A-Z Database

A-Z Database

All A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

This hand gesture with the index and middle finger extended with the other fingers clenched can either signify victory when the palm of the hand faces...

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The acceptance of vaccines against disease is routine procedure, but many people are unaware that the origin of the word is connected cows. The word v...

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Valentine’s Day

Originally Saint Valentine’s Day, 14th February commemorates the feast day of at least three early Christian saints all called Valentinus, who were ma...

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To go away or leave hurriedly an American expression from the early 19th century, derives from the Spanish vamos, which means let’s go.

Vanish into thin air

see Into thin air

Vengeance is mine

The source is the New Testament, St Paul, Letter to the Romans, 12:19. “Vengeance is mine; I will repay, says the Lord.”


A loan word from the Indian Sub-Continent, which derives from the Hindi 'veranda' meaning an open portico or roofed gallery along the front and occasi...

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Verbal diarrhoea

This graphic metaphor for non-stop talking is first cited from 1823, but it not known who coined it.


An atmosphere, aura or feeling, American abbreviation of vibration dates from the mid-1960s.

Vicious circle

Originally, from the late 18th century, a vicious circle was a circular or fallacious argument in logic or reasoning. Later, from the early 19th centu...

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Vim and vigour

To do something with vim and vigour means to do it with strength and force. Vim is a word of American coinage from 1850, and supposedly derives from t...

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Anything that spreads like a virus is called viral and the word viral in this sense dates from the 1950s. Viral in the sense of something that has ‘go...

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In West-African languages, voudou or vudu variously means spirit or ghost. The displacement of West African peoples through slavery was also the cause...

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A vuvuzela is the large, colourful plastic trumpet that sounds like a foghorn, traditionally blown by South African soccer fans. It was introduced to...

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