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Billy Budd, Sailor
Herman Melville

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veracity 1. Adherence to the truth; truthfulness. 2. Conformity to fact or truth; accuracy or precision: a report of doubtful veracity.

vicissitude 1. a. A change or variation, typically one that is unpleasant or unwelcome. 2. Often vicissitudes. Unexpected changes or shifts often encountered in one's life, activities, or surroundings.

Victory, the The Victory was the flagship that Nelson commanded at the Battle of Trafalgar. It was a man-of-war of the first rating, with 100+ guns.

vitiate 1. To reduce the value or impair the quality of. 2. To corrupt morally; debase. 3. To make ineffective; invalidate.

vitriol Bitterly abusive feeling or expression.

volition 1. The act or an instance of making a conscious choice or decision. 2. A conscious choice or decision. 3. The power or faculty of choosing; the will.

Voltaire Voltaire was the pen name for François Marie Arouet (1694-1778), French writer and philosopher, who often used his wit to satirize the faults of the French government.


waist The middle part of the upper deck extending between quarter-deck and the forecastle.

wanton 1. Immoral or unchaste; lewd. 2. a. Gratuitously cruel; merciless. b. Marked by unprovoked, maliciousness; capricious and unjust: wanton destruction. 3. Unrestrainedly excessive: wanton depletion of oil reserves.

wardroom or warrant officers One of a varied group of officers below the commissioned officers. They served as heads of specialized technical branches of the ships' company.

watch, dog-watch The watch is the period of time that each division of the ship's company alternately remains on deck. A watch lasts for four hours, with the exception of the dog-watch, which lasts two hours and serves to prevent the watch from being kept by the same men every day. The various watches are First (2000 to midnight); Middle or Graveyard (midnight to 0400); Morning (0400 to 0800); Forenoon (0800 to 1200); Afternoon (1200 to 1600); First Dog (1600 to 1800); and Second Dog (1800-2000).

wax 1. To increase gradually in size, number, strength, or intensity. 2. To show a progressively larger illuminated area, as the moon does in passing from new to full. 3. To grow or become as specified: They could afford to wax sentimental over their heritage.

weather side Like lee, the term weather refers to a side of the ship in reference to wind. The weather side is the side toward the wind, or windward.
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