V

vacation: American officially sanctioned period of time away from work (UK “holiday”). From Latin “vacare” = free or at leisure.

vacillate: To sway from one side to the other, physically or in a discussion. From Latin “vacillare”=to sway to and fro.

vagrant: Homeless wanderer. From Middle English “vagraunt”=wanderer < Latin “vagari”=to wander.

valkyrie: Norse mythological female warriors who lead the dead to Valhalla. From Old Norse “valr”=those slain in battle + “kyrja”=chooser.

vapid: Dull, tedious, flat, and without liveliness. From Latin “vapidus”=flat or insipid.

vat: Large container used to store liquids or even to ferment. From Old English “faet”=container.

vegetarian: Animal, or person, that eats vegetables. From Latin “vegere”=to be alive + suffix “=related to a person.

vegetate: Lead a dull, monotonous existence, devoid of intellectual activity; live like a vegetable. From Latin “vegetare”=to enliven.

Velcro®: a trademark for a hook-and-loop fastening material. From the initial syllables of French “velours”=velvet + “crochet”=hook.

venereal: Feelings related to sexual pleasure. From Latin “Venus”=goddess of love. Astrological trait of people born under the planet Venus.

ventriloquist: Entertainer who can speak without moving their lips. From Latin “venter”=belly + “loqui”=to speak + “-ist”=someone who…

verb: Word used typically to express an action, occurrence, or mode of being. From Latin “verbum”=word.

verecund: Modest, bashful, or shy. From Latin “verecundus” < “vereri”=to reverence or to fear.

vertigo: Reeling sensation; a feeling that you are about to fall. From Latin “vertigo”=dizziness < “vertere”=to turn.

veteran: Person with long experience in a field; usually used to refer to soldiers. From Latin “veteranus”=old.

vex: To anger, irritate, or harass. From Old French “vexer” < Latin “vexere”=to shake, agitate, or disturb.

vigilant: Wakeful, watchful, be on the alert. From Latin “vigilare”=to keep awake < “vigil”=awake.

vignette: Small illustrative sketch at the beginning of books. Old French “vignet”=ornament of vine images < Latin “vinum”=wine.

village: Habitation larger than a hamlet, smaller than a town. From Old French “village” < Latin “villaticus”=about a farmstead or house,

virago: loud, overbearing woman OR heroic woman! From Latin “vir”=man + “-ago” suffix meaning “like” or “similar to.”

vitiate: Take away the legal force of or render ineffective. Old French “vice” < Latin “vitium”=fault, defect, or failing.

vodka: Alcoholic drink from grain but most often potatoes. From Russian “vodka”=little water < “voda”=water + “-ka”=diminutive.

voluptuous: Attractive and having a curvaceous, full figure. From Latin “voluptuosus”=full of pleasure < “voluptas”=pleasure, delight.

vomit: Act of emptying the contents of the stomach, possibly after nausea. From Latin “vomere”=spew forth or discharge.

voodoo: type of Caribbean witchcraft, also US Louisiana. Cajun French “voudou” from West African “vodu”=protective demon.

vote: Express a preference for a candidate, measure or resolution. From Latin “votum”=a promise < “vovere”=to vow.

voyage: An act of traveling from place to place. From Old French “veiage”=travel or journey < Latin “viaticum”=provisions for a journey.

vulgar: Lacking in cultivation, perception, or taste; common. From Latin “vulgus”=common people.

vulpicide: The killing of a fox. From Latin “vulpes”=fox + “-cide”=”killer, slayer, or cutter.