Webster's Dictionary, 1913

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Vassal noun [ French, from Late Latin vassallus , vassus ; of Celtic origin; confer W. & Corn. gwas a youth, page, servant, Arm. gwaz a man, a male. Confer Valet , Varlet , Vavasor .]


1. (Feud. Law) The grantee of a fief, feud, or fee; one who holds land of superior, and who vows fidelity and homage to him; a feudatory; a feudal tenant. Burrill.

2. A subject; a dependent; a servant; a slave. "The vassals of his anger." Milton.

Rear vassal , the vassal of a vassal; an arriere vassal.

Vassal adjective Resembling a vassal; slavish; servile.

The sun and every vassal star.
Keble.

Vassal transitive verb To treat as a vassal; to subject to control; to enslave. [ Obsolete] Beau. & Fl.

Vassalage noun [ Middle English vassalage , French vasselage , Late Latin vassallaticum .]


1. The state of being a vassal, or feudatory.

2. Political servitude; dependence; subjection; slavery; as, the Greeks were held in vassalage by the Turks.

3. A territory held in vassalage. "The Countship of Foix, with six territorial vassalages ." Milman.

4. Vassals, collectively; vassalry. [ R.] Shak.

5. Valorous service, such as that performed by a vassal; valor; prowess; courage. [ Obsolete] Chaucer.

Vassaless noun A female vassal. [ R.] Spenser.

Vassalry noun The body of vassals. [ R.]

Vast adjective [ Compar. Vaster ; superl. Vastest .] [ Latin vastus empty, waste, enormous, immense: confer French vaste . See Waste , and confer Devastate .]


1. Waste; desert; desolate; lonely. [ Obsolete]

The empty, vast , and wandering air.
Shak.

2. Of great extent; very spacious or large; also, huge in bulk; immense; enormous; as, the vast ocean; vast mountains; the vast empire of Russia.

Through the vast and boundless deep.
Milton.

3. Very great in numbers, quantity, or amount; as, a vast army; a vast sum of money.

4. Very great in importance; as, a subject of vast concern.

Syn. -- Enormous; huge; immense; mighty.

Vast noun A waste region; boundless space; immensity. "The watery vast ." Pope.

Michael bid sound
The archangel trumpet. Through the vast of heaven
It sounded.
Milton.

Vastation noun [ Latin vastatio , from vastare to lay waste, from vastus empty, waste.] A laying waste; waste; depopulation; devastation. [ Obsolete] Bp. Hall.

Vastel noun See Wastel . [ Obsolete] Fuller.

Vastidity noun [ Confer Old French vastité , Latin vastitas .] Vastness; immensity. [ Obsolete] "All the world's vastidity ." Shak.

Vastitude noun [ Latin vastitudo .]
1. Vastness; immense extent. [ R.]

2. Destruction; vastation. [ Obsolete] Joye.

Vastity noun [ Latin vastitas .] Vastness. [ Obsolete]

The huge vastity of the world.
Holland.

Vastly adverb To a vast extent or degree; very greatly; immensely. Jer. Taylor.

Vastness noun The quality or state of being vast.

Vasty adjective [ From Vast .] Vast; immense. [ R.]

I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
Shak.

Vasum noun [ Latin , a vase. See Vase .] (Zoology) A genus including several species of large marine gastropods having massive pyriform shells, with conspicuous folds on the columella.

Vat noun [ A dialectic form for fat , Middle English fat , Anglo-Saxon fæt ; akin to Dutch vat , Old Saxon fat , German fass , Old High German faz , Icelandic & Swedish fat , Danish fad , Lithuanian p...das a pot, and probably to German fassen to seize, to contain, Old High German fazz...n , Dutch vatten . Confer Fat a vat.]


1. A large vessel, cistern, or tub, especially one used for holding in an immature state, chemical preparations for dyeing, or for tanning, or for tanning leather, or the like.

Let him produce his vase and tubs, in opposition to heaps of arms and standards.
Addison.

2. A measure for liquids, and also a dry measure; especially, a liquid measure in Belgium and Holland, corresponding to the hectoliter of the metric system, which contains 22.01 imperial gallons, or 26.4 standard gallons in the United States.

» The old Dutch grain vat averaged 0.762 Winchester bushel. The old London coal vat contained 9 bushels. The solid-measurement vat of Amsterdam contains 40 cubic feet; the wine vat, 241.57 imperial gallons, and the vat for olive oil, 225.45 imperial gallons.

3. (Metal.) (a) A wooden tub for washing ores and mineral substances in. (b) A square, hollow place on the back of a calcining furnace, where tin ore is laid to dry.

4. (R. C. Ch.) A vessel for holding holy water.

Vat transitive verb [ imperfect & past participle Vatted ; present participle & verbal noun Vatting .] To put or transfer into a vat.

Vatful noun ; plural Vatfuls As much as a vat will hold; enough to fill a vat.

Vatical adjective [ Latin vates a prophet.] Of or pertaining to a prophet; prophetical. Bp. Hall.

Vatican noun [ Latin Vaticanus , mons , or collis , Vaticanus , the Vatican hill, in Rome, on the western bank of the Tiber: confer French Vatican , Italian Vaticano .] A magnificent assemblage of buildings at Rome, near the church of St. Peter, including the pope's palace, a museum, a library, a famous chapel, etc.

» The word is often used to indicate the papal authority.

Thunders of the Vatican , the anathemas, or denunciations, of the pope.

Vatican Council (R. C. Ch.) The council held under Pope Pius IX. in Vatican at Rome, in 1870, which promulgated the dogma of papal infallibility.

Vaticanism noun The doctrine of papal supremacy; extreme views in support of the authority of the pope; ultramontanism; -- a term used only by persons who are not Roman Catholics.

Vaticanist noun One who strongly adheres to the papal authority; an ultramontanist.

Vaticide noun [ Latin vates a prophet + caedere to kill.] The murder, or the murderer, of a prophet. "The caitiff vaticide ." Pope.

Vaticinal adjective [ See Vaticinate .] Of or pertaining to prophecy; prophetic. T. Warton.

Vaticinate intransitive verb & t. [ Latin vaticinatus , past participle of vaticinari to prophesy, from vaticinus prophetical, from vates a prophet.] To prophesy; to foretell; to practice prediction; to utter prophecies.

Vaticination noun [ Latin vaticinatio .] Prediction; prophecy.

It is not a false utterance; it is a true, though an impetuous, vaticination .
I. Taylor.

Vaticinator noun [ Latin ] One who vaticinates; a prophet.

Vaticine noun [ Latin vaticinium .] A prediction; a vaticination. [ Obsolete] Holinshed.

Vaudeville noun [ French, from Vau-de- vire , a village in Normandy, where Olivier Basselin, at the end of the 14th century, composed such songs.] [ Written also vaudevil .]


1. A kind of song of a lively character, frequently embodying a satire on some person or event, sung to a familiar air in couplets with a refrain; a street song; a topical song.

2. A theatrical piece, usually a comedy, the dialogue of which is intermingled with light or satirical songs, set to familiar airs.

The early vaudeville , which is the forerunner of the opera bouffe, was light, graceful, and piquant.
Johnson's Cyc.

Vaudeville noun Loosely, and now commonly, variety (see above), as, to play in vaudeville ; a vaudeville actor.

Vaudois (vō*dwä") noun sing. & plural [ French]
1. An inhabitant, or the inhabitants, of the Swiss canton of Vaud.

2. A modern name of the Waldenses.

Vaudoux noun & adjective See Voodoo .

Vault (valt; see Note, below ) noun [ Middle English voute , Old French voute , volte , French voûte , Late Latin volta , for voluta , volutio , from Latin volvere , volutum , to roll, to turn about. See Voluble , and confer Vault a leap, Volt a turn, Volute .]


1. (Architecture) An arched structure of masonry, forming a ceiling or canopy.

The long-drawn aisle and fretted vault .
Gray.

2. An arched apartment; especially, a subterranean room, use for storing articles, for a prison, for interment, or the like; a cell; a cellar. "Charnel vaults ." Milton.

The silent vaults of death.
Sandys.

To banish rats that haunt our vault .
Swift.

3. The canopy of heaven; the sky.

That heaven's vault should crack.
Shak.

4. [ French volte , Italian volta , originally, a turn, and the same word as volta an arch. See the Etymology above.] A leap or bound. Specifically: -- (a) (Man.) The bound or leap of a horse; a curvet. (b) A leap by aid of the hands, or of a pole, springboard, or the like.

» The l in this word was formerly often suppressed in pronunciation.

Barrel , Cradle , Cylindrical , or Wagon , vault (Architecture) , a kind of vault having two parallel abutments, and the same section or profile at all points. It may be rampant , as over a staircase (see Rampant vault , under Rampant ), or curved in plan, as around the apse of a church. -- Coved vault . (Architecture) See under 1st Cove , transitive verb -- Groined vault (Architecture) , a vault having groins, that is, one in which different cylindrical surfaces intersect one another, as distinguished from a barrel , or wagon , vault . -- Rampant vault . (Architecture) See under Rampant . -- Ribbed vault (Architecture) , a vault differing from others in having solid ribs which bear the weight of the vaulted surface. True Gothic vaults are of this character. -- Vault light , a partly glazed plate inserted in a pavement or ceiling to admit light to a vault below.

Vault transitive verb [ imperfect & past participle Vaulted ; present participle & verbal noun Vaulting .] [ Middle English vouten , Old French volter , vouter , French voûter . See Vault an arch.]


1. To form with a vault, or to cover with a vault; to give the shape of an arch to; to arch; as, vault a roof; to vault a passage to a court.

The shady arch that vaulted the broad green alley.
Sir W. Scott.

2. [ See Vault , intransitive verb ] To leap over; esp., to leap over by aid of the hands or a pole; as, to vault a fence.

I will vault credit, and affect high pleasures.
Webster (1623).

Vault intransitive verb [ Confer Old French volter , French voltiger , Italian volt...re turn. See Vault , noun , 4.]


1. To leap; to bound; to jump; to spring.

Vaulting ambition, which o'erleaps itself.
Shak.

Leaning on his lance, he vaulted on a tree.
Dryden.

Lucan vaulted upon Pegasus with all the heat and intrepidity of youth.
Addison.

2. To exhibit feats of tumbling or leaping; to tumble.

Vaultage noun Vaulted work; also, a vaulted place; an arched cellar. [ Obsolete] Shak.

Vaulted adjective
1. Arched; concave; as, a vaulted roof.

2. Covered with an arch, or vault.

3. (Botany) Arched like the roof of the mouth, as the upper lip of many ringent flowers.

Vaulter noun One who vaults; a leaper; a tumbler. B. Jonson.

Vaulting noun
1. The act of constructing vaults; a vaulted construction.

2. Act of one who vaults or leaps.

Vaulty adjective Arched; concave. [ Obsolete] "The vaulty heaven." Shak.

Vaunce intransitive verb [ See Advance .] To advance. [ Obsolete] Spenser.

Vaunt intransitive verb [ imperfect & past participle Vaunted ; present participle & verbal noun Vaunting .] [ French vanter , Late Latin vanitare , from Latin vanus vain. See Vain .] To boast; to make a vain display of one's own worth, attainments, decorations, or the like; to talk ostentatiously; to brag.

Pride, which prompts a man to vaunt and overvalue what he is, does incline him to disvalue what he has.
Gov. of Tongue.

Vaunt transitive verb To boast of; to make a vain display of; to display with ostentation.

Charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up.
1 Cor. xiii. 4.

My vanquisher, spoiled of his vaunted spoil.
Milton.

Vaunt noun A vain display of what one is, or has, or has done; ostentation from vanity; a boast; a brag.

The spirits beneath, whom I seduced
With other promises and other vaunts .
Milton.

Vaunt noun [ French avant before, fore. See Avant , Vanguard .] The first part. [ Obsolete] Shak.

Vaunt transitive verb [ See Avant , Advance .] To put forward; to display. [ Obsolete] " Vaunted spear." Spenser.

And what so else his person most may vaunt .
Spenser.

Vaunt-courier noun See Van- courier . [ Obsolete] Shak.

Vaunter noun One who vaunts; a boaster.

Vauntful adjective Given to vaunting or boasting; vainly ostentatious; boastful; vainglorious.