Printable Version
Pronunciation: ve-ri Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective, adverb

Meaning: 1. Exceeding, excessive, as in 'very happy'. 2. Exact, true, specific, 'the very girl he was with'.3. An emphatic marker, as 'the very house shook'. 4. Absolute, utter, complete, as 'the very end'. 5. Particular, appropriate, as 'the very thing we need'.

Notes: Today we have a word that may be used as an adjective or adverb, but with slightly different meanings. The adverb has only the first two meanings above; the adjective has all of them. The adjective may be compared, verier, veriest; just remember to change the Y to an I.

In Play: The most common use of this word as an adverb is like this: "Visioning occurs in a very different part of the brain from budgeting." We don't often meet the adjective in the comparative degrees, but here is how they might be used: "The saleslady converted Maude Lynn Dresser, the veriest dowdy, into an elegantly dressed lady". Again, "A verier slave to one's stomach than Hardy Partier you'll never meet".

Word History: Today's Good Word was borrowed from Old French verai "true" by Middle English as verrai. Old French inherited it from Latin verax, verac- "truthful", based on verus "true", which was passed down from PIE wer-/wor- "trustworthy, true", source also of Russian vera "faith", German wahr "true", Dutch waar "true", Welsh cywir "faithful, honest" and gwir "true", Irish fíor "true, very", Scots Gaelic fìor "true", French vrai "true", Italian vero "true", and Spanish veracidad "truthfulness, veracity". (Now a nod in gratitude to wordmaster and active Agoran George Kovac for finding the comparatives of very and sharing them with us.)

Dr. Goodword,

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