Webster's Dictionary, 1913

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Vambrace noun [ See Vantbrass .] (Anc. Armor) The piece designed to protect the arm from the elbow to the wrist.

Vamose intransitive verb & t. [ Spanish vamos let us go.] To depart quickly; to depart from. [ Written also vamos , and vamoose .] [ Slang, Eng. & U. S.]

Vamp intransitive verb To advance; to travel. [ Obsolete]

Vamp noun [ Middle English vampe , vaumpe , vauntpe , French avantpied the forefoot, vamp; anat before, fore + pied foot, Latin pes . See Advance , Van of an army, and Foot .]


1. The part of a boot or shoe above the sole and welt, and in front of the ankle seam; an upper.

2. Any piece added to an old thing to give it a new appearance. See Vamp , transitive verb

Vamp transitive verb [ imperfect & past participle Vamped (?; 215); present participle & verbal noun Vamping .] To provide, as a shoe, with new upper leather; hence, to piece, as any old thing, with a new part; to repair; to patch; -- often followed by up .

I had never much hopes of your vamped play.
Swift.

Vamper noun One who vamps; one who pieces an old thing with something new; a cobbler.

Vamper intransitive verb [ Confer Vaunt .] To swagger; to make an ostentatious show. [ Prov. eng. & Scot.] Jamieson.

Vampire noun [ French vampire (cf. Italian vampiro , G. & Dutch vampir ), from Servian vampir .] [ Written also vampyre .]


1. A blood-sucking ghost; a soul of a dead person superstitiously believed to come from the grave and wander about by night sucking the blood of persons asleep, thus causing their death. This superstition is now prevalent in parts of Eastern Europe, and was especially current in Hungary about the year 1730.

The persons who turn vampires are generally wizards, witches, suicides, and persons who have come to a violent end, or have been cursed by their parents or by the church,
Encyc. Brit.

2. Fig.: One who lives by preying on others; an extortioner; a bloodsucker.

3. (Zoology) Either one of two or more species of South American blood-sucking bats belonging to the genera Desmodus and Diphylla . These bats are destitute of molar teeth, but have strong, sharp cutting incisors with which they make punctured wounds from which they suck the blood of horses, cattle, and other animals, as well as man, chiefly during sleep. They have a cæcal appendage to the stomach, in which the blood with which they gorge themselves is stored.

4. (Zoology) Any one of several species of harmless tropical American bats of the genus Vampyrus , especially V. spectrum . These bats feed upon insects and fruit, but were formerly erroneously supposed to suck the blood of man and animals. Called also false vampire .

Vampire bat (Zoology) , a vampire, 3.

Vampirism noun [ Confer French vampirisme .]


1. Belief in the existence of vampires.

2. The actions of a vampire; the practice of bloodsucking.

3. Fig.: The practice of extortion. Carlyle.

Vamplate noun [ French avant fore, fore + English plate .] A round of iron on the shaft of a tilting spear, to protect the hand. [ Written also vamplet .]

Vamure noun See Vauntmure . [ Obsolete]

Van noun [ Abbrev. from vanguard .] The front of an army; the first line or leading column; also, the front line or foremost division of a fleet, either in sailing or in battle.

Standards and gonfalons, twixt van and rear,
Stream in the air.
Milton.

Van noun [ Cornish.] (Mining) A shovel used in cleansing ore.

Van transitive verb (Mining) To wash or cleanse, as a small portion of ore, on a shovel. Raymond.

Van noun [ Abbreviated from caravan .]


1. A light wagon, either covered or open, used by tradesmen and others fore the transportation of goods. [ Eng.]

2. A large covered wagon for moving furniture, etc., also for conveying wild beasts, etc., for exhibition.

3. A close railway car for baggage. See the Note under Car , 2. [ Eng.]

Van noun [ Latin vannus a van, or fan for winnowing grain: confer French van . Confer Fan , Van a wing Winnow .]


1. A fan or other contrivance, as a sieve, for winnowing grain.

2. [ Old French vanne , French vanneau beam feather (cf. Italian vanno a wing) from Latin vannus . See Etymology above.] A wing with which the air is beaten. [ Archaic] "[ /Angels] on the air plumy vans received him. " Milton.

He wheeled in air, and stretched his vans in vain;
His vans no longer could his flight sustain.
Dryden.

Van transitive verb [ Confer French vanner to winnow, to fan. See Van a winnowing machine.] To fan, or to cleanse by fanning; to winnow. [ Obsolete] Bacon.

Van-courier noun [ French avant- courrier . See Avant , Van of an army, and Courier , and confer Avant-courier , Vaunt-courier .] One sent in advance; an avant-courier; a precursor.

Vanadate noun [ Confer French vanadate .] (Chemistry) A salt of vanadic acid. [ Formerly also vanadiate .]

Vanadic adjective (Chemistry) Pertaining to, or obtained from, vanadium; containing vanadium; specifically distinguished those compounds in which vanadium has a relatively higher valence as contrasted with the vanadious compounds; as, vanadic oxide.

Vanadic acid (Chemistry) , an acid analogous to phosphoric acid, not known in the free state but forming a well-known series of salts.

Vanadinite noun (Min.) A mineral occurring in yellowish, and ruby-red hexagonal crystals. It consist of lead vanadate with a small proportion of lead chloride.

Vanadious adjective (Chemistry) Pertaining to, or containing, vanadium; specifically, designating those compounds in which vanadium has a lower valence as contrasted with the vanadic compounds; as, vanadious acid. [ Sometimes written also vanadous .]

Vanadite noun (Chemistry) A salt of vanadious acid, analogous to a nitrite or a phosphite.

Vanadium noun [ New Latin , from Icelandic Vanadīs , a surname of the Scandinavian goddess Freya.] (Chemistry) A rare element of the nitrogen-phosphorus group, found combined, in vanadates, in certain minerals, and reduced as an infusible, grayish-white metallic powder. It is intermediate between the metals and the non-metals, having both basic and acid properties. Symbol V (or Vd, rarely). Atomic weight 51.2.

Vanadium bronze (Chemistry) A yellow pigment consisting of a compound of vanadium.

Vanadous adjective (Chemistry) Of or pertaining to vanadium; obtained from vanadium; -- said of an acid containing one equivalent of vanadium and two of oxygen.

Vanadyl noun [ Vanad ium + - yl .] (Chemistry) The hypothetical radical VO, regarded as a characterized residue of certain vanadium compounds.

Vandal noun [ Latin Vandalus , Vandalius ; of Teutonic origin, and probably originally signifying, a wanderer. Confer Wander .]


1. (Anc. Hist.) One of a Teutonic race, formerly dwelling on the south shore of the Baltic, the most barbarous and fierce of the northern nations that plundered Rome in the 5th century, notorious for destroying the monuments of art and literature.

2. Hence, one who willfully destroys or defaces any work of art or literature.

The Vandals of our isle,
Sworn foes to sense and law.
Cowper.

Vandal, Vandalic adjective Of or pertaining to the Vandals; resembling the Vandals in barbarism and destructiveness.

Vandalism noun The spirit or conduct of the Vandals; ferocious cruelty; hostility to the arts and literature, or willful destruction or defacement of their monuments.

Vandyke (văn*dīk") adjective Of or pertaining to the style of Vandyke the painter; used or represented by Vandyke. "His Vandyke dress." Macaulay. [ Written also Vandyck .]

Vandyke brown (Paint.) , a pigment of a deep semitransparent brown color, supposed to be the color used by Vandyke in his pictures. -- Vandyke collar or cape , a broad collar or cape of linen and lace with a deep pointed or scalloped edge, worn lying on the shoulders; -- so called from its appearance in pictures by Vandyke. -- Vandyke edge , an edge having ornamental triangular points.

Vandyke noun A picture by Vandyke. Also, a Vandyke collar, or a Vandyke edge. [ Written also Vandyck .]

Vandyke transitive verb fit or furnish with a Vandyke; to form with points or scallops like a Vandyke. [ R.] [ Written also Vandyck .]

Vandyke beard A trim, pointed beard, such as those often seen in pictures by Vandyke .

Vane noun [ Middle English & E. Prov. English fane weathercock, banner, Anglo-Saxon fana a banner, flag; akin to Dutch vaan , German fahne , Old High German fano cloth, gund fano flag, Icelandic fāni , Swedish fana , Danish fane , Goth. fana cloth, Latin pannus , and perhaps to Greek ... a web, ... a bobbin, spool. Confer Fanon , Pane a compartment, panel.]


1. A contrivance attached to some elevated object for the purpose of showing which way the wind blows; a weathercock. It is usually a plate or strip of metal, or slip of wood, often cut into some fanciful form, and placed upon a perpendicular axis around which it moves freely.

Aye undiscreet, and changing as a vane .
Chaucer.

2. Any flat, extended surface attached to an axis and moved by the wind; as, the vane of a windmill; hence, a similar fixture of any form moved in or by water, air, or other fluid; as, the vane of a screw propeller, a fan blower, an anemometer, etc.

3. (Zoology) The rhachis and web of a feather taken together.

4. One of the sights of a compass, quadrant, etc.

Vane of a leveling staff . (Surv.) Same as Target , 3.

Vanessa noun [ Probably from Swift's poem of Cadenus and Vanessa . See Vanessa , in the Dictionary of Noted Names in Fiction.] (Zoology) Any one of numerous species of handsomely colored butterflies belonging to Vanessa and allied genera. Many of these species have the edges of the wings irregularly scalloped.

Vanessian noun (Zoology) A vanessa.

Vanfess noun [ French avant- fossé ; avant before + fossé ditch. Confer Fosse .] (Fort.) A ditch on the outside of the counterscarp, usually full of water.

Vang noun [ Dutch vangen to catch, seize. See Fang .] (Nautical) A rope to steady the peak of a gaff.

Vanglo noun (Botany) Benne ( Sesamum orientale ); also, its seeds; -- so called in the West Indies.

Vanguard noun [ For vantguard , avantguard , French avant-garde ; avant before, fore + garde guard. See Avant , Ab- , Ante- , and Guard , and confer Advance , Vamp , Van of an army, Vaward .] (Mil.) The troops who march in front of an army; the advance guard; the van.

Vanilla noun [ New Latin , from Spanish vainilla , dim. of Spanish vaina a sheath, a pod, Latin vagina ; because its grains, or seeds, are contained in little pods.]


1. (Botany) A genus of climbing orchidaceous plants, natives of tropical America.

2. The long podlike capsules of Vanilla planifolia , and V. claviculata , remarkable for their delicate and agreeable odor, for the volatile, odoriferous oil extracted from them; also, the flavoring extract made from the capsules, extensively used in confectionery, perfumery, etc.

» As a medicine, vanilla is supposed to possess powers analogous to valerian, while, at the same time, it is far more grateful.

Cuban vanilla , a sweet-scented West Indian composite shrub ( Eupatorium Dalea ). -- Vanilla bean , the long capsule of the vanilla plant. -- Vanilla grass . Same as Holy grass , under Holy .

Vanillate noun (Chemistry) A salt of vanillic acid.

Vanillic adjective (Chemistry) Pertaining to, or derived from, vanilla or vanillin; resembling vanillin; specifically, designating an alcohol and an acid respectively, vanillin being the intermediate aldehyde.

Vanillin noun (Chemistry) A white crystalline aldehyde having a burning taste and characteristic odor of vanilla. It is extracted from vanilla pods, and is also obtained by the decomposition of coniferin, and by the oxidation of eugenol.

Vanilloes noun plural An inferior kind of vanilla, the pods of Vanilla Pompona .

Vanillyl noun [ Vanill ic + - yl .] (Chemistry) The hypothetical radical characteristic of vanillic alcohol.

Vaniloquence noun [ Latin vaniloquentia ; vanus vain + loquentia talk, loqui to speak.] Vain or foolish talk. [ Obsolete]

Vanish intransitive verb [ imperfect & past participle Vanished ; present participle & verbal noun Vanishing .] [ Middle English vanissen , Old French vanir (in comp.): confer Old French envanir , esvanir , esvanuïr , French s'évanouir ; from Latin vanus empty, vain; confer Latin vanescere , evanescere , to vanish. See Vain , and confer Evanescent , -ish .]


1. To pass from a visible to an invisible state; to go out of sight; to disappear; to fade; as, vapor vanishes from the sight by being dissipated; a ship vanishes from the sight of spectators on land.

The horse vanished . . . out of sight.
Chaucer.

Go; vanish into air; away!
Shak.

The champions vanished from their posts with the speed of lightning.
Sir W. Scott.

Gliding from the twilight past to vanish among realities.
Hawthorne.

2. To be annihilated or lost; to pass away. "All these delights will vanish ." Milton.

Vanish noun (Phon.) The brief terminal part of vowel or vocal element, differing more or less in quality from the main part; as, a as in ale ordinarily ends with a vanish of i as in ill , o as in old with a vanish of oo as in foot . Rush.

» The vanish is included by Mr. Bell under the general term glide .