Printable Version
Pronunciation: vawlt Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun, verb

Meaning: 1. (Noun) An strong arched structure. 2. (Noun) A burial chamber (originally arched), or container for a casket. 3. (Noun) A large, strong safe. 4. (Verb) To leap vigorously, especially with the assistance of the hands or a pole. 5. (Verb) To build an arch.

Notes: vaultThe noun vault comes with two adjectives, vaulted "having or with a vault" and vaulty "like a vault" and a qualitative noun vaultage "a vaulted area or group of vaults". The verb usage comes with the usual authentic English forms, vaulter and the present participle vaulting assuming the roles of action noun and active adjective.

In Play: This word may be used figuratively in both its noun and verb senses. As a noun, you might read something like this: "The heavenly vault sparkled with billions of tiny lights like an dark fabric with universal power glimmering through pinholes." As a verb, something like this: "Ty Kuhn quickly vaulted up the company's hierarchical ladder to become its latest president."

Word History: Today's Good Word began its life as a noun in the 14th century, whose shape was used two hundred years later figuratively to name an action that resembled its shape. It was snatched from Old French voute, volte "arch, vault" (today voûte), inherited from Vulgar (street) Latin volta, a reduction of Latin volutus "arched, bowed", past participle of volvere "to turn, bend, roll". Latin spun its verb from PIE wel-/wol- "to turn, revolve", which emerged in Sanskrit as valati "rolls", in Greek as eilein "to roll up" (from earlier weilein), in Armenian as gelum "turn, wind", in Russian as val "roller, spindle" and volna "wave", in Latvian and Lithuanian as vilnis "wave, breaker", in English as whelk, in Dutch as walsen "to roll" and wulk "whelk", in German as walzen "to roll" and Welle "wave", as in 'Deutsche Welle' "German (Air) Wave".

Dr. Goodword,

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