Quick entries: U-V

  • Note: Many of the entries here will eventually become full-length posts. Some are rough and have not been fully researched. If you have any corrections or would like to add anything, please comment.


    Udder vs. utter: Udder: a baglike mammary organ that secretes milk, characteristic of cows and other mammals. Utter: to say.

    (Take) umbrage: take offense.

    Underlie vs. underline (metaphorical senses): To underlie is to serve as the basis of something. To underline is to emphasize or highlight something or to make something apparent.

    Up and go: colloquial for to go suddenly or unexpectedly. 

    Up to snuff: meeting expectations.

    Usage vs. use: Both mean the manner of using, but only use denotes an instance of using. So, for example, to say “Your usage of usage in that sentence is questionable” is questionable.


    Vagina: The English plural is vaginas. The Latin plural, vaginae, is sometimes used in scientific contexts (as many Latin plurals are), but there’s no reason for English-speakers to use it otherwise.

    Varietal: a biological variety, especially a variety of wine.

    Vaunted: celebrated or spoken boastfully of.

    Verklempt: choked up with emotion. Yiddish in origin.

    Vested interest: not invested interest (though there are rare contexts where that phrase might make sense). Vested here is a legal adjective meaning fixed or unconditional.

    Vox populi: popular opinion. From Latin voice of the people.


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