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  1. enthusiasm or vigor, as in literary or artistic work; spirit: Her latest novel lacks verve.
  2. vivaciousness; liveliness; animation: I like a teacher with plenty of verve.
  3. Archaic. talent.

Origin of verve

1690–1700; < French: enthusiasm, whim, chatter, apparently < Latin verba words, talk, plural (taken in VL as feminine singular) of verbum word; see verb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for verve

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • The vigour and verve of these marching musicians is very surprising.

    Ireland as It Is

    Robert John Buckley (AKA R.J.B.)

  • His execution (p. 063) had a verve whose charm was irresistible.

  • He felt anew what he had felt and seen, and he could not give any verve to the peroration of his sermon.

    In a Little Town

    Rupert Hughes

  • She is just about your size and dances with the verve of youth, which I admire extremely.

    Floyd Grandon's Honor</p>

    Amanda Minnie Douglas

  • There was a verve, a magnetic quality to her, that he hardly remembered before.

    Jewel Weed</p>

    Alice Ames Winter

British Dictionary definitions for verve


  1. great vitality, enthusiasm, and liveliness; sparkle
  2. a rare word for talent

Word Origin

C17: from Old French: garrulity, from Latin verba words, chatter
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for verve


1690s, "special talent in writing," from French verve "enthusiasm" (especially pertaining to the arts), in Old French "caprice, odd humor, proverb" (12c.), probably from Gallo-Romance *verva, from Latin verba "(whimsical) words," plural of verbum "word" (see verb). Meaning "mental vigor" is first recorded 1803.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

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