the letter v

It has been a conspiracy. This week Dr Seuss and my grandchildren, Micah and Amaliya, have gathered forces to remind me once again of my affection for the letter V.


Many years ago I did a series of mission-themed talks over a weekend. On the Saturday morning, over a breakfast, I thought I'd be a little creative.  Out came 'Mission in the Key of V' as I gave myself to four words of beauty and power: vision, vicarious, vestigial and visceral. Just quietly - in an impeccably humble sort of way, of course - I was quite pleased with myself. Afterwards a pastor, from one of those churches that seem to be known more for what they are against than what they are for, came up for a little routine interrogation, 'Is this how you normally preach?'. 'Ahh, no. I just thought I'd try something different on a Saturday morning'.  He was not impressed. In 30min he went from being a 'Paul, you really should meet this guy; you'd have so much in common' to 'Paul, you are never hearing from this guy again', as I was marked out to his people as someone who couldn't be trusted with the Bible. Oh dear.

But my journey with the letter V started far earlier. It is ironic that I have lived so many years in India because in the Indian alphabet, the V-sound turns into a W-sound.  Listen carefully. It is unusual to hear the V articulated. So, as a naughty, unrefined little boy I used to find great pleasure in hearing the name of the revered President of India being used: "Mr V. V. Giri". I have grown up since then and my sense of humour has refined considerably.

But what about some words beginning with the letter V?
Where do you begin? There are so many words of 'beauty and power'...

Here is my favourite dozen, on the way to building a vivid vocabulary full of vibrancy:
vicarious, as with the death of Christ in my place.
vestigial, as with the wings of the kiwi - a limited form and a totally absent function.
visceral, as with deep emotion - like compassion, from the gut.
vulnerable, as with a person risking a wounded openness, drawing me into their lives.
visage, as with capturing all that a face communicates without saying a word.
vocation, as with work - but filling it with a sense of call and purpose.
vernacular, as with elevating the grassroots, the mother tongue, the heart language.
vindicate, as with Jesus on the judgement day, honouring the good, the right, the true.
vintage, as with someone expressing the best expression of who they really are.
viral, as with something that spreads, leaving control-freaks at its mercy.
vivacious, as with a winsome personality that mingles warmth with enthusiasm and fun.
volatile, as with something stirred easily to boiling point - and remaining unpredictable.

Then there are the vitriolic words that can so quickly and so easily vanquish a person:
[Censor's Warning: do not use these words at home or at work]
vacillate, as with someone who is undecided all the time.
vacuous, as with someone whose ideas and words lack substance and permanence.
verbose, voluble and voluminous verbiage, as with someone who talks a lot of drivel.
vile vices, as with someone too familiar with evil.
voyeur,  as with someone too familiar with what is not theirs to know about.

Then there are 'Why bother with a simple one when a complicated one will do?' words:
variegated, instead of varied
veracity, instead of truth
valedictory, instead of goodbye
virtual, instead of unreal
venue, instead of location
voracious, instead of hungry
vast, instead of big
void, instead of empty
vendor, instead of seller
vexed, instead of disturbed
venerable, instead of respected
verbatim, instead of exact
vainglorious, instead of proud
valour, instead of courage
veer, instead of turn
velocity, instead of speed
vociferous, instead of loud


It is unfair, isn't it?!
How can so few pages in the dictionary garner so many cool words?!
I rest my case.

nice chatting

Paul

Comments

Unknown said…
Vitiate, Voluptuous, Vilify. :-)
Paul said…
Yes, each of those words came to mind - but I'll leave to you and your list and your descriptions.

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