Borrowed from French verve (“animation; caprice, whim; rapture; spirit; vigour; type of expression”), probably from Late Latin verva, a variant of Latin verba (“words; discourse; expressions; language”), the plural of verbum (“word”), ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *werh₁- (“to say, speak”). Doublet of verb and word.
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /vɜːv/
- (General American) IPA(key): /vɝv/
Audio (GA) (file)
- Rhymes: -ɜː(ɹ)v
- Enthusiasm, rapture, spirit, or vigour, especially of imagination such as that which animates an artist, musician, or writer, in composing or performing.
- 1879–1880, Robert Louis Stevenson, “The Stowaways”, in The Amateur Emigrant: From the Clyde to Sandy Hook, Chicago, Ill.: Stone and Kimball, published 18 January 1895, →OCLC, page 105:
- His hands were strong and elegant; his experience of life evidently varied; his speech full of pith and verve; his manners forward, but perfectly presentable.
- 1920 April, F[rancis] Scott Fitzgerald, “Spires and Gargoyles”, in This Side of Paradise, New York, N.Y.: Charles Scribner’s Sons, →OCLC, book I (The Romantic Egotist), page 63:
- They played through vacation to the fashionable of eight cities. […] Chicago he approved for a certain verve that transcended its loud accent—however, it was a Yale town, and as the Yale Glee Club was expected in a week the Triangle received only divided homage.
- 1960, P[elham] G[renville] Wodehouse, chapter XII, in Jeeves in the Offing, London: Herbert Jenkins, →OCLC:
- Normally, this [girl] presents to the world the appearance of one who is feeling that if it isn't the best of all possible worlds, it's quite good enough to be going on with till a better one comes along. Verve, I mean, and animation and all that sort of thing. But now there was a listlessness about her […]
- 2012 April 9, Mandeep Sanghera, “Tottenham 1 – 2 Norwich”, in BBC Sport, archived from the original on 3 November 2017:
- After spending so much of the season looking upwards, the swashbuckling style and swagger of early season Spurs was replaced by uncertainty and frustration against a Norwich side who had the quality and verve to take advantage.
- (obsolete) A particular skill in writing.
- 1697, John Dryden, “To the Most Honourable John, Lord Marquess of Normanby, […]”, in Virgil, translated by John Dryden, The Works of Virgil: Containing His Pastorals, Georgics, and Æneis. […], London: […] Jacob Tonson, […], →OCLC, page :
- If he be above Virgil, and is reſolv'd to follow his own Verve (as the French call it,) the Proverb will fall heavily upon him; Who teaches himſelf, has a Fool for his Maſter.
- verve (disambiguation) on Wikipedia.Wikipedia
- “verve”, in The Century Dictionary […], New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911, →OCLC.
- “verve”, in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, Springfield, Mass.: G. & C. Merriam, 1913, →OCLC.
Probably from Late Latin verva, a variant of Latin verba (“words; discourse; expressions; language”), the plural of verbum (“word”), ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *wérdʰh₁om (“that which is said; utterance, word”), from the verb *wérdʰh₁eti (“to speak, say”), derived from the root *werh₁- + *-dʰh₁eti. Doublet of verbe.
verve f (plural verves)
- “verve”, in Trésor de la langue française informatisé [Digitized Treasury of the French Language], 2012.
verve f (invariable)
- verva (a-infinitive)
- (transitive) to enlist
- (reflexive) to enlist, to join a cause or organization, especially military service
- “verve” in The Nynorsk Dictionary.