Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary




V is the twenty second letter of the English Alphabet, and a labial articulation, formed by the junction of the upper teeth with the lower lip, as in pronouncing av, ev, ov, vain. It is not a close articulation, but one that admits of some sound. It is nearly allied to F, being formed by the same organs; but V is vocal, and F is aspirate, and this constitutes the principal difference between them. V and U were formerly the same letter, derived no doubt from the oriental vau or waw, but they have now as distinct uses as any two letters in the alphabet, and are therefore to be considered as different letters. V has one sound only, as in ver, vote, lavish.

As a numeral, V stand for 5. With a dash over it, in old books, it stands for 5000.

V.R. among the Romans, stood for uti rogas, as you desire; V.C. for vir consularis; V.G. for verbi gratia; V.L. for videlicet.

In music for instruments, V. stands for violin; V.V. for violins.

VACANCY, n. [L. vacans, from vaco, to be empty; Heb. to empty.]

1. Empty space; vacuity. [In this sense, vacuity is now generally used.]

2. Chasm; void space between bodies or objects; as a vacancy between two beams or boards in a building; a vacancy between two buildings; a vacancy between words in a writing.

3. The state of being destitute of an incumbent; want of the regular officer to officiate in a place. Hence also it signifies the office, post or benefice which is destitute of an incumbent; as a vacancy in a parish; vacancies in the treasury of war office. There is no vacancy on the bench of the supreme court.

4. Time of leisure; freedom from employment; intermission of business.

Those little vacancies from toils are sweet.

5. Listlessness; emptiness of thought.

6. A place or office not occupied, or destitute of a person to fill it; as a vacancy in a school.

VACANT, a. [L. vacans.]

1. Empty; not filled; void of every substance except air; as a vacant space between houses; vacant room.

2. Empty; exhausted of air; as a vacant receiver.

3. Free; unincumbered; unengaged with business or care.

Philosophy is the interest of those only who are vacant from the affairs of the world.

4. Not filled or occupied with an incumbent or possessor; as a vacant throne; a vacant parish.

5. Being unoccupied with business; as vacant hours; vacant moments.

6. Empty of thought; thoughtless; not occupied with study or reflection; as a vacant mind.

7. Indicating want of thought.

The duke had a pleasant and vacant face.

8. In law, abandoned; having no heir; as vacant effect or goods.

VACATE, v.t.

1. To annul; to made void; to make of no authority or validity; as, to vacate a charter.

The necessity of observing the Jewish sabbath was vacated by the apostolical institution of the Lord’s day.

2. To make vacant; to quit possession and leave destitute. It was resolved by parliament that James had vacated the throne of England.

3. To defeat; to put an end to.

He vacates my revenge. [Unusual.]

VACATED, pp. Annulled; made void; made vacant.

VACATING, ppr. Making void; making vacant.

VACATION, n. [L. vacatio.]

1. The act of making void, vacant, or of no validity; as the vacation of a charter.

2. Intermission of judicial proceedings; the space of time between the end of one term and the beginning of the next; non-term.

3. The intermission of the regular studies and exercises of a college or other seminary, when the students have a recess.

4. Intermission of a stated employment.

5. The time when a see or other spiritual dignity is vacant.

During the vacation of a bishopric, the dean and chapter are guardians of the spiritualities.

6. Leisure; freedom from trouble or perplexity. [Now little used.]

VACCARY, n. [L. vacca, a cow.] An old word signifying a cow house, dairy house, or a cow pasture.

VACILLANCY, n. [L. vacillans, from vacillo, to waver, Eng. to waggle, from the root of wag, which see.]

A state of wavering; fluctuation; inconstancy.

VACILLANT, a. [supra.] Wavering; fluctuating; unsteady.

VACILLATE, v.i. [L. vacillo; Eng. to waggle, a diminutive of wag. See Wag.]

1. To waver; to move one way and the other; to reel or stagger.

2. To fluctuate in mind or opinion; to waver; to be unsteady or inconstant.


1. Wavering; reeling; fluctuating.

2. a. Unsteady; inclined to fluctuate.

VACILLATION, n. [L. vacillatio.]

1. A wavering; a moving one way and the other; a reeling or staggering.

2. Fluctuation of mind; unsteadiness; change from one object to another.

VACCINATE, v.t. [L. vacca, a cow.] To inoculate with the cow-pox, or a virus originally taken from cows, called vaccine matter.

VACCINATED, pp. Inoculated with the cow-pox.

VACCINATING, ppr. Inoculating with the cow-pox.

VACCINATION, n. The act, art or practice of inoculating persons with the cow-pox.

VACCINE, a. [L. vaccinus, from vacca, a cow.]

Pertaining to cows; originating with or derived from cows; as the vaccine disease or cow-pox.

VACUATION, n. [L. vacuo.] The act of emptying. [Little used.] [See Evacuation.]

VACUIST, n. [from vacuum.] One who holds to the doctrine of a vacuum in nature; opposed to a plenist.

VACUITY, n. [L. vacuitas, from vacuus.]

1. Emptiness; a state of being unfilled.

Hunger is such a state of vacuity as to require a fresh supply.

2. Space unfilled or unoccupied, or occupied with an invisible fluid only.

3. Emptiness; void.

God only can fill every vacuity of the soul.

4. Inanity; emptiness; want of reality.

5. Vacuum, which see.

VACUOUS, a. Empty; unfilled; void.

VACUOUSNESS, n. The state of being empty.

VACUUM, n. [L.] Space empty or devoid of all matter or body. Whether there is such a thing as an absolute vacuum in nature, is a question which has been much controverted. The Peripatetics assert that nature abhors a vacuum.

Torricellian vacuum, the vacuum produced by filling a tube with mercury, and allowing it to descend till it is counterbalanced by the weight of the atmosphere, as in the barometer invented by Torricelli.

VADE, v.i. [L. vado.] To vanish; to pass away. [Not in use.]

VADE-MECUM, n. [L. go with me.] A book or other thing that a person carries with him as a constant companion; a manual.

VAGABOND, a. [L. vagabundus, from vagor, to wander; from the root of wag.]

1. Wandering; moving from place to place without any settled habitation; as a vagabond exile.

2. Wandering; floating about without any certain direction; driven to and fro.

Like to a vagabond flag upon the stream.

VAGABOND, n. [supra.] A vagrant; one who wanders from town to town or place to place, having no certain dwelling, or not abiding in it. By the laws of England and of the United States, vagabonds are liable to be taken up and punished.

VAGABONDRY, n. A state of wandering in idleness.

VAGARY, n. [L. vagus, wandering.] A wandering of the thoughts; a wild freak; a whim; a whimsical purpose.

They chang’d their minds, flew off, and into strange vagaries fell.

VAGIENT, a. [L. vagiens.] Crying like a child. [Not in use.]

VAGINAL, a. [L. vagina, a sheath. See Wain.]

Pertaining to a sheath, or resembling a sheath; as a vaginal membrane.

VAGINANT, a. [L. vagina.] In botany, sheathing; as a vaginant leaf, one investing the stem or branch by its base, which has the form of a tube.

VAGINATED, a. In botany, sheathed; invested by the tubular base of the leaf; as a stem.

VAGINOPENNOUS, a. [L. vagina and penna.]

Having the wings covered with a hard case or sheath, as insects.

VAGOUS, a. [L. vagus.] Wandering; unsettled. [Little used.]

VAGRANCY, n. [from vagrant.] A state of wandering without a settled home. Vagrancy in idle strollers or vagabonds, is punishable by law.

VAGRANT, a. [L. vagor.]

1. Wandering from place to place without any settled habitation; as a vagrant beggar.

2. Wandering; unsettled; moving without any certain direction.

That beauteous Emma vagrant courses took.

VAGRANT, n. An idle wanderer; a vagabond; one who strolls from place to place; a sturdy beggar; one who has no settled habitation, or who does not abide in it.

Vagrants and outlaws shall offend thy view.

VAGUE, a. vag. [L. vagus, wandering.]

1. Wandering; vagrant; vagabond; as vague villains. [In this literal sense, not used.]

2. Unsettled; unfixed; undetermined; indefinite. He appears to have very vague ideas of this subject.

3. Proceeding from no known authority; flying; uncertain; as a vague report.

VAIL, n. [L. velum, from velo, to cover, to spread over. It is correctly written vail for e, in Latin, is our a.]

1. Any kind of cloth which is used for intercepting the view and hiding something; as the vail of the temple among the Israelites.

2. A piece of thin cloth or silk stuff, used by females to hide their faces. In some eastern countries, certain classes of females never appear abroad without vails.

3. A cover; that which conceals; as the vail of oblivion.

4. In botany, the membranous covering of the germen in the Musci and Hepaticae; the calypter.

5. Vails, money given to servants. [Not used in America.]

VAIL, v.t. [L. velo.] To cover; to hide from the sight; as, to vail the face.
VAIL, v.t.

1. To let fall.

They stiffly refused to vail their bonnets.

[I believe wholly obsolete.]

2. To let fall; to lower; as, to vail the topsail. Obs.

3. To let fall; to sink. Obs.

VAIL, v.i. To yield or recede; to give place; to show respect by yielding.

Thy convenience must vail to thy neighbor’s necessity. Obs.

VAILED, pp. Covered; concealed.

VAILER, n. One who yields from respect. Obs.

VAILING, ppr. Covering; hiding from the sight.

VAIN, a. [L. vanus; Eng. wan, wane, want.]

1. Empty; worthless; having no substance, value or importance. 1 Peter 1:18.

To your vain answer will you have recourse.

Every man walketh in a vain show. Psalm 39:6.

Why do the people imagine a vain thing? Psalm 2:1.

2. Fruitless; ineffectual. All attempts, all efforts were vain.

Vain is the force of man.

3. Proud of petty things, or of trifling attainments; elated with a high opinion of one’s own accomplishments, or with things more showy than valuable; conceited.

The minstrels play’d on every side, vain of their art -

4. Empty; unreal; as a vain chimers.

5. Showy; ostentatious.

Load some vain church with old theatric state.

6. Light; inconstant; worthless. Proverbs 12:11.

7. Empty; unsatisfying. The pleasures of life are vain.

8. False; deceitful; not genuine; spurious. James 1:26.

9. Not effectual; having no efficacy

Bring no more vain oblations. Isaiah 1:13.

In vain, to no purpose; without effect; ineffectual.

In vain they do worship me. Matthew 15:9.

To take the name of God in vain, to use the name of God with levity or profaneness.

VAINGLORIOUS, a. [vain and glorious.]

1. Vain to excess of one’s own achievements; elated beyond due measure; boastful.

Vainglorious man.

2. Boastful; proceeding from vanity.

Arrogant and vainglorious expression.

VAINGLORIOUSLY, adv. With empty pride.

VAINGLORY, n. [vain and glory.] Exclusive vanity excited by one’s own performances; empty pride; undue elation of mind.

He hath nothing of vainglory.

Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory. Philippians 2:2.

VAINLY, adv.

1. Without effect; to no purpose; ineffectually; in vain.

In weak complaints you vainly waste your breath.

2. Boastingly; with vaunting; proudly; arrogantly.

Humility teaches us not to think vainly nor vauntingly of ourselves.

3. Idly; foolishly.

Nor vainly hope to be invulnerable.


1. The state of being vain; inefficacy; ineffectualness; as the vainness of efforts.

2. Empty pride; vanity.

VAIR, n. In heraldry, a kind of fur or doubling, consisting of divers little picees, argent and azure, resembling a bell-glass.

VAIR, VAIRY, a. In heraldry, charged with vair; variegated with argent and azure colors, when the term is vairy proper; and with other colors, when it is vair or vairy composed.

VAIVODE, n. A prince of the Dacian provinces; sometimes written waiwode, for this is the pronunciation.


The fringes of drapery hanging round the tester and head of a bed.

VALANCE, v.t. To decorate with hanging fringes.

VALE, n. [L. vallis; Eng. to fall.]

1. A tract of low ground or of land between hills; a valley. [Vale is used in poetry, and valley in prose and common discourse.]

In those fair vales, by nature form’d to please.

2. A little trough or canal; as a pump vale to carry off the water from a ship’s pump.

3. Vales, money given to servants. [avails.] [Not used in America.]

VALEDICTION, n. [L. valedico; vale, farewell, and dico, to say.] A farewell; a bidding farewell.

VALEDICTORY, a. Bidding farewell; as a valedictory oration.

VALEDICTORY, n. An oration or address spoken at commencement, in American colleges, by a member of the class which receive the degree of bachelor of arts, and take their leave of college and of each other.


1. A sweetheart or choice made on Valentine’s day.

2. A letter sent by one young person to another on Valentine’s day.

VALERIAN, n. A plant of the genus Valleriana, of many species.


1. A waiting servant; a servant who attends on a gentleman’s person.

2. In the manege, a kind of goad or stick armed with a point of iron.

VALETUDINARIAN, VALETUDINARY, a. [L. valetudinarius, from valetudo, from valeo, to be well.]

Sickly; weak; infirm; seeking to recover health.

VALETUDINARIAN, VALETUDINARY, n. A person of a weak, infirm or sickly constitution; one who is seeking to recover health.

Valetudinarians must live where they can command and scold.

VALIANCE, n. val’yance. Bravery; valor. [Not in use.]

VALIANT, a. val’yant. [L. valeo, to be strong.]

1. Primarily, strong; vigorous in body; as a valiant fencer.

2. Brave; courageous; intrepid in danger; heroic; as a valiant soldier.

Be thou valiant for me, and fight the Lord’s battles. 1 Samuel 18:17.

3. Performed with valor; bravely conducted; heroic; as a valiant action or achievement; a valiant combat.


1. Stoutly; vigorously; with personal strength.

2. Courageously; bravely; heroically.


1. Stoutness; strength.

2. Most generally, valor; bravery; intrepidity in danger.

Achimetes, having won the top of the walls, by the valiantness of the defendants was forced to retire.

VALID, a. [L. validus, from valeo, to be strong. The primary sense of the root is to strain or stretch.]

1. Having sufficient strength or force; founded in truth; sound; just; good; that can be supported; not weak or defective; as a valid reason; a valid argument; a valid objection.

2. Having legal strength or force; efficacious; executed with the proper formalities; that cannot be rightfully overthrown or set aside; supportable by law or right; as a valid deed; a valid covenant; a valid instrument of any kind; a valid claim or title; a valid marriage.

3. Strong; powerful; in a literal sense; as valid arms. [Not in use.]


1. Strength or force to convince; justness; soundness; as the validity of an argument or proof; the validity of an objection.

2. Legal strength or force; that quality of a thing which renders it supportable in law or equity; as the validity of a will; the validity of a grant; the validity of a claim or of a title. Certain forms and solemnities are usually requisite to give validity to contracts and conveyances of rights.

3. Value. [Not in use.]

VALIDLY, adv. In a valid manner; in such a manner or degree as to make firm or to convince.

VALIDNESS, n. Validity, which see.

VALISE, n. A horseman’s case or portmanteau.

VALLANCY, n. [from valance.] A large wig that shades the face.

VALLATION, n. [L. vallatus, from vallum, a wall.] A rampart or entrenchment.

VALLEY, n. plu. valleys. [L. vallis. See Vale.]

1. A hollow or low tract of land between hills or mountains.

2. A low extended plain, usually alluvial, penetrated or washed by a river. The valley of the Connecticut is remarkable for its fertility and beauty.

Ye mountains, sink; ye valleys, rise; prepare the Lord his way.

3. In building, a gutter over the sleepers in the roof of a building.

VALLUM, n. [L.] A trench or wall.

VALOR, n. [L. valor, valeo, to be strong, to be worth.]

Strength of mind in regard to danger; that quality which enables a man to encounter danger with firmness; personal bravery; courage; intrepidity; prowess.

When valor preys on reason, it eats the sword it fights with.

For contemplation he and valor form’d.

Ad valorem, in commerce, according to the value; as an ad valorem duty.

VALOROUS, a. Brave; courageous; stout; intrepid; as a valorous knight.

VALOROUSLY, adv. In a brave manner; heroically.


1. Having value or worth; having some good qualities which are useful and esteemed; precious; as a valuable horse; valuable land; a valuable house.

2. Worthy estimable; deserving esteem; as a valuable friend; a valuable companion.

VALUATION, n. [from value.]

1. The act of estimating the value or worth; the act of setting a price; as the just valuation of civil and religious privileges.

2. Apprizement; as a valuation of lands for the purpose of taxation.

3. Value set upon a thing; estimated worth.

So slight a valuation.

VALUATOR, n. One who sets a value; an apprizer.

VALUE, n. val’u. [L. valor, from valeo, to be worth.]

1. Worth; that property or those properties of a thing which render it useful or estimable; or the degree of that property or of such properties. The real value of a thing is its utility, its power or capacity of procuring or producing good. Hence the real or intrinsic value of iron, is far greater than that of gold. But there is, in many things, an estimated value, depending on opinion or fashion, such as the value of precious stones. The value of land depends on its fertility, or on its vicinity to a market, or on both.

2. Price; the rate of worth set upon a commodity, or the amount for which a thing is sold. We say, the value of a thing is what it will bring in market.

3. Worth; applied to persons.

Ye are all physicians of no value. Job 13:4.

Ye are of more value than many sparrows. Matthew 10:31.

4. High rate.

Caesar is well acquainted with your virtue, and therefore sets this value on your life.

5. Importance; efficacy in producing effects; as considerations of no value.

Before events shall have decided on the value of the measures.

6. Import; precise signification; as the value of a word or phrase.

VALUE, v.t. val’u.

1. To estimate the worth of; to rate at a certain price; to apprise; as, to value lands or goods.

2. To rate at a high price; to have in high esteem; as a valued poem or picture. A man is apt to value his own performances at too high a rate; he is even disposed to value himself for his humility.

3. To esteem; to hold in respect and estimation; as, to value one for his works or virtues.

4. To take account of.

The mind doth value every moment.

5. To reckon or estimate with respect to number or power.

The queen is valu’d thirty thousand strong.

6. To consider with respect to importance.

The king must take it ill, so slightly valu’d in his messenger.

Neither of them valued their premises according to the rules of honor or integrity.

7. To raise to estimation.

Some value themselves to their country by jealousies to the crown. [Not in use.]

8. To be worth. [Not in use.]

VALUED, pp. Estimated at a certain rate; apprized; esteemed.

VALUELESS, a. Being of no value; having no worth.

VALUER, n. One who values; an apprizer; one who holds in esteem.

VALUING, ppr. Setting a price on; estimating the worth of; esteeming.

VALVATE, a. [See Valve.] Having or resembling a valve.

VALVE, n. valv. [L. valvae, folding doors; coinciding with valvo.]

1. A folding door.

Swift through the valves the visionary fair repass’d.

2. A lid or cover so formed as to open a communication in one direction, and close it in the other. Thus the valve of a common pump opens upwards to admit the water, and closes downwards to prevent its return.

3. In anatomy, a membranous partition within the cavity of a vessel, which opens to allow the passage of a fluid in one direction, and shuts to prevent its regurgitation.

4. In botany, the outer coat, shell or covering of a capsule or other pericarp, or rather one of the pieces which compose it; also, one of the leaflets composing the calyx and corol in grasses.

5. One of the pieces or divisions in bivalve and multivalve shells.

VALVED, a. Having valves; composed of valves.

VALVLET, VALVULE, n. A little valve; one of the pieces which compose the outer covering of a pericarp.

VALVULAR, a. Containing valves.

VAMP, n. The upper leather of a shoe.

VAMP, v.t. To piece an old thing with a new part; to repair.

I had never much hopes of your vamped play.

VAMPED, pp. Pieced; repaired.

VAMPER, n. One who pieces an old thing with something new.

VAMPING, ppr. Piecing with something new.


1. In mythology, an imaginary demon, which was fabled to suck the blood of persons during the night.

2. In zoology, a species of large bat, the Vespertilio vampyrus of Linne, called also the ternate bat. It inhabits Guinea, Madagascar, the East India Isles, New Holland and New Caledonia. These animals fly in flocks, darkening the air by their numbers. It is said that this bat will insinuate his tongue into the vein of an animal imperceptibly, and suck his blood while asleep. This name is also given by Buffon to a species of large bat in South America, the V. spectrum of Linne.

VAN, n. [Eng. advance, advantage. It is from the root of L. venio, the primary sense of which is to pass.]

1. The front of an army; or the front line or foremost division of a fleet, either in sailing or in battle.

2. Among farmers, a fan for winnowing grain. [This in New England is always pronounced fan, which see. But the winnowing machine has nearly superseded the use of it.]

3. In mining, the cleansing of ore or tin stuff by means of a shovel.

4. A wing with which the air is beaten.

He wheel’d in air, and stretch’d his vans in vain.

VAN, v.t. To fan. [Not in use.] [See Fan.]

VAN-COURIERS, n. In armies, light armed soldiers sent before armies to beat the road upon the approach of an enemy; precursors.

VANDAL, n. A ferocious, cruel person.

VANDALIC, a. Pertaining to the Vandals; designating the south shore of the Baltic where once lived the Vandals, a nation of ferocious barbarians; hence, ferocious; rude; barbarous.

VANDALISM, n. Ferocious cruelty; indiscriminate destruction of lives and property.

VANDYKE, n. A small round handkerchief with a collar for the neck, worn by females.

VANE, n.

A plate placed on a spindle, at the top of a spire, for the purpose of showing by its turning and direction, which way the wind blows. In ships, a piece of bunting is used for the same purpose.

VAN-FOSS, n. A ditch on the outside of the counterscarp.

VANG, n.

1. The vangs of a ship are a sort of braces to steady the mizen-gaff.

2. The thin membranous part or web of a feather.