses. ЬЬversification n. versifier n. [ME f. OF
versifier f. L versificare (as VERSE)]
versin n. (also versine) Math. = versed sine (see VERSED(2)).
version n. 1 an account of a matter from a particular person's point of
view (told them my version of the incident). 2 a book or work
etc. in a particular edition or translation (Authorized
Version). 3 a form or variant of a thing as performed, adapted,
etc. 4 a piece of translation, esp. as a school exercise. 5
Med. the manual turning of a foetus in the womb to improve
presentation. ЬЬversional adj. [F version or med.L versio f. L
vertere vers- turn]
n. irregular or unrhymed verse in which the traditional rules
of prosody are disregarded. [F, = free verse]
verso n. (pl. -os) 1 a the left-hand page of an open book. b the
back of a printed leaf of paper or manuscript (opp. RECTO). 2
the reverse of a coin. [L verso (folio) on the turned (leaf)]
verst n. a Russian measure of length, about 1.1 km (0.66 mile).
versus prep. against (esp. in legal and sports use). °Abbr.: v., vs.
[L, = towards, in med.L against]
vert n. & (usu. placed after noun) adj. Heraldry green. [ME f. OF
f. L viridis green]
vertebra n. (pl. vertebrae) 1 each segment of the backbone. 2 (in pl.)
the backbone. ЬЬvertebral adj. [L f. vertere turn]
n. & adj. --n. any animal of the subphylum Vertebrata, having a
spinal column, including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians,
and fishes. --adj. of or relating to the vertebrates. [L
vertebratus jointed (as VERTEBRA)]
n. division into vertebrae or similar segments.
vertex n. (pl. vertices or vertexes) 1 the highest point; the top or
apex. 2 Geom. a each angular point of a polygon, polyhedron,
etc. b a meeting-point of two lines that form an angle. c the
point at which an axis meets a curve or surface. 3 Anat. the
crown of the head. [L vertex -ticis whirlpool, crown of a head,
vertex, f. vertere turn]
vertical adj. & n. --adj. 1 at right angles to a horizontal plane,
perpendicular. 2 in a direction from top to bottom of a picture
etc. 3 of or at the vertex or highest point. 4 at, or passing
through, the zenith. 5 Anat. of or relating to the crown of the
head. 6 involving all the levels in an organizational hierarchy
or stages in the production of a class of goods (vertical
integration). --n. a vertical line or plane. Ьout of the
vertical not vertical. vertical angles Math. each pair of
opposite angles made by two intersecting lines. vertical fin
Zool. a dorsal, anal, or caudal fin. vertical plane a plane at
right angles to the horizontal. vertical take-off the take-off
of an aircraft directly upwards. ЬЬverticality n. verticalize
v.tr. (also -ise). vertically adv. [F vertical or LL
verticalis (as VERTEX)]
verticil n. Bot. & Zool. a whorl; a set of parts arranged in a circle
round an axis. ЬЬverticillate adj. [L verticillus whorl of a
spindle, dimin. of VERTEX]
adj. of or causing vertigo. ЬЬvertiginously adv. [L
vertiginosus (as VERTIGO)]
vertigo n. a condition with a sensation of whirling and a tendency to
lose balance; dizziness, giddiness. [L vertigo -ginis whirling
f. vertere turn]
vertu var. of VIRTU.
vervain n. Bot. any of various herbaceous plants of the genus Verbena,
esp. V. officinalis with small blue, white, or purple flowers.
[ME f. OF verveine f. L VERBENA]
verve n. enthusiasm, vigour, spirit, esp. in artistic or literary
work. [F, earlier = a form of expression, f. L verba words]
vervet n. a small grey African monkey, Cercopithecus aethiops. [F]
very adv. & adj. --adv. 1 in a high degree (did it very easily; had
a very bad cough; am very much better). 2 in the fullest sense
(foll. by own or superl. adj.: at the very latest; do your very
best; my very own room). --adj. 1 real, true, actual; truly
such (usu. prec. by the, this, his, etc. emphasizing identity,
significance, or extreme degree: the very thing we need; those
were his very words). 2 archaic real, genuine (very God). Ьnot
very 1 in a low degree. 2 far from being. very good (or well)
a formula of consent or approval. very high frequency (of radio
frequency) in the range 30-300 megahertz. Very Reverend the
title of a dean. the very same see SAME. [ME f. OF verai ult.
f. L verus true]
n. a flare projected from a pistol for signalling or
temporarily illuminating the surroundings. [E. W. Very, Amer.
inventor d. 1910]
n. a gun for firing a Very light.
vesica n. 1 Anat. & Zool. a bladder, esp. the urinary bladder. 2 (in
full vesica piscis or piscium) Art a pointed oval used as an
aureole in medieval sculpture and painting. ЬЬvesical adj. [L]
vesicate v.tr. raise blisters on. ЬЬvesicant adj. & n. vesication n.
vesicatory adj. & n. [LL vesicare vesicat- (as VESICA)]
vesicle n. 1 Anat., Zool., & Bot. a small bladder, bubble, or hollow
structure. 2 Geol. a small cavity in volcanic rock produced by
gas bubbles. 3 Med. a blister. ЬЬvesicular adj. vesiculate
adj. vesiculation n. [F v‚sicule or L vesicula dimin. of
vesper n. 1 Venus as the evening star. 2 poet. evening. 3 (in pl.) a
the sixth of the canonical hours of prayer. b evensong. [L
vesper evening (star): sense 3 partly f. OF vespres f. eccl.L
vesperas f. L vespera evening]
adj. 1 Bot. (of a flower) opening in the evening. 2 Zool.
active in the evening. 3 Astron. setting near the time of
sunset. 4 of or occurring in the evening. [L vespertinus f.
vespiary n. (pl. -ies) a nest of wasps. [irreg. f. L vespa wasp, after
vespine adj. of or relating to wasps. [L vespa wasp]
vessel n. 1 a hollow receptacle esp. for liquid, e.g. a cask, cup,
pot, bottle, or dish. 2 a ship or boat, esp. a large one. 3 a
Anat. a duct or canal etc. holding or conveying blood or other
fluid, esp. = blood-vessel. b Bot. a woody duct carrying or
containing sap etc. 4 Bibl. or joc. a person regarded as the
recipient or exponent of a quality (a weak vessel). [ME f. AF
vessel(e), OF vaissel(le) f. LL vascellum dimin. of vas vessel]
vest n. & v. --n. 1 an undergarment worn on the upper part of the
body. 2 US & Austral. a waistcoat. 3 a usu. V-shaped piece of
material to fill the opening at the neck of a woman's dress.
--v. 1 tr. (esp. in passive; foll. by with) bestow or confer
(powers, authority, etc.) on (a person). 2 tr. (foll. by in)
confer (property or power) on (a person) with an immediate fixed
right of immediate or future possession. 3 intr. (foll. by in)
(of property, a right, etc.) come into the possession of (a
person). 4 a tr. poet. clothe. b intr. Eccl. put on
vestments. Ьvested interest 1 Law an interest (usu. in land or
money held in trust) recognized as belonging to a person. 2 a
personal interest in a state of affairs, usu. with an
expectation of gain. [(n.) F veste f. It. veste f. L vestis
garment: (v.) ME, orig. past part. f. OF vestu f. vestir f. L
vestire vestit- clothe]
vesta n. hist. a short wooden or wax match. [Vesta, Roman goddess
of the hearth and household]
vestal adj. & n. --adj. 1 chaste, pure. 2 of or relating to the
Roman goddess Vesta. --n. 1 a chaste woman, esp. a nun. 2
Rom. Antiq. a vestal virgin. Ьvestal virgin Rom. Antiq. a
virgin consecrated to Vesta and vowed to chastity, who shared
the charge of maintaining the sacred fire burning on the
goddess's altar. [ME f. L vestalis (adj. & n.) (as VESTA)]
vestee n. = VEST n. 3.
vestiary n. & adj. --n. (pl. -ies) 1 a vestry. 2 a robing-room; a
cloakroom. --adj. of or relating to clothes or dress. [ME f.
OF vestiarie, vestiaire: see VESTRY]
vestibule n. 1 a an antechamber, hall, or lobby next to the outer door of
a building. b a porch of a church etc. 2 US an enclosed
entrance to a railway-carriage. 3 Anat. a a chamber or channel
communicating with others. b part of the mouth outside the
teeth. c the central cavity of the labyrinth of the inner ear.
ЬЬvestibular adj. [F vestibule or L vestibulum entrance-court]
vestige n. 1 a trace or piece of evidence; a sign (vestiges of an
earlier civilization; found no vestige of their presence). 2 a
slight amount; a particle (without a vestige of clothing; showed
not a vestige of decency). 3 Biol. a part or organ of an
organism that is reduced or functionless but was well developed
in its ancestors. [F f. L vestigium footprint]
vestigial adj. 1 being a vestige or trace. 2 Biol. (of an organ)
atrophied or functionless from the process of evolution (a
vestigial wing). ЬЬvestigially adv.
vestiture n. 1 Zool. hair, scales, etc., covering a surface. 2 archaic a
clothing. b investiture. [ME f. med.L vestitura f. L vestire:
vestment n. 1 any of the official robes of clergy, choristers, etc.,
worn during divine service, esp. a chasuble. 2 a garment, esp.
an official or state robe. [ME f. OF vestiment, vestement f. L
vestimentum (as VEST)]
vestry n. (pl. -ies) 1 a room or building attached to a church for
keeping vestments in. 2 hist. a a meeting of parishioners usu.
in a vestry for parochial business. b a body of parishioners
meeting in this way. ЬЬvestral adj. [ME f. OF vestiaire,
vestiarie, f. L vestiarium (as VEST)]
vestryman n. (pl. -men) a member of a vestry.
vesture n. & v. --n. poet. 1 garments, dress. 2 a covering. --v.tr.
clothe. [ME f. OF f. med.L vestitura (as VEST)]
vet(1) n. & v. --n. colloq. a veterinary surgeon. --v.tr. (vetted,
vetting) 1 make a careful and critical examination of (a scheme,
work, candidate, etc.). 2 examine or treat (an animal).
vet(2) n. US colloq. a veteran. [abbr.]
vetch n. any plant of the genus Vicia, esp. V. sativa, largely used
for silage or fodder. ЬЬvetchy adj. [ME f. AF & ONF veche f. L
vetchling n. any of various plants of the genus Lathyrus, related to
veteran n. 1 a person who has grown old in or had long experience of
esp. military service or an occupation (a war veteran; a veteran
of the theatre; a veteran marksman). 2 US an ex-serviceman or
servicewoman. 3 (attrib.) of or for veterans. Ьveteran car
Brit. a car made before 1916, or (strictly) before 1905. [F
v‚t‚ran or L veteranus (adj. & n.) f. vetus -eris old]
n. US a veterinary surgeon. [L veterinarius (as VETERINARY)]
adj. & n. --adj. of or for diseases and injuries of farm and
domestic animals, or their treatment. --n. (pl. -ies) a
veterinary surgeon. Ьveterinary surgeon Brit. a person
qualified to treat diseased or injured animals. [L veterinarius
f. veterinae cattle]
vetiver n. = CUSCUS(1). [F v‚tiver f. Tamil vettiveru f. ver root]
veto n. & v. --n. (pl. -oes) 1 a a constitutional right to reject
a legislative enactment. b the right of a permanent member of
the UN Security Council to reject a resolution. c such a
rejection. d an official message conveying this. 2 a
prohibition (put one's veto on a proposal). --v.tr. (-oes,
-oed) 1 exercise a veto against (a measure etc.). 2 forbid
authoritatively. ЬЬvetoer n. [L, = I forbid, with ref. to its
use by Roman tribunes of the people in opposing measures of the
vex v.tr. 1 anger by a slight or a petty annoyance; irritate. 2
archaic grieve, afflict. ЬЬvexer n. vexing adj. vexingly adv.
[ME f. OF vexer f. L vexare shake, disturb]
vexation n. 1 the act or an instance of vexing; the state of being
vexed. 2 an annoying or distressing thing. [ME f. OF vexation
or L vexatio -onis (as VEX)]
vexatious adj. 1 such as to cause vexation. 2 Law not having sufficient
grounds for action and seeking only to annoy the defendant.
ЬЬvexatiously adv. vexatiousness n.
vexed adj. 1 irritated, angered. 2 (of a problem, issue, etc.)
difficult and much discussed; problematic. ЬЬvexedly adv.
n. the study of flags. ЬЬvexillological adj. vexillologist n.
[L vexillum flag + -LOGY]
vexillum n. (pl. vexilla) 1 Rom. Antiq. a a military standard, esp. of
a maniple. b a body of troops under this. 2 Bot. the large
upper petal of a papilionaceous flower. 3 Zool. the vane of a
feather. 4 Eccl. a a flag attached to a bishop's staff. b a
processional banner or cross. [L f. vehere vect- carry]
via prep. by way of; through (London to Rome via Paris; send it via
your secretary). [L, ablat. of via way, road]
viable adj. 1 (of a plan etc.) feasible; practicable esp. from an
economic standpoint. 2 a (of a plant, animal, etc.) capable of
living or existing in a particular climate etc. b (of a foetus
or newborn child) capable of maintaining life. 3 (of a seed or
spore) able to germinate. ЬЬviability n. viably adv. [F f.
vie life f. L vita]
viaduct n. 1 a long bridgelike structure, esp. a series of arches,
carrying a road or railway across a valley or dip in the ground.
2 such a road or railway. [L via way, after AQUEDUCT]
vial n. a small (usu. cylindrical glass) vessel esp. for holding
liquid medicines. ЬЬvialful n. (pl. -fuls). [ME, var. of
fiole etc.: see PHIAL]
via media n. literary a middle way or compromise between extremes. [L]
viand n. formal 1 an article of food. 2 (in pl.) provisions,
victuals. [ME f. OF viande food, ult. f. L vivenda, neut. pl.
gerundive of vivere to live]
viaticum n. (pl. viatica) 1 the Eucharist as given to a person near or
in danger of death. 2 provisions or an official allowance of
money for a journey. [L, neut. of viaticus f. via road]
vibes n.pl. colloq. 1 vibrations, esp. in the sense of feelings or
atmosphere communicated (the house had bad vibes). 2 =
n. (pl. vibracula) Zool. a whiplike structure of bryozoans
used to bring food within reach by lashing movements.
ЬЬvibracular adj. [mod.L (as VIBRATE)]
vibrant adj. 1 vibrating. 2 (often foll. by with) (of a person or
thing) thrilling, quivering (vibrant with emotion). 3 (of
sound) resonant. ЬЬvibrancy n. vibrantly adv. [L vibrare: see
n. a percussion instrument of tuned metal bars with
motor-driven resonators and metal tubes giving a vibrato effect.
ЬЬvibraphonist n. [VIBRATO + -PHONE]
vibrate v. 1 intr. & tr. move or cause to move continuously and rapidly
to and fro; oscillate. 2 intr. Physics move unceasingly to and
fro, esp. rapidly. 3 intr. (of a sound) throb; continue to be
heard. 4 intr. (foll. by with) quiver, thrill (vibrating with
passion). 5 intr. (of a pendulum) swing to and fro.
ЬЬvibrative adj. [L vibrare vibrat- shake, swing]
vibratile adj. 1 capable of vibrating. 2 Biol. (of cilia etc.) used in
vibratory motion. [VIBRATORY, after pulsatile etc.]
vibration n. 1 the act or an instance of vibrating; oscillation. 2
Physics (esp. rapid) motion to and fro esp. of the parts of a
fluid or an elastic solid whose equilibrium has been disturbed
or of an electromagnetic wave. 3 (in pl.) a a mental (esp.
occult) influence. b a characteristic atmosphere or feeling in
a place, regarded as communicable to people present in it.
ЬЬvibrational adj. [L vibratio (as VIBRATE)]
vibrato n. Mus. a rapid slight variation in pitch in singing or
playing a stringed or wind instrument, producing a tremulous
effect (cf. TREMOLO). [It., past part. of vibrare VIBRATE]
vibrator n. 1 a device that vibrates or causes vibration, esp. an
electric or other instrument used in massage or for sexual
stimulation. 2 Mus. a reed in a reed-organ.
vibratory adj. causing vibration.
vibrissae n.pl. 1 stiff coarse hairs near the mouth of most mammals (e.g.
a cat's whiskers) and in the human nostrils. 2 bristle-like
feathers near the mouth of insect-eating birds. [L (as
viburnum n. Bot. any shrub of the genus Viburnum, usu. with white
flowers, e.g. the guelder rose and wayfaring-tree. [L, =
Vic. abbr. Victoria.
vicar n. 1 a (in the Church of England) an incumbent of a parish
where tithes formerly passed to a chapter or religious house or
layman (cf. RECTOR). b (in an Episcopal Church) a member of
the clergy deputizing for another. 2 RC Ch. a representative or
deputy of a bishop. 3 (in full lay vicar or vicar choral) a
cleric or choir member appointed to sing certain parts of a
cathedral service. Ьvicar apostolic RC Ch. a Roman Catholic
missionary or titular bishop. vicar-general (pl.
vicars-general) 1 an Anglican official assisting or representing
a bishop esp. in administrative matters. 2 RC Ch. a bishop's
assistant in matters of jurisdiction etc. Vicar of Christ the
Pope. ЬЬvicariate n. vicarship n. [ME f. AF viker(e), OF
vicaire f. L vicarius substitute f. vicis: see VICE(3)]
vicarage n. the residence or benefice of a vicar.
vicarial adj. of or serving as a vicar.
vicarious adj. 1 experienced in the imagination through another person
(vicarious pleasure). 2 acting or done for another (vicarious
suffering). 3 deputed, delegated (vicarious authority).
ЬЬvicariously adv. vicariousness n. [L vicarius: see VICAR]
vice(1) n. 1 a evil or grossly immoral conduct. b a particular form of
this, esp. involving prostitution, drugs, etc. 2 a depravity,
evil. b an evil habit; a particular form of depravity (has the
vice of gluttony). 3 a defect of character or behaviour
(drunkenness was not among his vices). 4 a fault or bad habit
in a horse etc. Ьvice ring a group of criminals involved in
organizing illegal prostitution. vice squad a police department
enforcing laws against prostitution, drug abuse, etc.
ЬЬviceless adj. [ME f. OF f. L vitium]
vice(2) n. & v. --n. (US vise) an instrument, esp. attached to a
workbench, with two movable jaws between which an object may be
clamped so as to leave the hands free to work on it. --v.tr.
secure in a vice. ЬЬvicelike adj. [ME, = winding stair, screw,
f. OF vis f. L vitis vine]
vice(3) prep. in the place of; in succession to. [L, ablat. of vix
(recorded in oblique forms in vic-) change]
vice(4) n. colloq. = VICE-PRESIDENT, VICE ADMIRAL , etc. [abbr.]
vice- comb. form forming nouns meaning: 1 acting as a substitute or
deputy for (vice-president). 2 next in rank to (vice admiral).
n. a naval officer ranking below admiral and above rear
admiral. ЬЬvice-admiralty n. (pl. -ies).
n. a deputy chamberlain, esp. the deputy of the Lord
n. a deputy chancellor (esp. of a British university,
discharging most of the administrative duties).
adj. & n. --adj. exercising delegated power. --n. a vicegerent
person; a deputy. ЬЬvicegerency n. (pl. -ies). [med.L
vicegerens (as VICE(3), L gerere carry on)]
vicennial adj. lasting for or occurring every twenty years. [LL
vicennium period of 20 years f. vicies 20 times f. viginti 20
+ annus year]
n. an official ranking below and deputizing for a president.
ЬЬvice-presidency n. (pl. -ies). vice-presidential adj.
viceregal adj. of or relating to a viceroy. ЬЬviceregally adv.
vicereine n. 1 the wife of a viceroy. 2 a woman viceroy. [F (as VICE-,
viceroy n. a ruler exercising authority on behalf of a sovereign in a
colony, province, etc. ЬЬviceroyal adj. viceroyalty n.
viceroyship n. [F (as VICE-, roy king)]
adj. with the order of the terms or conditions changed; the
other way round (could go from left to right or vice versa).
[L, = the position being reversed (as VICE(3), versa ablat. fem.
past part. of vertere turn)]
n. a creamy soup of leeks and potatoes, usu. served chilled.
[F vichyssois -oise of Vichy (in France)]
n. an effervescent mineral water from Vichy in France.
vicinage n. 1 a neighbourhood; a surrounding district. 2 relation in
terms of nearness etc. to neighbours. [ME f. OF vis(e)nage ult.
f. L vicinus neighbour]
vicinal adj. 1 neighbouring, adjacent. 2 of a neighbourhood; local.
[F vicinal or L vicinalis f. vicinus neighbour]
vicinity n. (pl. -ies) 1 a surrounding district. 2 (foll. by to)
nearness or closeness of place or relationship. Ьin the
vicinity (often foll. by of) near (to). [L vicinitas (as
vicious adj. 1 bad-tempered, spiteful (a vicious dog; vicious remarks).
2 violent, severe (a vicious attack). 3 of the nature of or
addicted to vice. 4 (of language or reasoning etc.) faulty or
unsound. Ьvicious circle see CIRCLE n. 11. vicious spiral
continual harmful interaction of causes and effects, esp. as
causing repeated rises in both prices and wages. ЬЬviciously
adv. viciousness n. [ME f. OF vicious or L vitiosus f. vitium
n. 1 a change of circumstances, esp. variation of fortune. 2
archaic or poet. regular change; alternation. ЬЬvicissitudinous
adj. [F vicissitude or L vicissitudo -dinis f. vicissim by
turns (as VICE(3))]
victim n. 1 a person injured or killed as a result of an event or
circumstance (a road victim; the victims of war). 2 a person or
thing injured or destroyed in pursuit of an object or in
gratification of a passion etc. (the victim of their ruthless
ambition). 3 a prey; a dupe (fell victim to a confidence
trick). 4 a living creature sacrificed to a deity or in a
religious rite. [L victima]
victimize v.tr. (also -ise) 1 single out (a person) for punishment or
unfair treatment, esp. dismissal from employment. 2 make (a
person etc.) a victim. ЬЬvictimization n. victimizer n.
victor n. a winner in battle or in a contest. [ME f. AF victo(u)r or
L victor f. vincere vict- conquer]
victoria n. 1 a low light four-wheeled carriage with a collapsible top,
seats for two passengers, and a raised driver's seat. 2 a
gigantic S. American water lily, Victoria amazonica. 3 a a
species of crowned pigeon. b a variety of domestic pigeon. 4
(also victoria plum) Brit. a large red luscious variety of plum.
[Queen Victoria, d. 1901]
n. a decoration awarded for conspicuous bravery in the armed
services, instituted by Queen Victoria in 1856.
Victorian adj. & n. --adj. 1 of or characteristic of the time of Queen
Victoria. 2 associated with attitudes attributed to this time,
esp. of prudery and moral strictness. --n. a person, esp. a
writer, of this time. ЬЬVictorianism n.
n.pl. 1 articles, esp. collectors' items, of the Victorian
period. 2 attitudes characteristic of this period.
n. (also Victoria sponge) a sponge cake consisting of two
layers of sponge with a jam filling.
adj. 1 having won a victory; conquering, triumphant. 2 marked
by victory (victorious day). ЬЬvictoriously adv.
victoriousness n. [ME f. AF victorious, OF victorieux, f. L
victoriosus (as VICTORY)]
n. the overall champion in a sports competition. [L, = victor
of the games]
victory n. (pl. -ies) 1 the process of defeating an enemy in battle or
war or an opponent in a contest. 2 an instance of this; a
triumph. [ME f. AF victorie, OF victoire, f. L victoria (as
victual n. & v. --n. (usu. in pl.) food, provisions, esp. as prepared
for use. --v. (victualled, victualling; US victualed,
victualing) 1 tr. supply with victuals. 2 intr. obtain stores.
3 intr. eat victuals. ЬЬvictualless adj. [ME f. OF vitaille f.
LL victualia, neut. pl. of L victualis f. victus food, rel. to
n. (US victualer) 1 a a person etc. who supplies victuals. b
(in full licensed victualler) Brit. a publican etc. licensed to
sell alcoholic liquor. 2 a ship carrying stores for other
ships. [ME f. OF vitaill(i)er, vitaillour (as VICTUAL)]
vicu¤a n. 1 a S. American mammal, Vicugna vicugna, related to the
llama, with fine silky wool. 2 a cloth made from its wool. b
an imitation of this. [Sp. f. Quechua]
vide v.tr. (as an instruction in a reference to a passage in a book
etc.) see, consult. [L, imper. of videre see]
videlicet adv. = VIZ. [ME f. L f. videre see + licet it is permissible]
video adj., n., & v. --adj. 1 relating to the recording,
reproducing, or broadcasting of visual images on magnetic tape.
2 relating to the broadcasting of television pictures. --n.
(pl. -os) 1 the process of recording, reproducing, or
broadcasting visual images on magnetic tape. 2 the visual
element of television broadcasts. 3 colloq. = video recorder.
4 a film etc. recorded on a videotape. --v.tr. (-oes, -oed)
make a video recording of. Ьvideo cassette a cassette of
videotape. video frequency a frequency in the range used for
video signals in television. video game a game played by
electronically manipulating images produced by a computer
program on a television screen. video nasty colloq. an
explicitly horrific or pornographic video film. video (or video
cassette) recorder an apparatus for recording and playing
videotapes. video signal a signal containing information for
producing a television image. [L videre see, after AUDIO]
videodisc n. a metal-coated disc on which visual material is recorded for
reproduction on a television screen.
n. a telephone device transmitting a visual image as well as
videotape n. & v. --n. magnetic tape for recording television pictures
and sound. --v.tr. make a recording of (broadcast material
etc.) with this. Ьvideotape recorder = video recorder.
videotex n. (also videotext) any electronic information system, esp.
teletext or viewdata.
vidimus n. an inspection or certified copy of accounts etc. [L, = we
have seen f. videre see]
vie v.intr. (vying) (often foll. by with) compete; strive for
superiority (vied with each other for recognition). [prob. f.
ME (as ENVY)]
vielle n. a hurdy-gurdy. [F f. OF viel(l)e: see VIOL]
Viennese adj. & n. --adj. of, relating to, or associated with Vienna in
Austria. --n. (pl. same) a native or citizen of Vienna.
adj. & n. --adj. of or relating to Vietnam in SE Asia. --n.
(pl. same) 1 a native or national of Vietnam. 2 the language of
vieux jeu adj. old-fashioned, hackneyed. [F, lit. old game]
view n. & v. --n. 1 range of vision; extent of visibility (came
into view; in full view of the crowd). 2 a what is seen from a
particular point; a scene or prospect (a fine view of the downs;
a room with a view). b a picture etc. representing this. 3 an
inspection by the eye or mind; a visual or mental survey. 4 an
opportunity for visual inspection; a viewing (a private view of
the exhibition). 5 a an opinion (holds strong views on
morality). b a mental attitude (took a favourable view of the
matter). c a manner of considering a thing (took a long-term
view of it). --v. 1 tr. look at; survey visually; inspect (we
are going to view the house). 2 tr. examine; survey mentally
(different ways of viewing a subject). 3 tr. form a mental
impression or opinion of; consider (does not view the matter in
the same light). 4 intr. watch television. 5 tr. see (a fox)
break cover. Ьhave in view 1 have as one's object. 2 bear (a
circumstance) in mind in forming a judgement etc. in view of
having regard to; considering. on view being shown (for
observation or inspection); being exhibited. view halloo
Hunting a shout on seeing a fox break cover. with a view to 1
with the hope or intention of. 2 with the aim of attaining
(with a view to marriage). ЬЬviewable adj. [ME f. AF v(i)ewe,
OF veue fem. past part. f. veoir see f. L videre]
viewdata n. a news and information service from a computer source to
which a television screen is connected by telephone link.
viewer n. 1 a person who views. 2 a person watching television. 3 a
device for looking at film transparencies etc.
n. a device on a camera showing the area covered by the lens in
taking a photograph.
viewing n. 1 an opportunity or occasion to view; an exhibition. 2 the
act or practice of watching television.
viewless adj. 1 not having or affording a view. 2 lacking opinions.
viewpoint n. a point of view, a standpoint.
vigesimal adj. 1 of twentieths or twenty. 2 reckoning or reckoned by
twenties. ЬЬvigesimally adv. [L vigesimus f. viginti twenty]
vigil n. 1 a keeping awake during the time usually given to sleep,
esp. to keep watch or pray (keep vigil). b a period of this.
2 Eccl. the eve of a festival or holy day. 3 (in pl.) nocturnal
devotions. [ME f. OF vigile f. L vigilia f. vigil awake]
vigilance n. watchfulness, caution, circumspection. Ьvigilance committee
US a self-appointed body for the maintenance of order etc. [F
vigilance or L vigilantia f. vigilare keep awake (as VIGIL)]
vigilant adj. watchful against danger, difficulty, etc. ЬЬvigilantly
adv. [L vigilans -antis (as VIGILANCE)]
vigilante n. a member of a vigilance committee or similar body. [Sp., =
vigneron n. a vine-grower. [F f. vigne VINE]
vignette n. & v. --n. 1 a short descriptive essay or character sketch.
2 an illustration or decorative design, esp. on the title-page
of a book, not enclosed in a definite border. 3 a photograph or
portrait showing only the head and shoulders with the background
gradually shaded off. --v.tr. 1 make a portrait of (a person)
in vignette style. 2 shade off (a photograph or portrait).
ЬЬvignettist n. [F, dimin. of vigne VINE]
vigor US var. of VIGOUR.
vigoro n. Austral. a team ball game combining elements of cricket and
baseball. [app. f. VIGOROUS]
vigorous adj. 1 strong and active; robust. 2 (of a plant) growing
strongly. 3 forceful; acting or done with physical or mental
vigour; energetic. 4 full of vigour; showing or requiring
physical strength or activity. ЬЬvigorously adv. vigorousness
n. [ME f. OF f. med.L vigorosus f. L vigor (as VIGOUR)]
vigour n. (US vigor) 1 active physical strength or energy. 2 a
flourishing physical condition. 3 healthy growth; vitality;
vital force. 4 a mental strength or activity shown in thought
or speech or in literary style. b forcefulness; trenchancy,
animation. ЬЬvigourless adj. [ME f. OF vigour f. L vigor -oris
f. vigere be lively]
vihara n. a Buddhist temple or monastery. [Skr.]
Viking n. & adj. --n. any of the Scandinavian seafaring pirates and
traders who raided and settled in parts of NW Europe in the
8th-11th c. --adj. of or relating to the Vikings or their time.
[ON vЎkingr, perh. f. OE wicing f. wic camp]
vile adj. 1 disgusting. 2 morally base; depraved, shameful. 3
colloq. abominably bad (vile weather). 4 archaic worthless.
ЬЬvilely adv. vileness n. [ME f. OF vil vile f. L vilis cheap,
vilify v.tr. (-ies, -ied) defame; speak evil of. ЬЬvilification n.
vilifier n. [ME in sense 'lower in value', f. LL vilificare (as
vill n. hist. a feudal township. [AF f. OF vile, ville farm f. L
villa n. 1 Rom. Antiq. a large country house with an estate. 2 a
country residence. 3 Brit. a detached or semi-detached house in
a residential district. 4 a rented holiday home, esp. abroad.
[It. & L]
village n. 1 a a group of houses and associated buildings, larger than
a hamlet and smaller than a town, esp. in a rural area. b the
inhabitants of a village regarded as a community. 2 Brit. a
self-contained district or community within a town or city,
regarded as having features characteristic of village life. 3
US a small municipality with limited corporate powers. 4
Austral. a select suburban shopping centre. ЬЬvillager n.
villagey adj. [ME f. OF f. L villa]
villain n. 1 a person guilty or capable of great wickedness. 2 colloq.
usu. joc. a rascal or rogue. 3 (also villain of the piece) (in
a play etc.) a character whose evil actions or motives are
important in the plot. 4 Brit. colloq. a professional
criminal. 5 archaic a rustic; a boor. [ME f. OF vilein, vilain
ult. f. L villa: see VILLA]
adj. 1 characteristic of a villain; wicked. 2 colloq.
abominably bad; vile (villainous weather). ЬЬvillainously adv.
villainy n. (pl. -ies) 1 villainous behaviour. 2 a wicked act. [OF
vilenie (as VILLAIN)]
n. a usu. pastoral or lyrical poem of 19 lines, with only two
rhymes throughout, and some lines repeated. [F f. It.
villanella fem. of villanello rural, dimin. of villano (as
-ville comb. form colloq. forming the names of fictitious places with
ref. to a particular quality etc. (dragsville; squaresville).
[F ville town, as in many US town-names]
villein n. hist. a feudal tenant entirely subject to a lord or
attached to a manor. [ME, var. of VILLAIN]
n. hist. the tenure or status of a villein.
villus n. (pl. villi) 1 Anat. each of the short finger-like processes
on some membranes, esp. on the mucous membrane of the small
intestine. 2 Bot. (in pl.) long soft hairs covering fruit,
flowers, etc. ЬЬvilliform adj. villose adj. villosity n.
villous adj. [L, = shaggy hair]
vim n. colloq. vigour. [perh. f. L, accus. of vis energy]
vimineous adj. Bot. of or producing twigs or shoots. [L vimineus f.
vimen viminis osier]
vina n. an Indian four-stringed musical instrument with a fretted
finger-board and a gourd at each end. [Skr. & Hindi vina]
vinaceous adj. wine-red. [L vinaceus f. vinum wine]
n. 1 (in full vinaigrette sauce) a salad dressing of oil, wine
vinegar, and seasoning. 2 a small ornamental bottle for holding
smelling-salts. [F, dimin. of vinaigre VINEGAR]
vincible adj. literary that can be overcome or conquered. ЬЬvincibility
n. [L vincibilis f. vincere overcome]
vinculum n. (pl. vincula) 1 Algebra a horizontal line drawn over a
group of terms to show they have a common relation to what
follows or precedes (e.g. a + b x c = ac + bc, but a + b x c =
a + bc). 2 Anat. a ligament; a fraenum. [L, = bond, f.
vindicate v.tr. 1 clear of blame or suspicion. 2 establish the
existence, merits, or justice of (one's courage, conduct,
assertion, etc.). 3 justify (a person, oneself, etc.) by
evidence or argument. ЬЬvindicable adj. vindication n.
vindicative adj. vindicator n. [L vindicare claim, avenge f.
vindex -dicis claimant, avenger]
adj. 1 tending to vindicate. 2 (of laws) punitive.
adj. 1 tending to seek revenge. 2 spiteful. Ьvindictive
damages Law damages exceeding simple compensation and awarded to
punish the defendant. ЬЬvindictively adv. vindictiveness n.
[L vindicta vengeance (as VINDICATE)]
vine n. 1 any climbing or trailing woody-stemmed plant, esp. of the
genus Vitis, bearing grapes. 2 a slender trailing or climbing
stem. Ьvine-dresser a person who prunes, trains, and cultivates
vines. ЬЬviny adj. [ME f. OF vi(g)ne f. L vinea vineyard f.
vinegar n. 1 a sour liquid obtained from wine, cider, etc., by
fermentation and used as a condiment or for pickling. 2 sour
behaviour or character. ЬЬvinegarish adj. vinegary adj. [ME
f. OF vyn egre ult. f. L vinum wine + acer, acre sour]
vinery n. (pl. -ies) 1 a greenhouse for grapevines. 2 a vineyard.
vineyard n. 1 a plantation of grapevines, esp. for wine-making. 2 Bibl.
a sphere of action or labour (see Matt. 20:1). [ME f. VINE +
n. = PONTOON(1). [F, = twenty-one]
vini- comb. form wine. [L vinum]
n. the cultivation of grapevines. ЬЬvinicultural adj.
n. the conversion of grape-juice etc. into wine.
vining n. the separation of leguminous crops from their vines and
vino n. sl. wine, esp. of an inferior kind. [Sp. & It., = wine]
n. cheap (usu. red) wine as drunk in France mixed with water.
[F, = ordinary wine]
vinous adj. 1 of, like, or associated with wine. 2 addicted to wine.
ЬЬvinosity n. [L vinum wine]
vin ros‚ n. = ROSђ. [F]
vint(1) v.tr. make (wine). [back-form. f. VINTAGE]
vint(2) n. a Russian card-game like auction bridge. [Russ., = screw]
vintage n. & adj. --n. 1 a a season's produce of grapes. b the wine
made from this. 2 a the gathering of grapes for wine-making. b
the season of this. 3 a wine of high quality from a single
identified year and district. 4 a the year etc. when a thing
was made etc. b a thing made etc. in a particular year etc. 5
poet. or rhet. wine. --adj. 1 of high quality, esp. from the
past or characteristic of the best period of a person's work. 2
of a past season. Ьvintage car Brit. a car made between 1917
and 1930. vintage festival a carnival to celebrate the
beginning of the vintage. [alt. (after VINTNER) of ME vendage,
vindage f. OF vendange f. L vindemia f. vinum wine + demere
vintager n. a grape-gatherer.
vintner n. a wine-merchant. [ME f. AL vintenarius, vinetarius f. AF
vineter, OF vinetier f. med.L vinetarius f. L vinetum vineyard
f. vinum wine]
viny see VINE.
vinyl n. any plastic made by polymerizing a compound containing the
vinyl group, esp. polyvinyl chloride. Ьvinyl group the organic
radical or group CHCH. [L vinum wine + -YL]
viol n. a medieval stringed musical instrument, played with a bow
and held vertically on the knees or between the legs. [ME viel
etc. f. OF viel(l)e, alt. of viole f. Prov. viola, viula, prob.
ult. f. L vitulari be joyful: cf. FIDDLE]
viola(1) n. 1 a an instrument of the violin family, larger than the
violin and of lower pitch. b a viola-player. 2 a viol. Ьviola
da braccio a viol corresponding to the modern viola. viola da
gamba a viol held between the player's legs, esp. one
corresponding to the modern cello. viola d'amore a sweet-toned
tenor viol. [It. & Sp., prob. f. Prov.: see VIOL]
viola(2) n. 1 any plant of the genus Viola, including the pansy and
violet. 2 a cultivated hybrid of this genus. [L, = violet]
adj. 1 of a violet colour. 2 Bot. of the violet family
Violaceae. [L violaceus (as VIOLA(2))]
violate v.tr. 1 disregard; fail to comply with (an oath, treaty, law,
etc.). 2 treat (a sanctuary etc.) profanely or with disrespect.
3 break in upon, disturb (a person's privacy etc.). 4 assault
sexually; rape. ЬЬviolable adj. violation n. violator n. [ME
f. L violare treat violently]
violence n. 1 the quality of being violent. 2 violent conduct or
treatment, outrage, injury. 3 Law a the unlawful exercise of
physical force. b intimidation by the exhibition of this. Ьdo
violence to act contrary to; outrage. [ME f. OF f. L violentia
violent adj. 1 involving or using great physical force (a violent
person; a violent storm; came into violent collision). 2 a
intense, vehement, passionate, furious (a violent contrast;
violent dislike). b vivid (violent colours). 3 (of death)
resulting from external force or from poison (cf. NATURAL adj.
2). 4 involving an unlawful exercise of force (laid violent
hands on him). ЬЬviolently adv. [ME f. OF f. L violentus]
violet n. & adj. --n. 1 a any plant of the genus Viola, esp. the
sweet violet, with usu. purple, blue, or white flowers. b any
of various plants resembling the sweet violet. 2 the
bluish-purple colour seen at the end of the spectrum opposite
red. 3 a pigment of this colour. b clothes or material of this
colour. --adj. of this colour. [ME f. OF violet(te) dimin. of
viole f. L VIOLA(2)]
violin n. 1 a musical instrument with four strings of treble pitch
played with a bow. 2 a violin-player. ЬЬviolinist n. [It.
violino dimin. of VIOLA(1)]
violist n. a viol- or viola-player.
n. (pl. -os) formal = CELLO. ЬЬvioloncellist n. [It., dimin.
violone n. a double-bass viol. [It., augment. of VIOLA(1)]
VIP abbr. very important person.
viper n. 1 any venomous snake of the family Viperidae, esp. the
common viper (see ADDER). 2 a malignant or treacherous person.
Ьviper in one's bosom a person who betrays those who have helped
him or her. viper's bugloss a stiff bristly blue-flowered
plant, Echium vulgare. viper's grass scorzonera. ЬЬviperine
adj. viperish adj. viper-like adj. viperous adj. [F vipЉre
or L vipera f. vivus alive + parere bring forth]
virago n. (pl. -os) 1 a fierce or abusive woman. 2 archaic a woman
of masculine strength or spirit. [OE f. L, = female warrior, f.
viral adj. of or caused by a virus. ЬЬvirally adv.
virelay n. a short (esp. old French) lyric poem with two rhymes to a
stanza variously arranged. [ME f. OF virelai]
virement n. the transfer of items from one financial account to another.
[F f. virer turn: see VEER(1)]
vireo n. (pl. -os) any small American songbird of the family
Vireonidae. [L, perh. = greenfinch]
n. 1 greenness. 2 Bot. abnormal greenness in petals etc.
normally of some bright colour. ЬЬvirescent adj. [L virescere,
incept. of virere be green]
adj. Bot. & Zool. slim, straight, and erect. [L virgatus f.
n. Brit. hist. a varying measure of land, esp. 30 acres.
[med.L virgata (rendering OE gierd- land yard-land) f. L virga
virger var. of VERGER.
Virgilian adj. of, or in the style of, the Roman poet Virgil (d. 19 BC).
[L Vergilianus f. P. Vergilius Maro, Virgil]
virgin n. & adj. --n. 1 a person (esp. a woman) who has never had
sexual intercourse. 2 a (the Virgin) Christ's mother the
Blessed Virgin Mary. b a picture or statue of the Virgin. 3
(the Virgin) the zodiacal sign or constellation Virgo. 4
colloq. a na‹ve, innocent, or inexperienced person (a political
virgin). 5 a member of any order of women under a vow to remain
virgins. 6 a female insect producing eggs without impregnation.
--adj. 1 that is a virgin. 2 of or befitting a virgin (virgin
modesty). 3 not yet used, penetrated, or tried (virgin soil).
4 undefiled, spotless. 5 (of clay) not fired. 6 (of metal)
made from ore by smelting. 7 (of wool) not yet, or only once,
spun or woven. 8 (of an insect) producing eggs without
impregnation. Ьvirgin birth 1 the doctrine of Christ's birth
without a human father. 2 parthenogenesis. virgin comb a
honeycomb that has been used only once for honey and never for
brood. virgin forest a forest in its untouched natural state.
virgin honey honey taken from a virgin comb, or drained from the
comb without heat or pressure. virgin queen an unfertilized
queen bee. the Virgin Queen Queen Elizabeth I of England.
virgin's bower a clematis, Clematis viticella. ЬЬvirginhood n.
[ME f. AF & OF virgine f. L virgo -ginis]
virginal adj. & n. --adj. that is or befits or belongs to a virgin.
--n. (usu. in pl.) (in full pair of virginals) an early form of
spinet in a box, used in the sixteenth and seventeenth
centuries. ЬЬvirginalist n. virginally adv. [ME f. OF
virginal or L virginalis (as VIRGIN): name of the instrument
perh. from its use by young women]
Virginia n. 1 tobacco from Virginia. 2 a cigarette made of this.
ЬVirginia creeper a N. American vine, Parthenocissus
quinquefolia, cultivated for ornament. Virginia reel US a
country dance. Virginia (or Virginian) stock a cruciferous
plant, Malcolmia maritima, with white or pink flowers.
ЬЬVirginian n. & adj. [Virginia in US, orig. the first English
settlement (1607), f. Virgin Queen]
virginity n. the state of being a virgin. [OF virginit‚ f. L virginitas
Virgo n. (pl. -os) 1 a constellation, traditionally regarded as
contained in the figure of a woman. 2 a the sixth sign of the
zodiac (the Virgin). b a person born when the sun is in this
sign. ЬЬVirgoan n. & adj. [OE f. L, = virgin]
virgule n. 1 a slanting line used to mark division of words or lines.
2 = SOLIDUS 1. [F, = comma, f. L virgula dimin. of virga rod]
adj. greenish, tending to become green. ЬЬviridescence n. [LL
viridescere f. L viridis: see VIRIDIAN]
viridian n. & adj. --n. 1 a bluish-green chromium oxide pigment. 2 the
colour of this. --adj. bluish-green. [L viridis green f.
virere be green]
viridity n. literary greenness, verdancy. [ME f. OF viridit‚ or L
viriditas f. viridis: see VIRIDIAN]
virile adj. 1 of or characteristic of a man; having masculine (esp.
sexual) vigour or strength. 2 of or having procreative power.
3 of a man as distinct from a woman or child. ЬЬvirility n.
[ME f. F viril or L virilis f. vir man]
virilism n. Med. the development of secondary male characteristics in a
female or precociously in a male.
viroid n. an infectious entity affecting plants, similar to a virus
but smaller and consisting only of nucleic acid without a
virology n. the scientific study of viruses. ЬЬvirological adj.
virologically adv. virologist n.
virtu n. (also vertu) 1 a knowledge of or expertise in the fine arts.
2 virtuosity. Ьarticle (or object) of virtu an article
interesting because of its workmanship, antiquity, rarity, etc.
[It. virt— VIRTUE, virtu]
virtual adj. 1 that is such for practical purposes though not in name
or according to strict definition (is the virtual manager of the
business; take this as a virtual promise). 2 Optics relating to
the points at which rays would meet if produced backwards
(virtual focus; virtual image). 3 Mech. relating to an
infinitesimal displacement of a point in a system. 4 Computing
not physically existing as such but made by software to appear
to do so (virtual memory). ЬЬvirtuality n. virtually adv. [ME
f. med.L virtualis f. L virtus after LL virtuosus]
virtue n. 1 moral excellence; uprightness, goodness. 2 a particular
form of this (patience is a virtue). 3 chastity, esp. of a
woman. 4 a good quality (has the virtue of being adjustable).
5 efficacy; inherent power (no virtue in such drugs). 6 an
angelic being of the seventh order of the celestial hierarchy
(see ORDER n. 19). Ьby (or in) virtue of on the strength or
ground of (got the job by virtue of his experience). make a
virtue of necessity derive some credit or benefit from an
unwelcome obligation. ЬЬvirtueless adj. [ME f. OF vertu f. L
virtus -tutis f. vir man]
virtuoso n. (pl. virtuosi or -os) 1 a a person highly skilled in the
technique of a fine art, esp. music. b (attrib.) displaying the
skills of a virtuoso. 2 a person with a special knowledge of or
taste for works of art or virtu. ЬЬvirtuosic adj. virtuosity
n. virtuosoship n. [It., = learned, skilful, f. LL (as
virtuous adj. 1 possessing or showing moral rectitude. 2 chaste.
Ьvirtuous circle a beneficial recurring cycle of cause and
effect (cf. vicious circle (see CIRCLE n. 11)). ЬЬvirtuously
adv. virtuousness n. [ME f. OF vertuous f. LL virtuosus f.
virulent adj. 1 strongly poisonous. 2 (of a disease) violent or
malignant. 3 bitterly hostile (virulent animosity; virulent
abuse). ЬЬvirulence n. virulently adv. [ME, orig. of a
poisoned wound, f. L virulentus (as VIRUS)]
virus n. 1 a microscopic organism consisting mainly of nucleic acid
in a protein coat, multiplying only in living cells and often
causing diseases. 2 Computing = computer virus. 3 archaic a
poison, a source of disease. 4 a harmful or corrupting
influence. [L, = slimy liquid, poison]
Vis. abbr. Viscount.
visa n. & v. --n. an endorsement on a passport etc. showing that it
has been found correct, esp. as allowing the holder to enter or
leave a country. --v.tr. (visas, visaed or visa'd, visaing)
mark with a visa. [F f. L visa neut. pl. past part. of videre
visage n. literary a face, a countenance. ЬЬvisaged adj. (also in
comb.). [ME f. OF f. L visus sight (as VISA)]
vis-…-vis prep., adv., & n. --prep. 1 in relation to. 2 opposite to.
--adv. facing one another. --n. (pl. same) 1 a person or thing
facing another, esp. in some dances. 2 a person occupying a
corresponding position in another group. 3 US a social partner.
[F, = face to face, f. vis face f. L (as VISAGE)]
Visc. abbr. Viscount.
viscacha n. (also vizcacha) any S. American burrowing rodent of the
genus Lagidium, having valuable fur. [Sp. f. Quechua
viscera n.pl. the interior organs in the great cavities of the body
(e.g. brain, heart, liver), esp. in the abdomen (e.g. the
intestines). [L, pl. of viscus: see VISCUS]
visceral adj. 1 of the viscera. 2 relating to inward feelings rather
than conscious reasoning. Ьvisceral nerve a sympathetic nerve
(see SYMPATHETIC adj. 9). ЬЬviscerally adv.
viscid adj. 1 glutinous, sticky. 2 semifluid. ЬЬviscidity n. [LL
viscidus f. L viscum birdlime]
n. an instrument for measuring the viscosity of liquids.
ЬЬviscometric adj. viscometrically adv. viscometry n. [var.
of viscosimeter (as VISCOSITY)]
viscose n. 1 a form of cellulose in a highly viscous state suitable for
drawing into yarn. 2 rayon made from this. [LL viscosus (as
viscosity n. (pl. -ies) 1 the quality or degree of being viscous. 2
Physics a (of a fluid) internal friction, the resistance to
flow. b a quantity expressing this. Ьdynamic viscosity a
quantity measuring the force needed to overcome internal
friction. kinematic viscosity a quantity measuring the dynamic
viscosity per unit density. ЬЬviscosimeter n. [ME f. OF
viscosit‚ or med.L viscositas (as VISCOUS)]
viscount n. a British nobleman ranking between an earl and a baron.
ЬЬviscountcy n. (pl. -ies). viscountship n. viscounty n.
(pl. -ies). [ME f. AF viscounte, OF vi(s)conte f. med.L
vicecomes -mitis (as VICE-, COUNT(2))]
n. 1 a viscount's wife or widow. 2 a woman holding the rank of
viscount in her own right.
viscous adj. 1 glutinous, sticky. 2 semifluid. 3 Physics having a
high viscosity; not flowing freely. ЬЬviscously adv.
viscousness n. [ME f. AF viscous or LL viscosus (as VISCID)]
viscus n. (pl. viscera) (usu. in pl.) any of the soft internal organs
of the body. [L]
vise US var. of VICE(2).
Vishnu n. a Hindu god regarded by his worshippers as the supreme deity
and saviour, by others as the second member of a triad with
Brahma and Siva. ЬЬVishnuism n. Vishnuite n. & adj. [Skr.
n. 1 the state of being visible. 2 the range or possibility of
vision as determined by the conditions of light and atmosphere
(visibility was down to 50 yards). [F visibilit‚ or LL
visibilitas f. L visibilis: see VISIBLE]
visible adj. 1 a that can be seen by the eye. b (of light) within the
range of wavelengths to which the eye is sensitive. 2 that can
be perceived or ascertained; apparent, open (has no visible
means of support; spoke with visible impatience). 3 (of exports
etc.) consisting of actual goods (cf. invisible exports). Ьthe
Church visible the whole body of professed Christian believers.
visible horizon see HORIZON 1b. ЬЬvisibleness n. visibly adv.
[ME f. OF visible or L visibilis f. videre vis- see]
Visigoth n. a West Goth, a member of the branch of the Goths who settled
in France and Spain in the 5th c. and ruled much of Spain until
711. [LL Visigothus]
vision n. & v. --n. 1 the act or faculty of seeing, sight (has
impaired his vision). 2 a a thing or person seen in a dream or
trance. b a supernatural or prophetic apparition. 3 a thing or
idea perceived vividly in the imagination (the romantic visions
of youth; had visions of warm sandy beaches). 4 imaginative
insight. 5 statesmanlike foresight; sagacity in planning. 6 a
person etc. of unusual beauty. 7 what is seen on a television
screen; television images collectively. --v.tr. see or present
in or as in a vision. Ьfield of vision all that comes into view
when the eyes are turned in some direction. vision-mixer a
person whose job is to switch from one image to another in
television broadcasting or recording. ЬЬvisional adj.
visionless adj. [ME f. OF f. L visio -onis (as VISIBLE)]
visionary adj. & n. --adj. 1 given to seeing visions or to indulging in
fanciful theories. 2 existing only in a vision or in the
imagination. 3 not practicable. --n. (pl. -ies) a visionary
person. ЬЬvisionariness n.
visit v. & n. --v. (visited, visiting) 1 a tr. (also absol.) go or
come to see (a person, place, etc.) as an act of friendship or
ceremony, on business or for a purpose, or from interest. b tr.
go or come to see for the purpose of official inspection,
supervision, consultation, or correction. 2 tr. reside
temporarily with (a person) or at (a place). 3 intr. be a
visitor. 4 tr. (of a disease, calamity, etc.) come upon,
attack. 5 tr. Bibl. a (foll. by with) punish (a person). b
(often foll. by upon) inflict punishment for (a sin). 6 intr.
US a (foll. by with) go to see (a person) esp. socially. b
(usu. foll. by with) converse, chat. 7 tr. archaic (often
foll. by with) comfort, bless (with salvation etc.). --n. 1 a
an act of visiting, a call on a person or at a place (was on a
visit to some friends; paid him a long visit). b temporary
residence with a person or at a place. 2 (foll. by to) an
occasion of going to a doctor, dentist, etc. 3 a formal or
official call for the purpose of inspection etc. 4 US a chat.
Ьright of visit = right of visitation (see VISITATION).
ЬЬvisitable adj. [ME f. OF visiter or L visitare go to see,
frequent. of visare view f. videre vis- see: (n.) perh. f. F
visitant n. & adj. --n. 1 a visitor, esp. a supposedly supernatural
one. 2 = VISITOR 2. --adj. archaic or poet. visiting. [F
visitant or L visitare (as VISIT)]
n. 1 an official visit of inspection, esp. a bishop's
examination of a church in his diocese. 2 trouble or difficulty
regarded as a divine punishment. 3 (Visitation) a the visit of
the Virgin Mary to Elizabeth related in Luke 1:39-56. b the
festival commemorating this on 2 July. 4 colloq. an unduly
protracted visit or social call. 5 the boarding of a vessel
belonging to another State to learn its character and purpose.
Ьright of visitation the right to conduct a visitation of a
vessel, not including the right of search. [ME f. OF visitation
or LL visitatio (as VISIT)]
adj. of an official visitor or visitation. [ult. f. L visitare
visiting n. & adj. --n. paying a visit or visits. --attrib.adj. (of an
academic) spending some time at another institution (a visiting
professor). Ьvisiting-card a card with a person's name etc.,
sent or left in lieu of a formal visit. visiting fireman (pl.
-men) US sl. a visitor given especially cordial treatment.
visitor n. 1 a person who visits a person or place. 2 a migratory bird
present in a locality for part of the year (winter visitor). 3
Brit. (in a college etc.) an official with the right or duty of
occasionally inspecting and reporting. Ьvisitors' book a book
in which visitors to a hotel, church, embassy, etc., write their
names and addresses and sometimes remarks. [ME f. AF visitour,
OF visiteur (as VISIT)]
adj. of an official visitor or visitation.
visor n. (also vizor) 1 a a movable part of a helmet covering the
face. b hist. a mask. c the projecting front part of a cap. 2
a shield (fixed or movable) to protect the eyes from unwanted
light, esp. one at the top of a vehicle windscreen. ЬЬvisored
adj. visorless adj. [ME f. AF viser, OF visiere f. vis face
f. L visus: see VISAGE]
vista n. 1 a long narrow view as between rows of trees. 2 a mental
view of a long succession of remembered or anticipated events
(opened up new vistas to his ambition). ЬЬvistaed adj. [It., =
view, f. visto seen, past part. of vedere see f. L videre]
visual adj. & n. --adj. of, concerned with, or used in seeing. --n.
(usu. in pl.) a visual image or display, a picture. Ьvisual aid
a film, model, etc., as an aid to learning. visual angle the
angle formed at the eye by rays from the extremities of an
object viewed. visual display unit Computing a device
displaying data as characters on a screen and usu. incorporating
a keyboard. visual field field of vision. visual purple a
light-sensitive pigment in the retina, rhodopsin. visual ray
Optics a line extended from an object to the eye. ЬЬvisuality
n. visually adv. [ME f. LL visualis f. L visus sight f.
visualize v.tr. (also -ise) 1 make visible esp. to one's mind (a thing
not visible to the eye). 2 make visible to the eye.
ЬЬvisualizable adj. visualization n.
vital adj. & n. --adj. 1 of, concerned with, or essential to organic
life (vital functions). 2 essential to the existence of a thing
or to the matter in hand (a vital question; secrecy is vital).
3 full of life or activity. 4 affecting life. 5 fatal to life
or to success etc. (a vital error). 6 disp. important. --n.
(in pl.) the body's vital organs, e.g. the heart and brain.
Ьvital capacity the volume of air that can be expelled from the
lungs after taking the deepest possible breath. vital force 1
(in Bergson's philosophy) life-force. 2 any mysterious vital
principle. vital power the power to sustain life. vital
statistics 1 the number of births, marriages, deaths, etc. 2
colloq. the measurements of a woman's bust, waist, and hips.
ЬЬvitally adv. [ME f. OF f. L vitalis f. vita life]
vitalism n. Biol. the doctrine that life originates in a vital
principle distinct from chemical and other physical forces.
ЬЬvitalist n. vitalistic adj. [F vitalisme or f. VITAL]
vitality n. 1 liveliness, animation. 2 the ability to sustain life,
vital power. 3 (of an institution, language, etc.) the ability
to endure and to perform its functions. [L vitalitas (as
vitalize v.tr. (also -ise) 1 endow with life. 2 infuse with vigour.
vitally adv. essentially, indispensably.
vitamin n. any of a group of organic compounds essential in small
amounts for many living organisms to maintain normal health and
development. Ьvitamin A = RETINOL. vitamin B complex (or B
vitamins) any of a group of vitamins which, although not
chemically related, are often found together in the same foods.
vitamin B = THIAMINE. vitamin B = RIBOFLAVIN. vitamin
B = PYRIDOXINE. vitamin B = CYANOCOBALAMIN. vitamin C =
ASCORBIC ACID. vitamin D any of a group of vitamins found in
liver and fish oils, essential for the absorption of calcium and
the prevention of rickets in children and osteomalacia in
adults. vitamin D = CALCIFEROL. vitamin D =
CHOLECALCIFEROL. vitamin E = TOCOPHEROL. vitamin K any of a
group of vitamins found mainly in green leaves and essential for
the blood-clotting process. vitamin K = PHYLLOQUINONE.
vitamin K = MENAQUINONE. vitamin M esp. US = FOLIC ACID.
[orig. vitamine f. L vita life + AMINE, because orig. thought
to contain an amino acid]
v.tr. (also -ise) add vitamins to.
vitellary adj. of or relating to the vitellus.
vitelli pl. of VITELLUS.
vitellin n. Chem. the chief protein constituent of the yolk of egg.
[VITELLUS + -IN]
vitelline adj. of the vitellus. Ьvitelline membrane the yolk-sac.
[med.L vitellinus (as VITELLUS)]
vitellus n. (pl. vitelli) 1 the yolk of an egg. 2 the contents of the
ovum. [L, = yolk]
vitiate v.tr. 1 impair the quality or efficiency of; corrupt, debase,
contaminate. 2 make invalid or ineffectual. ЬЬvitiation n.
vitiator n. [L vitiare f. vitium VICE(1)]
n. the cultivation of grapevines; the science or study of this.
ЬЬviticultural adj. viticulturist n. [L vitis vine + CULTURE]
vitreous adj. 1 of, or of the nature of, glass. 2 like glass in
hardness, brittleness, transparency, structure, etc. (vitreous
enamel). Ьvitreous humour (or body) Anat. a transparent
jelly-like tissue filling the eyeball. ЬЬvitreousness n. [L
vitreus f. vitrum glass]
adj. tending to become glass. ЬЬvitrescence n.
vitriform adj. having the form or appearance of glass.
vitrify v.tr. & intr. (-ies, -ied) convert or be converted into glass
or a glasslike substance esp. by heat. ЬЬvitrifaction n.
vitrifiable adj. vitrification n. [F vitrifier or med.L
vitrificare (as VITREOUS)]
vitriol n. 1 sulphuric acid or a sulphate, orig. one of glassy
appearance. 2 caustic or hostile speech, criticism, or feeling.
Ьcopper vitriol copper sulphate. oil of vitriol concentrated
sulphuric acid. [ME f. OF vitriol or med.L vitriolum f. L
vitriolic adj. (of speech or criticism) caustic or hostile.
vitta n. (pl. vittae) 1 Bot. an oil-tube in the fruit of some
plants. 2 Zool. a stripe of colour. ЬЬvittate adj. [L, =
v.tr. & intr. revile, abuse. ЬЬvituperation n. vituperative
adj. vituperator n. [L vituperare f. vitium VICE(1)]
viva(1) n. & v. Brit. colloq. --n. = VIVA VOCE n. --v.tr. (vivas,
vivaed or viva'd, vivaing) = VIVA VOCE v. [abbr.]
viva(2) int. & n. --int. long live. --n. a cry of this as a salute
etc. [It., 3rd sing. pres. subj. of vivere live f. L]
vivace adv. Mus. in a lively brisk manner. [It. f. L (as VIVACIOUS)]
vivacious adj. lively, sprightly, animated. ЬЬvivaciously adv.
vivaciousness n. vivacity n. [L vivax -acis f. vivere live]
vivarium n. (pl. vivaria) a place artificially prepared for keeping
animals in (nearly) their natural state. [L, = warren,
fishpond, f. vivus living f. vivere live]
vivat int. & n. = VIVA(2). [L, 3rd sing. pres. subj. of vivere live]
viva voce adj., adv., n., & v. --adj. oral. --adv. orally. --n. an oral
examination for an academic qualification. --v.tr. (viva-voce)
(-vocees, -voceed, -voceing) examine orally. [med.L, = with the
viverrid n. & adj. --n. any mammal of the family Viverridae, including
civets, mongooses, and genets. --adj. of or relating to this
family. [L viverra ferret + -ID(3)]
vivers n.pl. Sc. food, victuals. [F vivres f. vivre live f. L
vivid adj. 1 (of light or colour) strong, intense, glaring (a vivid
flash of lightning; of a vivid green). 2 (of a mental faculty,
impression, or description) clear, lively, graphic (has a vivid
imagination; have a vivid recollection of the scene). 3 (of a
person) lively, vigorous. ЬЬvividly adv. vividness n. [L
vividus f. vivere live]
vivify v.tr. (-ies, -ied) enliven, animate, make lively or living.
ЬЬvivification n. [F vivifier f. LL vivificare f. L vivus
living f. vivere live]
adj. 1 Zool. bringing forth young alive, not hatching them by
means of eggs (cf. OVIPAROUS). 2 Bot. producing bulbs or seeds
that germinate while still attached to the parent plant.
ЬЬviviparity n. viviparously adv. viviparousness n. [L
viviparus f. vivus: see VIVIFY]
vivisect v.tr. perform vivisection on. [back-form. f. VIVISECTION]
n. 1 dissection or other painful treatment of living animals
for purposes of scientific research. 2 unduly detailed or
ruthless criticism. ЬЬvivisectional adj. vivisectionist n.
vivisector n. [L vivus living (see VIVIFY), after DISSECTION
vixen n. 1 a female fox. 2 a spiteful or quarrelsome woman.
ЬЬvixenish adj. vixenly adj. [ME fixen f. OE, fem. of FOX]
viz. adv. (usu. introducing a gloss or explanation) namely; that is
to say; in other words (came to a firm conclusion, viz. that we
were right). [abbr. of VIDELICET, z being med.L symbol for
abbr. of -et]
vizard n. archaic a mask or disguise. [VISOR + -ARD]
vizcacha var. of VISCACHA.
vizier n. hist. a high official in some Muslim countries, esp. in
Turkey under Ottoman rule. ЬЬvizierate n. vizierial adj.
viziership n. [ult. f. Arab. wazir caliph's chief counsellor]
vocable n. a word, esp. with reference to form rather than meaning. [F
vocable or L vocabulum f. vocare call]
n. (pl. -ies) 1 the (principal) words used in a language or a
particular book or branch of science etc. or by a particular
author (scientific vocabulary; the vocabulary of Shakespeare).
2 a list of these, arranged alphabetically with definitions or
translations. 3 the range of words known to an individual (his
vocabulary is limited). 4 a set of artistic or stylistic forms
or techniques, esp. a range of set movements in ballet etc.
[med.L vocabularius, -um (as VOCABLE)]
vocal adj. & n. --adj. 1 of or concerned with or uttered by the
voice (a vocal communication). 2 expressing one's feelings
freely in speech (was very vocal about his rights). 3 Phonet.
voiced. 4 poet. (of trees, water, etc.) endowed with a voice or
a similar faculty. 5 (of music) written for or produced by the
voice with or without accompaniment (cf. INSTRUMENTAL). --n.
1 (in sing. or pl.) the sung part of a musical composition. 2 a
musical performance with singing. Ьvocal cords folds of the
lining membrane of the larynx near the opening of the glottis,
with edges vibrating in the air-stream to produce the voice.
vocal score a musical score showing the voice parts in full.
ЬЬvocality n. vocally adv. [ME f. L vocalis (as VOICE)]
vocalic adj. of or consisting of a vowel or vowels.
vocalism n. 1 the use of the voice in speaking or singing. 2 a vowel
sound or system.
vocalist n. a singer, esp. of jazz or popular songs.
vocalize v. (also -ise) 1 tr. a form (a sound) or utter (a word) with
the voice. b make sonant (f is vocalized into v). 2 intr.
utter a vocal sound. 3 tr. write (Hebrew etc.) with vowel
points. 4 intr. Mus. sing with several notes to one vowel.
ЬЬvocalization n. vocalizer n.
vocation n. 1 a strong feeling of fitness for a particular career or
occupation (in religious contexts regarded as a divine call). 2
a a person's employment, esp. regarded as requiring dedication.
b a trade or profession. [ME f. OF vocation or L vocatio f.
adj. 1 of or relating to an occupation or employment. 2 (of
education or training) directed at a particular occupation and
its skills. ЬЬvocationalism n. vocationalize v.tr. (also
-ise). vocationally adv.
vocative n. & adj. Gram. --n. the case of nouns, pronouns, and
adjectives used in addressing or invoking a person or thing.
--adj. of or in this case. [ME f. OF vocatif -ive or L
vocativus f. vocare call]
v. 1 tr. utter (words etc.) noisily. 2 intr. shout, bawl.
ЬЬvociferance n. vociferant adj. & n. vociferation n.
vociferator n. [L vociferari f. vox voice + ferre bear]
adj. 1 (of a person, speech, etc.) noisy, clamorous. 2
insistently and forcibly expressing one's views. ЬЬvociferously
adv. vociferousness n.
vocoder n. a synthesizer that produces sounds from an analysis of
speech input. [VOICE + CODE]
vodka n. an alcoholic spirit made esp. in Russia by distillation of
rye etc. [Russ., dimin. of voda water]
voe n. a small bay or creek in Orkney or Shetland. [Norw. vaag,
ON v gr]
vogue n. 1 (prec. by the) the prevailing fashion. 2 popular use or
currency (has had a great vogue). Ьin vogue in fashion,
generally current. vogue-word a word currently fashionable.
ЬЬvoguish adj. [F f. It. voga rowing, fashion f. vogare row,
voice n. & v. --n. 1 a sound formed in the larynx etc. and uttered
by the mouth, esp. human utterance in speaking, shouting,
singing, etc. (heard a voice; spoke in a low voice). b the
ability to produce this (has lost her voice). 2 a the use of
the voice; utterance, esp. in spoken or written words (esp.
give voice). b an opinion so expressed. c the right to express
an opinion (I have no voice in the matter). d an agency by
which an opinion is expressed. 3 Gram. a form or set of forms
of a verb showing the relation of the subject to the action
(active voice; passive voice). 4 Mus. a a vocal part in a
composition. b a constituent part in a fugue. 5 Phonet. sound
uttered with resonance of the vocal cords, not with mere breath.
6 (usu. in pl.) the supposed utterance of an invisible guiding
or directing spirit. --v.tr. 1 give utterance to; express (the
letter voices our opinion). 2 (esp. as voiced adj.) Phonet.
utter with vibration of the vocal cords (e.g. b, d, g, v, z).
3 Mus. regulate the tone-quality of (organ-pipes). Ьin voice
(or good voice) in proper vocal condition for singing or
speaking. voice-box the larynx. the voice of God the
expression of God's will, wrath, etc. voice-over narration in a
film etc. not accompanied by a picture of the speaker.
voice-print a visual record of speech, analysed with respect to
frequency, duration, and amplitude. voice vote US a vote taken
by noting the relative strength of calls of aye and no. with
one voice unanimously. ЬЬ-voiced adj. voicer n. (in sense 3 of
v.). [ME f. AF voiz, OF vois f. L vox vocis]
voiceful adj. poet. or rhet. 1 vocal. 2 sonorous.
voiceless adj. 1 dumb, mute, speechless. 2 Phonet. uttered without
vibration of the vocal cords (e.g. f, k, p, s, t).
ЬЬvoicelessly adv. voicelessness n.
void adj., n., & v. --adj. 1 a empty, vacant. b (foll. by of)
lacking; free from (a style void of affectation). 2 esp. Law
(of a contract, deed, promise, etc.) invalid, not binding (null
and void). 3 useless, ineffectual. 4 (often foll. by in) Cards
(of a hand) having no cards in a given suit. 5 (of an office)
vacant (esp. fall void). --n. 1 an empty space, a vacuum
(vanished into the void; cannot fill the void made by death). 2
an unfilled space in a wall or building. 3 (often foll. by in)
Cards the absence of cards in a particular suit. --v.tr. 1
render invalid. 2 (also absol.) excrete. ЬЬvoidable adj.
voidness n. [ME f. OF dial. voide, OF vuide, vuit, rel. to L
vacare VACATE: v. partly f. AVOID, partly f. OF voider]
voidance n. 1 Eccl. a vacancy in a benefice. 2 the act or an instance
of voiding; the state of being voided. [ME f. OF (as VOID)]
voided adj. Heraldry (of a bearing) having the central area cut away
so as to show the field.
voile n. a thin semi-transparent dress-material of cotton, wool, or
silk. [F, = VEIL]
vol. abbr. volume.
volant adj. 1 Zool. flying, able to fly. 2 Heraldry represented as
flying. 3 literary nimble, rapid. [F f. voler f. L volare
volar adj. Anat. of the palm or sole. [L vola hollow of hand or
volatile adj. & n. --adj. 1 evaporating rapidly (volatile salts). 2
changeable, fickle. 3 lively, light-hearted. 4 apt to break
out into violence. 5 transient. --n. a volatile substance.
Ьvolatile oil = essential oil. ЬЬvolatileness n. volatility n.
[OF volatil or L volatilis f. volare volat- fly]
v. (also -ise) 1 tr. cause to evaporate. 2 intr. evaporate.
ЬЬvolatilizable adj. volatilization n.
n. a (usu. small) round case of puff pastry filled with meat,
fish, etc., and sauce. [F, lit. 'flight in the wind']
volcanic adj. (also vulcanic) of, like, or produced by a volcano.
Ьvolcanic bomb a mass of ejected lava usu. rounded and sometimes
hollow. volcanic glass obsidian. ЬЬvolcanically adv.
volcanicity n. [F volcanique f. volcan VOLCANO]
volcano n. (pl. -oes) 1 a mountain or hill having an opening or
openings in the earth's crust through which lava, cinders,
steam, gases, etc., are or have been expelled continuously or at
intervals. 2 a a state of things likely to cause a violent
outburst. b a violent esp. suppressed feeling. [It. f. L
Volcanus Vulcan, Roman god of fire]
var. of VULCANOLOGY.
vole(1) n. any small ratlike or mouselike plant-eating rodent of the
family Cricetidae. [orig. vole-mouse f. Norw. f. voll field +
vole(2) n. archaic the winning of all tricks at cards. [F f. voler
fly f. L volare]
volet n. a panel or wing of a triptych. [F f. voler fly f. L
volitant adj. Zool. volant. [L volitare frequent. of volare fly]
volition n. 1 the exercise of the will. 2 the power of willing. Ьof
(or by) one's own volition voluntarily. ЬЬvolitional adj.
volitionally adv. volitive adj. [F volition or med.L volitio
f. volo I wish]
n. a migration of peoples, esp. that of Germanic and Slavic
peoples into Europe from the second to the eleventh centuries.
volley n. & v. --n. (pl. -eys) 1 a the simultaneous discharge of a
number of weapons. b the bullets etc. discharged in a volley.
2 (usu. foll. by of) a noisy emission of oaths etc. in quick
succession. 3 Tennis the return of a ball in play before it
touches the ground. 4 Football the kicking of a ball in play
before it touches the ground. 5 Cricket a a ball pitched right
up to the batsman or the stumps without bouncing. b the
pitching of the ball in this way. --v. (-eys, -eyed) 1 tr.
(also absol.) Tennis & Football return or send (a ball) by a
volley. 2 tr. & absol. discharge (bullets, abuse, etc.) in a
volley. 3 intr. (of bullets etc.) fly in a volley. 4 intr. (of
guns etc.) sound together. 5 intr. make a sound like a volley
of artillery. ЬЬvolleyer n. [F vol‚e ult. f. L volare fly]
n. a game for two teams of six hitting a large ball by hand
over a net.
volplane n. & v. Aeron. --n. a glide. --v.intr. glide. [F vol plan‚
f. vol flight + plan‚ past part. of planer hover, rel. to
vols. abbr. volumes.
volt(1) n. the SI unit of electromotive force, the difference of
potential that would carry one ampere of current against one ohm
resistance. °Abbr.: V. [A. Volta, It. physicist d. 1827]
volt(2) v. & n. --v.intr. Fencing make a volte. --n. var. of VOLTE.
[F volter (as VOLTE)]
voltage n. electromotive force or potential difference expressed in
voltaic adj. archaic of electricity from a primary battery; galvanic
n. an instrument for measuring an electric charge.
volte n. (also volt) 1 Fencing a quick movement to escape a thrust.
2 a sideways circular movement of a horse. [F f. It. volta
turn, fem. past part. of volgere turn f. L volvere roll]
n. 1 a complete reversal of position in argument or opinion. 2
the act or an instance of turning round. [F f. It.
voltafaccia, ult. f. L volvere roll + facies appearance, face]
voltmeter n. an instrument for measuring electric potential in volts.
voluble adj. 1 speaking or spoken vehemently, incessantly, or fluently
(voluble spokesman; voluble excuses). 2 Bot. twisting round a
support, twining. ЬЬvolubility n. volubleness n. volubly adv.
[F voluble or L volubilis f. volvere roll]
volume n. 1 a a set of sheets of paper, usu. printed, bound together
and forming part or the whole of a work or comprising several
works (issued in three volumes; a library of 12,000 volumes). b
hist. a scroll of papyrus etc., an ancient form of book. 2 a
solid content, bulk. b the space occupied by a gas or liquid.
c (foll. by of) an amount or quantity (large volume of
business). 3 a quantity or power of sound. b fullness of tone.
4 (foll. by of) a a moving mass of water etc. b (usu. in pl.) a
wreath or coil or rounded mass of smoke etc. ЬЬvolumed adj.
(also in comb.). [ME f. OF volum(e) f. L volumen -minis roll f.
volvere to roll]
adj. of or relating to measurement by volume. ЬЬvolumetrically
adv. [VOLUME + METRIC]
adj. 1 large in volume; bulky. 2 (of drapery etc.) loose and
ample. 3 consisting of many volumes. 4 (of a writer) producing
many books. ЬЬvoluminosity n. voluminously adv.
voluminousness n. [LL voluminosus (as VOLUME)]
n. 1 the principle of relying on voluntary action rather than
compulsion. 2 Philos. the doctrine that the will is a
fundamental or dominant factor in the individual or the
universe. 3 hist. the doctrine that the Church or schools
should be independent of the State and supported by voluntary
contributions. ЬЬvoluntarist n. [irreg. f. VOLUNTARY]
voluntary adj. & n. --adj. 1 done, acting, or able to act of one's own
free will; not constrained or compulsory, intentional (a
voluntary gift). 2 unpaid (voluntary work). 3 (of an
institution) supported by voluntary contributions. 4 Brit. (of
a school) built by a voluntary institution but maintained by a
local education authority. 5 brought about, produced, etc., by
voluntary action. 6 (of a movement, muscle, or limb) controlled
by the will. 7 (of a confession by a criminal) not prompted by
a promise or threat. 8 Law (of a conveyance or disposition)
made without return in money or other consideration. --n. (pl.
-ies) 1 a an organ solo played before, during, or after a church
service. b the music for this. c archaic an extempore
performance esp. as a prelude to other music. 2 (in
competitions) a special performance left to the performer's
choice. 3 hist. a person who holds that the Church or schools
should be independent of the State and supported by voluntary
contributions. ЬVoluntary Aid Detachment (in the UK) a group of
organized voluntary first-aid and nursing workers. Voluntary
Service Overseas a British organization promoting voluntary work
in underdeveloped countries. ЬЬvoluntarily adv. voluntariness
n. [ME f. OF volontaire or L voluntarius f. voluntas will]
n. hist. = VOLUNTARISM 1, 3. ЬЬvoluntaryist n.
volunteer n. & v. --n. 1 a person who voluntarily undertakes a task or
enters military or other service, esp. Mil. hist. a member of
any of the corps of voluntary soldiers formerly organized in the
UK and provided with instructors, arms, etc., by the State. 2
(usu. attrib.) a self-sown plant. --v. 1 tr. (often foll. by
to + infin.) undertake or offer (one's services, a remark or
explanation, etc.) voluntarily. 2 intr. (often foll. by for)
make a voluntary offer of one's services; be a volunteer. [F
volontaire (as VOLUNTARY), assim. to -EER]
n. & adj. --n. (pl. -ies) a person given up to luxury and
sensual pleasure. --adj. concerned with luxury and sensual
pleasure. [L volupt(u)arius (as VOLUPTUOUS)]
adj. of, tending to, occupied with, or derived from, sensuous
or sensual pleasure. ЬЬvoluptuously adv. voluptuousness n.
[ME f. OF voluptueux or L voluptuosus f. voluptas pleasure]
volute n. & adj. --n. 1 Archit. a spiral scroll characteristic of
Ionic capitals and also used in Corinthian and composite
capitals. 2 a any marine gastropod mollusc of the genus Voluta.
b the spiral shell of this. --adj. esp. Bot. rolled up.
ЬЬvoluted adj. [F volute or L voluta fem. past part. of volvere
volution n. 1 a rolling motion. 2 a spiral turn. 3 a whorl of a spiral
shell. 4 Anat. a convolution. [as VOLUTE, after REVOLUTION
vomer n. Anat. the small thin bone separating the nostrils in man
and most vertebrates. [L, = ploughshare]
vomit v. & n. --v.tr. (vomited, vomiting) 1 (also absol.) eject
(matter) from the stomach through the mouth. 2 (of a volcano,
chimney, etc.) eject violently, belch forth. --n. 1 matter
vomited from the stomach. 2 archaic an emetic. ЬЬvomiter n.
[ME ult. f. L vomere vomit- or frequent. L vomitare]
n. (pl. vomitoria) Rom. Antiq. a vomitory. [L; see VOMITORY]
vomitory adj. & n. --adj. emetic. --n. (pl. -ies) Rom. Antiq. each of
a series of passages for entrance and exit in an amphitheatre or
theatre. [L vomitorius (adj.), -um (n.) (as VOMIT)]
V-1 n. hist. a type of German flying bomb used in the war of
1939-45. [abbr. of G Vergeltungswaffe reprisal weapon]
voodoo n. & v. --n. 1 use of or belief in religious witchcraft as
practised among Blacks esp. in the W. Indies. 2 a person
skilled in this. 3 a voodoo spell. --v.tr. (voodoos,
voodooed) affect by voodoo; bewitch. ЬЬvoodooism n. voodooist
n. [Dahomey vodu]
voracious adj. 1 greedy in eating, ravenous. 2 very eager in some
activity (a voracious reader). ЬЬvoraciously adv.
voraciousness n. voracity n. [L vorax f. vorare devour]
-vorous comb. form forming adjectives meaning 'feeding on'
(carnivorous). ЬЬ-vora comb. form forming names of groups.
-vore comb. form forming names of individuals. [L -vorus f.
vortex n. (pl. vortexes or vortices) 1 a mass of whirling fluid, esp.
a whirlpool or whirlwind. 2 any whirling motion or mass. 3 a
system, occupation, pursuit, etc., viewed as swallowing up or
engrossing those who approach it (the vortex of society). 4
Physics a portion of fluid whose particles have rotatory motion.
Ьvortex-ring a vortex whose axis is a closed curve, e.g. a
smoke-ring. ЬЬvortical adj. vortically adv. vorticity n.
vorticose adj. vorticular adj. [L vortex -icis eddy, var. of
n. any sedentary protozoan of the family Vorticellidae,
consisting of a tubular stalk with a bell-shaped ciliated
opening. [mod.L, dimin. of VORTEX]
vorticist n. 1 Art a painter, writer, etc., of a school influenced by
futurism and using the 'vortices' of modern civilization as a
basis. 2 Metaphysics a person regarding the universe, with
Descartes, as a plenum in which motion propagates itself in
circles. ЬЬvorticism n.
votary n. (pl. -ies; fem. votaress) (usu. foll. by of) 1 a person
vowed to the service of God or a god or cult. 2 a devoted
follower, adherent, or advocate of a person, system, occupation,
etc. ЬЬvotarist n. [L vot-: see VOTE]
vote n. & v. --n. 1 a formal expression of choice or opinion by
means of a ballot, show of hands, etc., concerning a choice of
candidate, approval of a motion or resolution, etc. (let us take
a vote on it; gave my vote to the independent candidate). 2
(usu. prec. by the) the right to vote, esp. in a State election.
3 a an opinion expressed by a majority of votes. b Brit. money
granted by a majority of votes. 4 the collective votes that are
or may be given by or for a particular group (will lose the
Welsh vote; the Conservative vote increased). 5 a ticket etc.
used for recording a vote. --v. 1 intr. (often foll. by for,
against, or to + infin.) give a vote. 2 tr. a (often foll. by
that + clause) enact or resolve by a majority of votes. b grant
(a sum of money) by a majority of votes. c cause to be in a
specified position by a majority of votes (was voted off the
committee). 3 tr. colloq. pronounce or declare by general
consent (was voted a failure). 4 tr. (often foll. by that +
clause) colloq. announce one's proposal (I vote that we all go
home). Ьput to a (or the) vote submit to a decision by voting.
vote down defeat (a proposal etc.) in a vote. vote in elect by
votes. vote of censure = vote of no confidence. vote of
confidence (or no confidence) a vote showing that the majority
support (or do not support) the policy of the governing body
etc. vote with one's feet colloq. indicate an opinion by one's
presence or absence. voting-machine (esp. in the US) a machine
for the automatic registering of votes. voting-paper a paper
used in voting by ballot. voting stock stock entitling the
holder to a vote. ЬЬvotable adj. voteless adj. [ME f. past
part. stem vot- of L vovere vow]
voter n. 1 a person with the right to vote at an election. 2 a
votive adj. offered or consecrated in fulfilment of a vow (votive
offering; votive picture). Ьvotive mass Eccl. a mass
celebrated for a special purpose or occasion. [L votivus (as
vouch v. 1 intr. (foll. by for) answer for, be surety for (will vouch
for the truth of this; can vouch for him; could not vouch for
his honesty). 2 tr. archaic cite as an authority. 3 tr.
archaic confirm or uphold (a statement) by evidence or
assertion. [ME f. OF vo(u)cher summon etc., ult. f. L vocare
voucher n. 1 a document which can be exchanged for goods or services as
a token of payment made or promised by the holder or another. 2
a document establishing the payment of money or the truth of
accounts. 3 a person who vouches for a person, statement, etc.
[AF voucher (as VOUCH) or f. VOUCH]
vouchsafe v.tr. formal 1 condescend to give or grant (vouchsafed me no
answer). 2 (foll. by to + infin.) condescend. [ME f. VOUCH in
sense 'warrant' + SAFE]
voussoir n. each of the wedge-shaped or tapered stones forming an arch.
[OF vossoir etc. f. pop.L volsorium ult. f. L volvere roll]
vow n. & v. --n. 1 Relig. a solemn promise esp. in the form of an
oath to God or another deity or to a saint. 2 (in pl.) the
promises by which a monk or nun is bound to poverty, chastity,
and obedience. 3 a promise of fidelity (lovers' vows; marriage
vows). 4 (usu. as baptismal vows) the promises given at baptism
by the baptized person or by sponsors. --v.tr. 1 promise
solemnly (vowed obedience). 2 dedicate to a deity. 3 (also
absol.) archaic declare solemnly. Ьunder a vow having made a
vow. [ME f. AF v(o)u, OF vo(u), f. L (as VOTE): (v.) f. OF
vouer, in sense 2 partly f. AVOW]
vowel n. 1 a speech-sound made with vibration of the vocal cords but
without audible friction, more open than a consonant and capable
of forming a syllable. 2 a letter or letters representing this,
as a, e, i, o, u, aw, ah. Ьvowel gradation = ABLAUT. vowel
mutation = UMLAUT 2. vowel-point each of a set of marks
indicating vowels in Hebrew etc. ЬЬvowelled adj. (also in
comb.). vowelless adj. vowelly adj. [ME f. OF vouel, voiel f.
L vocalis (littera) VOCAL (letter)]
vowelize v.tr. (also -ise) insert the vowels in (shorthand, Hebrew,
n. an organ-stop with a soft tremulous tone. [LL, = angelic
n. an organ-stop with a tone supposed to resemble a human
voice. [L, = human voice]
vox pop n. Broadcasting colloq. popular opinion as represented by
informal comments from members of the public; statements or
interviews of this kind. [abbr. of VOX POPULI]
n. public opinion, the general verdict, popular belief or
rumour. [L, = the people's voice]
voyage n. & v. --n. 1 a journey, esp. a long one by water, air, or in
space. 2 an account of this. --v. 1 intr. make a voyage. 2
tr. traverse, esp. by water or air. ЬЬvoyageable adj. voyager
n. [ME f. AF & OF veiage, voiage f. L viaticum]
voyageur n. a Canadian boatman, esp. hist. one employed in transporting
goods and passengers between trading posts. [F, = voyager (as
voyeur n. a person who obtains sexual gratification from observing
others' sexual actions or organs. ЬЬvoyeurism n. voyeuristic
adj. voyeuristically adj. [F f. voir see]
V-sign n. 1 Brit. a sign of the letter V made with the first two
fingers pointing up and the back of the hand facing outwards, as
a gesture of abuse, contempt, etc. 2 a similar sign made with
the palm of the hand facing outwards, as a symbol of victory.
vug n. a rock-cavity lined with crystals. ЬЬvuggy adj. vugular
adj. [Corn. vooga]
vulcanic var. of VOLCANIC.
vulcanite n. a hard black vulcanized rubber, ebonite. [as VULCANIZE]
vulcanize v.tr. (also -ise) treat (rubber or rubberlike material) with
sulphur etc. esp. at a high temperature to increase its
strength. ЬЬvulcanizable adj. vulcanization n. vulcanizer n.
[Vulcan, Roman god of fire and metal-working]
n. (also volcanology) the scientific study of volcanoes.
ЬЬvulcanological adj. vulcanologist n.
vulgar adj. 1 a of or characteristic of the common people, plebeian.
b coarse in manners; low (vulgar expressions; vulgar tastes). 2
in common use; generally prevalent (vulgar errors). Ьvulgar
fraction a fraction expressed by numerator and denominator, not
decimally. vulgar Latin informal Latin of classical times. the
vulgar tongue the national or vernacular language, esp. formerly
as opposed to Latin. ЬЬvulgarly adv. [ME f. L vulgaris f.
vulgus common people]
vulgarian n. a vulgar (esp. rich) person.
vulgarism n. 1 a word or expression in coarse or uneducated use. 2 an
instance of coarse or uneducated behaviour.
vulgarity n. (pl. -ies) 1 the quality of being vulgar. 2 an instance of
vulgarize v.tr. (also -ise) 1 make (a person, manners, etc.) vulgar,
infect with vulgarity. 2 spoil (a scene, sentiment, etc.) by
making it too common, frequented, or well known. 3 popularize.
Vulgate n. 1 a the Latin version of the Bible prepared mainly by St
Jerome in the late fourth century. b the official Roman
Catholic Latin text as revised in 1592. 2 (vulgate) the
traditionally accepted text of any author. 3 (vulgate) common
or colloquial speech. [L vulgata (editio edition), fem. past
part. of vulgare make public f. vulgus: see VULGAR]
adj. 1 that may be wounded or harmed. 2 (foll. by to) exposed
to damage by a weapon, criticism, etc. 3 Bridge having won one
game towards rubber and therefore liable to higher penalties.
ЬЬvulnerability n. vulnerableness n. vulnerably adv. [LL
vulnerabilis f. L vulnerare to wound f. vulnus -eris wound]
vulnerary adj. & n. --adj. useful or used for the healing of wounds.
--n. (pl. -ies) a vulnerary drug, plant, etc. [L vulnerarius
f. vulnus: see VULNERABLE]
vulpine adj. 1 of or like a fox. 2 crafty, cunning. [L vulpinus f.
vulture n. 1 any of various large birds of prey of the family
Cathartidae or Accipitridae, with the head and neck more or less
bare of feathers, feeding chiefly on carrion and reputed to
gather with others in anticipation of a death. 2 a rapacious
person. ЬЬvulturine adj. vulturish adj. vulturous adj. [ME
f. AF vultur, OF voltour etc., f. L vulturius]
vulva n. (pl. vulvas) Anat. the external female genitals, esp. the
external opening of the vagina. ЬЬvulvar adj. vulvitis n. [L,