V, v: The direct descendent of U, with which it was once used interchangeably. Johnson omits V from the first edition of his dictionary, although conceding it “ought to be” considered as a separate letter. The Latin V was pronounced /w/, so that Caesar’s famous boast, “Veni, vidi, vinci,” came out somewhat effeminately as “waynie, weedy, winky.”
Venus: The Roman goddess of love and desire takes her name from the Latin uenus, but even more anciently from the Proto Indo-European, wen- “to desire,” a fertile root, which has grown into venerate “to respect,” wish, winsome “desirable,” venison derived from “to hunt,” venereal, pertaining to sexual desire, and win, to obtain by purposeful desire.
very: Commonly used to mean “to a great extent,” but originally “true,” as in “the very thing.” From the Latin uerus, “true,” whence veracity, “truth,” verdict, “to speak truth,” verify, “to ascertain truth,” and verisimilitude, “true-seeming.”
Coming November 30th, RETURN OF THE STOOPID CONTEST