What ‘V for Vendetta’ can teach you about vocab for CAT, IIFT, XAT and other exams

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2018

What 'V for Vendetta' can teach you about vocab for CAT, IIFT, XAT and other exams

There are a few good ways to ace through the verbal section of the CAT or any exam like IIFT, XAT, SNAP etc. but the most entertaining one is to watch movies. Now after reading this, please don’t throw your books away and watch all the movies (and TV series of course) from your college collection neatly arranged alphabetically on your hard disk. But of you have the time, or if you like watching movies, this can be a good way to enhance your lexicon (meaning your vocabulary (vocab) of course!)

While in college, there was this friend of mine who watched movies once with the subtitles and then without them so that he could work on his language and vocab skills. I am not sure if that strategy did help him, but I remember asking him the movie in which he learnt a lot of new words and he mentioned V for Vendetta’

The lead character V’s intro monologue itself has a ton of words starting with the alphabet V. First, we will look at the quote from the movie and then we will learn what the words mean. Also, there is a simpler version of the monologue at the end of this post.

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Voilà! In view, a humble vaudevillian veteran cast vicariously as both victim and villain by the vicissitudes of Fate. This visage, no mere veneer of vanity, is a vestige of the vox populi, now vacant, vanished.


However, this valourous visitation of a bygone vexation stands vivified and has vowed to vanquish these venal and virulent vermin vanguarding vice and vouchsafing the violently vicious and voracious violation of volition! The only verdict is vengeance; a vendetta held as a votive, not in vain, for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous.


Verily, this vichyssoise of verbiage veers most verbose, so let me simply add that it’s my very good honour to meet you and you may call me V.


So let us take one word at a time and try to break this bunch of text into understandable portions.

First, vaudevillian. It means a performer who works in vaudeville. But then what is a vaudeville? It is somewhat like a circus with animals and clowns. It was an entertainment form popular in the US in early 20th century.

Vicariously means experiencing something in the imagination through the actions of another person. Things like “she was living vicariously through her children”. If you have had your fair share of Bollywood consumption especially from the 90s, you may recall this typical Indian parent ‘filmy’ narrative about how they want to live their dream through their children.

Next word – vicissitudes, which means, a change of circumstances, typically one that is unwelcome or unpleasant. Then comes visage which is used as a fancy word to refer to a human face. For e.g. “an elegant, angular visage”.

Veneer refers to the coating consisting of a thin layer of wood. Try to remember the smell of freshly crafted woodwork or furniture. There, you have it – the smell of veneer.

Vanity is the feeling of excessive pride. The first time I looked up the meaning of vanity I was a bit surprised. I had only heard of vanity bags (which is just another name for women’s handbags) and vanity vans (that movie stars use as their makeup and dressing vans while on a shoot). It took me a moment to realize how bags and vans relate to vanity (as in pride)

Vestige, as we discussed earlier, is a trace of something that is disappearing (like the “last vestiges of colonialism in India”)

Vox populi is the opinions or beliefs of the majority. It is a Latin phrase that literally means “voice of the people”. Valourous means great courage in the face of danger, especially in battle: “the medals are awarded for acts of valour”.

Vexation or ‘vex’ refers to anger produced by some annoying irritation. For e.g. His noisy neighbours often vexed him. To vanquish means to come out better in a competition, race, or conflict or in other words to defeat the opponent or competition. Venal implies capable of being corrupted. It is a popular choice for describing politicians in news reports on corruption.

Virulent means extremely poisonous or injurious; producing venom. (Remember the difference between venomous and poisonous?) Vermin talks about any of various small animals or insects that are pests

Vanguard refers to a group of people leading the way in new developments or ideas. You can think of it as what people mean when they say cutting-edge or leading.

Vice is a specific form of evildoing, any immoral or wicked behaviour. (For people into gaming, remember the missions from GTA ‘Vice’ City?)

Vouchsafe – grant something in a gracious or condescending manner. If you ask a favour of someone and they hint at them being superior and are rude or arrogant, they are condescending. But vouchsafed can also be used to show that something was revealed (which is how it is used here).

Volition means the act of making a choice. For e.g. “It sounded like she had left on her own volition as she had before”. Vendetta is referring to the fight between members of opposing parties, something like and extreme or murderous form of revenge.

Votive means dedicated in fulfilment of a vow. For e.g. “The ritual sacrifice of votive offerings leaves us with more questions than answers”

Vindicate is to show to be right by providing justification or proof. For e.g to vindicate someone’s honour or to vindicate someone’s claim. Veracity, simply put is the accuracy or truthfulness of things. For e.g. He was not noted for his veracity.

Vichyssoise is a type of soup (For the food connoisseurs out there – creamy potato soup flavoured with leeks and onions) To veer is to turn sharply; change direction abruptly.

Verbiage is the overabundance of words, something that V does in the introductory monologue. Also, Verbose, as verbiage, means using or containing too many words

So what is V saying here? Simply put:

And here it is! The story of my life can make me seem like a victim or villain, considering my change of Fate. I’m wearing this mask, not because it makes me look good, but because it represents the freedom people once fought for, which is now gone. However, I’m taking on this sore subject again and I’m completely ready! I promise to defeat all of those poisonous and bribed political leaders and allow people to take on their appetite for rule breaking once more.


The only way to make this happen is through revenge, and I promise it will not be for nothing, and shall one day free those good enough to understand what is going on.


It seems that my long soup of words has gotten a bit too complicated, so let me simply add that it is my very good honour to meet you and you may call me V.

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