V/STOL (Vertical/ Short Take-Off and Landing), type of aircraft that can take off and land vertically or on a short runway.
21st Century Webster's Family Encyclopedia - Victoria to Waterloo, Battle of
Viña del Mar, leading resort and second largest city in Chile, located on the Pacific coast just northeast of Valparaíso.
Victoria (1819–1901), queen of Great Britain and Ireland from 1837 and empress of India from 1876.
Victoria (pop. 66,300), city in southwestern British Columbia, Canada, on the southeastern tip of Vancouver Island.
Victoria (pop. 1,184,000), capital of the colony of Hong Kong.
Victoria, state in southeast Australia, the second-smallest and most densely populated in the country.
Victoria Falls, waterfall on the Zambesi River in south-central Africa between Zimbabwe and Zambia, where the 1-mi- (1-km-) wide river plunges 400 ft (122 m) into a narrow fissure.
Vicuña (Lama vicugna), member of the camel family living in the western High Andes at up to 16,400 ft (c.5,000 m).
Video camera, device that converts images into electronic signals for television viewing.
Video cassette recorder See: Videotape recorder.
Videodisc, flat, round, plastic platter on which both picture and sound are reproduced on a television set.
Videotape, magnetic tape used to record television programs.
Videotape recorder (VTR), mechanism that records visual images and sounds on magnetic tape.
Vienna (German: Wien; pop. 1,539,800), capital of Austria, on the Danube River, one of the world's great cities. Associated with Josef Haydn, W. A. Mozart, Ludwig von Beethoven, and the various Strausses, it is a celebrated musical, theatrical, and cultural center and has many famous buildings and museums, including the Hofburg, Schönbrunn, and Belvedere palaces, the Cathedral of St.…
Vienna, Congress of, assembly held in Vienna (1814–5) to reorganize Europe after the Napoleonic Wars.
Vientiane (pop. 442,000), capital and largest city of Laos, located on the Mekong River.
Vietnam, officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, located in southeast Asia. With an area of 127,545 sq mi (330,341 sq km), Vietnam is bordered by Kampuchea (formerly Cambodia), and Laos on the west; China to the north and east; and the Gulf of Tonkin, the South China Sea, and the Gulf of Thailand to the east and south. The capital is Hanoi. Narrow and S-shaped, Vietnam is a 1,000-mi (1,609 k…
Vietnam Veterans Memorial See: Washington, D.C.
Vietnam War, conflict in South Vietnam (1957–75) between South Vietnamese government forces, backed by the United States, and Communist guerrilla insurgents, the Vietcong, backed by North Vietnam. The conflict originated in 1941 when a Vietminh guerrilla force was formed under Hi Chi Minh to fight the Japanese. After 1946 it fought the French colonial government, defeating them at Dien Bien…
Vikings, or Norsemen, Norwegian, Swedish, and Danish seafarers who raided Europe from the 9th to the 11th centuries.
Villa-Lobos, Heitor (1887–1959), Brazilian composer, conductor, and teacher, known for his research on and use of folk music.
Villa, Pancho (Francisco Villa; 1877–1923), Mexican revolutionary leader. Originally a bandit in northern Mexico, Villa joined (1910) the insurgent forces of Francisco Madero fighting against the dictator Porfirio Díaz. After the successful campaign, he remained in the irregular army. When Madero was assassinated (1913), Villa joined forces with another revolutionary, Venustiano Carr…
Villard, Henry (1835–1900), German-born U.S. journalist and financier.
Villella, Edward Joseph (1936– ), U.S. dancer who performed his first solo within a year of joining the New York City Ballet (1957).
Vilnius, or Vilna, capital and largest city of Lithuania (pop. 590,100).
Vimy Ridge, Battle of, World War I battle (April 9, 1917) in which the Canadian Corps of the British Army impressively defeated the German forces in northern France.
Vincennes, city on the Wabash River in southwestern Indiana.
Vinci, Leonardo da See: Da Vinci, Leonardo.
Vine, general name for plants with climbing or trailing stems that cannot grow upright without support.
Vinegar, sour liquid, consisting mainly of acetic acid and water, used for seasoning and preserving foods.
Vinegar eel (Turbatrix aceti), tiny roundworm, about 1/16 in (1.6 mm) in length, found in fermenting cider vinegar.
Vinland, region of eastern North America discovered A.D. 1000 by Viking explorers, probably led by Leif Ericson, and briefly settled (1004) by Thorfinn Karlsefni.
Vinson, Frederick Moore (1890–1953), chief justice of the U.S.
Vinyl, durable and useful plastic material used in making a variety of products.
Vinyl chloride See: Vinyl.
Viol, forerunner (15th–17th centuries) of the violin.
Viola, stringed musical instrument, the tenor voice of the violin family.
Violet, low herbaceous plants (genus Viola) that produce characteristically shaped flowers on slender stalks.
Violin, smallest, most versatile member of the bowed, 4-stringed violin family (violin, viola, cello, double bass).
Violoncello See: Cello.
Viper, family of snakes with highly developed venom apparatus, found in Europe, Africa, and Asia.
Viper's bugloss, or blue thistle (Echium vulgare), plant found in dry areas of the eastern United States.
Virchow, Rudolf (1821–1902), Pomeranian-born German pathologist.
Vireo, small, greenish, insectivorous bird (family Vireonidae) of tropical and temperate America.
Virgil See: Vergil.
Virgin Islands, westernmost group of the Lesser Antilles in the West Indies, east of Puerto Rico. The western islands belong to the United States and the eastern group to Britain. Discovered and claimed for Spain by Christopher Columbus (1493), the Virgin Islands were settled chiefly by English and Danes in the 1600s. England secured the British Virgin Islands in 1666. The Danish West Indies were …
Virgin Islands National Park, national park, authorized in 1956, located on most of St.
Virgin Mary See: Mary.
Virginal, type of small harpsichord, its strings parallel to the single keyboard.
Virginia, state in the southeastern United States; bordered by Maryland to the northeast, the Atlantic Ocean to the east, North Carolina and Tennessee to the south, Kentucky to the west, and West Virginia to the west and northwest. Virginia has 5 main land regions. The Atlantic Coastal Plain, also called the Tidewater, is a low-lying area of tidal waterways with some swamps or salt marshes. Coveri…
Virginia Beach (pop. 417,000), resort city on the southeastern edge of Virginia, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean and Chesapeake Bay.
Virginia City, “ghost town” in western Nevada, a leading tourist attraction, c.20 mi (32 km) south of Reno.
Virginia Company, name of 2 companies of merchant-adventurers granted patents by the English crown (1606) for colonizing America.
Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia), rambling, viny plant that grows in eastern North America.
Virginia Resolutions See: Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions.
Virginius Massacre, seizure of a merchant ship, the Virginius (1873), by Spain during its conflict with Cuba.
Viroid, class of infectious agents, causing several plant diseases.
Virus, submicroscopic parasitic microorganism comprising a protein or protein/lipid sheath containing nucleic acid (DNA or RNA).
Viscosity, resistance of a fluid to shape change or relative motion within itself.
Vishinsky, Andrei Yanuarievich (1883–1954), Soviet diplomat and jurist.
Vishnu, in Hinduism, second deity in the Trimurti (divine trinity, including Brahma, the creator, and Shiva, the destroyer), representing the preserving and protecting aspect of the godhead.
Visigoths (West Goths), Germanic people.
Vision See: Eye.
Vistula River, largest (678 mi/1,091 km long) and most important river in Poland.
Vital Statistics, data related to the important events, such as birth, marriage, and death, in a person's life.
Vitamin, specific nutrient compounds essential for body growth or metabolism and which can be supplied by a balanced diet or, when necessary, in the form of supplements. Enzymes and coenzymes are necessary for metabolism, especially the processes by which the body absorbs and utilizes nutrients. But there are certain coenzymes the body can obtain only from vitamins. Vitamins are denoted by letters…
Vivaldi, Antonio (c.1680–1741), Venetian baroque composer.
Vivisection, dissection of living animals, usually in the course of physiological or pathological research; the use of the term is often extended to cover all animal experimentation.
Vizsla, or Hungarian pointer, breed of hunting dog.
Vladimir I (?–1015), Russian grand duke who established Christianity as the country's official religion.
Vladivostok (pop. 643,000), capital of Primorski Kray, in the eastern Russian Federation, chief Pacific naval port of Russia, on Peter the Great Bay near North Korea.
Vlaminck, Maurice de (1876–1958), French artist who, along with André Derain and Henri Matisse, was a leader of the fauvist movement.
Vocal cord See: Larynx.
Vocational education, courses of study that prepare students for a range of occupations that do not require baccalaureate or higher degrees, in areas such as agriculture, business, trades, industry, health services, home economics, and various technical fields.
Vocational rehabilitation, service designed for persons, usually 16 years of age and older, with mental and/or physical handicaps, to become employable.
Vogelweide, Walther von der See: Walther Von der Vogelweide.
Voice, sound emitted in speech, the method of communication exclusive to Homo sapiens.
Voice of America (VOA), radio division of the International Communications Agency (formerly the U.S.
Voiceprint, or speech spectrogram, visual record of the sound waves of a human voice made by running a tape recording of a voice through an instrument called a sound spectrograph.
Volapük, universal language created in 1879 by Johann Martin Schleyer, a German priest.
Volcano, fissure or vent in a planet's crust through which magma and associated material may be extruded onto the surface. This may occur with explosive force. The extruded magma, or lava, solidifies in various forms soon after exposure to the atmosphere. In particular it does so around the vent, building up the characteristic volcanic cone, at the top of which is a crater containing the ma…
Volcker, Paul Adolph (1927– ), U.S. economist and chairman of the Federal Reserve Board (1979–87).
Vole, mouselike member of the New World rat and mouse family, closely related to the lemming.
Volga River, chief tributary of Russia and the longest in Europe.
Volgograd (pop. 1,005,000), important manufacturing city in Ukraine located on the west bank of the Volga River.
Volkswagen (German, “the people's car”), one of the world's largest producers of passenger cars.
Volleyball, game for 2 teams of 6, who volley (using any part of the body above the waist) an inflated ball (8.25 in/21 cm in diameter) across an 8-ft (2.4-m) high net, conceding points by failing to return the ball or by hitting it out of bounds.
Volstead Act, law passed by the Congress of the United States in 1919 to enforce the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, which prohibited the manufacture, sale, or transportation of alcoholic beverages within the United States.
Volta, Alessandro (1745–1827), Italian physicist.
Voltaire (François-Marie Arouet; 1694–1778), French author, philosopher, and major figure of the Enlightenment.
Volunteers of America, voluntary philanthropic society founded in New York City (1896) by Ballington and Maud Booth after a split with the Salvation Army.
Vomiting, return of food or other substance (e.g., blood) from the stomach.
Von Braun, Wernher (1912–77), German rocket engineer who designed the first self-contained missile, the V-2, which was used against the United Kingdom in 1944.
Von Neumann, John (1903–57), Hungarian-born U.S. mathematician who put quantum mechanics on a rigorous mathematical foundation.
Von Sternberg, Josef (1894–1969), Austrian-born U.S. motion-picture director famous for his films starring Marlene Dietrich.
Von Willebrand's disease, hereditary disease in which there is prolonged bleeding when the skin is injured.
Vonnegut, Kurt, Jr. (1922– ), U.S. fiction writer.
Voodoo, folk religion, chiefly of Haiti, with West African and added Roman Catholic and native West Indian elements.
Vorster, Balthazar Johannes (1915–83), South African political leader and prime minister (1966–78).
Voting, formal collective expression of approval or rejection of a candidate for office or a course of action.
Voting Rights Act of 1965, U.S. law aimed at eliminating local laws and practices that served to prevent blacks and other minorities from voting.
Voyager Program, two unmanned U.S. probes of the outer solar system.
Voyageurs National Park, scenic 219,431-acre (88,804-hectare) park in northern Minnesota (authorized in 1971), with lakes, forests, and interesting glacial features.
Vuillard, Édouard (1868–1940), French painter, printmaker, and decorator who, along with his friend Pierre Bonnard, developed the intimist style of painting.
Vulcan, in Roman mythology, god of fire.
Vulgate, Latin version of the Bible, so called because it became the most widespread (Latin: vulgata) in use.
Vulture, any of 2 families of large, soaring, diurnal birds of prey.
W, 23rd letter of the English alphabet.
Wabash River, river running through Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois.
Waco (pop. 189,123), industrial city in central Texas, situated on the Brazos River nearly 100 mi (161 km) south of Dallas.
Wages and hours, income derived from labor, figured on the basis of the number of hours worked.
Wagner Act See: National Labor Relations Act.
Wagner, Honus (John Peter Wagner; 1874–1955), U.S. baseball player.
Wagner, Richard (1813–83), German composer. His adventurous and influential music marks the high point of German romanticism. A conductor in provincial opera houses, he achieved his first successes as a composer with the operas Rienzi (1838–40), Der Fliegende Holländer (1841), Tannhäuser (1844), and Lohengrin (1846–48), in which he pioneered his new ideas in fusi…
Wagner, Robert Ferdinand (1877–1953), German-born U.S. politician.
Wagner, Robert Ferdinand, Jr. (1910–91), U.S. politician and administrator.
Wagon, wheeled vehicle of primary importance to transportation and commerce.
Wagtail, any of several small Old World birds (family Motacillidae) related to the pipits.
Wahoo, swift-swimming sport and food fish (Acanthocybium solandri), of the mackerel family.
Wailing Wall, part of the western wall of the ancient Temple in Jerusalem, destroyed by the Romans in A.D. 70.
Wainwright, Jonathan Mayhew (1883–1953), U.S. general.
Waite, Morrison Remick (1816–88), seventh chief justice of the U.S.
Wake, tradition in which people gather at the home of a dead person before burial.
Wake Island, atoll in the central Pacific Ocean, an unincorporated territory administered by the U.S.
Wake-robin See: Trillium.
Waksman, Selman Abraham (1888–1973), U.S. microbiologist.
Walata, important trade city of West Africa in the 11th–16th centuries, now the town of Oualata in Mauritania.
Wald, George (1906– ), U.S. chemist and prominent pacifist.
Wald, Lillian D. (1867–1940), U.S. nurse, public health services pioneer, and social worker, founder of the Henry Street Settlement (1893).
Waldenses, or Waldensians, reforming Christian sect founded by Peter Waldo in Lyons, France, in the 12th century.
Waldheim, Kurt (1918– ), Austrian diplomat and minister of foreign affairs (1968–70), and secretary general of the United Nations (1972–81).
Wales (Welsh: Cymru), historic principality of Great Britain, politically united with England since 1536. It is a large, roughly rectangular peninsula projecting into the Irish Sea west of England. Covering 8,016 sq mi (20,761 sq km), it is dominated by the Cambrian Mountains (Mt. Snowdon, 3,500 ft/1,085 m), and its rivers include the Severn, Wye, Usk, Taff, Dee, and Teifi. The climate is mild and…
Walesa, Lech (1943– ), president of Poland (1991–95).
Walker, Alice (1944– ), U.S. author of poetry and novels examining the life experiences of African Americans.
Walker, David (1785–1830), radical African-American abolitionist.
Walker, Herschel, Jr. (1962– ), U.S. football running back.
Walker, Mary Edwards (1832–1919), U.S. physician, writer, and advocate of women's rights.
Walkie-talkie, portable 2-way radio frequently used by police, hunters, and others on the move to communicate over short distances (up to a few kilometers).
Walking, or race-walking, competitive track-and-field sport.
Walking stick, or stick insect, insect (Diapheromera femorata) that resembles a twig, camouflaging it from its enemies.
Wall Street, financial center of the United States, located in lower Manhattan, New York City.
Wallaby, rabbit-sized member of the kangaroo family (especially genus Macropus), native to Australia, Tasmania, and New Guinea.
Wallace, Alfred Russel (1823–1913), English naturalist and evolutionist.
Wallace, George Corley (1919–98), U.S. political leader, governor of Alabama (1963–67, 1971–79, 1983–86).
Wallace, Henry Agard (1888–1965), 33rd vice president of the United States (1941–45).
Wallace, Lew (Lewis Wallace; 1827–1905), U.S. military leader, lawyer, and author.
Wallboard, fibrous building material made in rigid sheets and used to cover walls and ceilings for temperature and sound insulation, fire protection, and decoration.
Wallenberg, Raoul (1912–47?), Swedish diplomat.
Waller, Fats (Thomas Wright Waller; 1904–43), U.S. jazz and blues pianist, composer, and entertainer.
Walleye See: Perch.
Wallflower, or gillyflower, fragrant flowering plant (Cheiranthus cheiri) of the mustard family.
Walloons, French-speaking people (chiefly Celtic), inhabitants of southern Belgium and adjacent areas of France.
Wallpaper, printed, painted, or embossed wall covering used to finish interior walls.
Walnut, deciduous tree of the genus Juglans, prized for its wood and nuts.
Walpole, Sir Robert (1676–1745), English politician often described as Great Britain's first prime minister.
Walrus, either of 2 subspecies of seal-like marine mammals (Odobenus rosmarus), distinguished by upper canines that extend into long tusks (up to 3.5 ft/1.1 m) and wrinkled brown hides.
Walter, Bruno (Bruno Walter Schlesinger; 1876–1962), German-born U.S. conductor.
Walter Reed Army Medical Center, military hospital and care facility in Washington, D.C.
Walter, Thomas Ustick (1804–87), U.S. architect known for the classical Greek influence in his designs.
Walther Von der Vogelweide (c.1170–c.l230), most renowned medieval German lyric poet, or minnesinger.
Walton, Ernest Thomas Sinton (1903–95), Irish nuclear physicist.
Walton, George (1741–1804), colonial politician from Georgia.
Walton, Izaak (1593–1683), English writer.
Walton, Sir William Turner (1902–83), English composer.
Waltz, ballroom dance in 3/4 time, probably originating from the ländler, a folk dance; also, music in 3/4 time.
Walvis Bay, or Walvisbaai, South African exclave district within Namibia's boundaries, on the Atlantic coast.
Wampanoag, Native Americans of the Algonquian language family who lived east of Narragansett Bay, R.I.
Wampum, strings of shell beads and disks made by Native Americans, used as ornaments and as money in trading.
Wandering Jew, or striped inch plant, any of several trailing plants that are grown indoors for their flowers and foliage.
Wandering Jew, legendary man (identified as a Jew in the 17th century) doomed to wander the earth until the Second Coming of Christ as punishment for taunting Jesus as He struggled to His Crucifixion.
Wang Wei (699–759), Chinese poet, landscape painter, and calligrapher of the T'ang dynasty (618–907).
Wankel engine, internal-combustion engine that produces rotary motion directly.
Wapiti (Cervus canadensis), North American subspecies of the red deer, called elk in the United States.
War, organized armed conflict between groups of people or states.
War of 1812, conflict between the United States and Great Britain (1812–15). Due to the maritime policies of Britain and France during the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars, U.S. trade slumped. At the same time, the British were confiscating U.S. ships and impressing U.S. crewmen (as in the Chesapeake incident, when the British impressed 4 crew members from a U.S. frigate), …
War aces, combat pilots with at least 5 “victories” or “kills,” confirmed downings of enemy aircraft.
War Between the States See: Civil War, U.S.
War correspondent, news reporter who sends information from a war front to print or broadcast media, to provide accurate, up-to-date coverage.
War crime, in international law, violation of the laws and rules of war. The first systematic attempt to frame laws for warfare was by Hugo Grotius (1625). Since 1864 various agreements have laid down principles for the treatment of combatants and civilians and have attempted to outlaw certain weapons. Among the few people convicted of war crimes was Confederate officer Henry Wirz, executed in 186…
War debt, financial obligations to the United States incurred by foreign countries during World War I.
War Department, United States, former executive department (1789–1947) created to govern all phases of the military.
War on Poverty See: Johnson, Lyndon Baines.
War Powers Resolution, also called War Powers Act, U.S. law that describes the procedure that both the President and the Congress must follow in order to legally declare war.
Warble fly, also cattle warble or heel fly, large, beelike fly of the family Hypodermatidae that deposits its eggs on the legs or feet of cattle.
Warbler, small songbird native to the Americas.
Warburg, Otto Heinrich (1883–1970), German biochemist.
Ward, Aaron Montgomery (1843–1913), U.S. businessperson.
Ward, Artemus (1727–1800), leader in the American Revolutionary War.
Ward, Barbara (1914–81), British writer, economist, and commentator on the relations between the Western powers and developing nations.
Ward, Joseph (1838–89), U.S. educator, Congregational minister, and missionary.
Ward, Lynd Kendall (1905–85), U.S. artist, writer, wood engraver.
Ward, Robert (1917– ), U.S. composer.
Warhol, Andy (1927–87), U.S. artist and filmmaker, famous for his pop art silk-screen paintings that incorporated everyday objects (e.g., soup cans).
Warm-blooded animal, or homoiotherm, animal whose body temperature is not dependent on external temperature but is maintained at a constant level by internally generated metabolic heat.
Warner, Jack L. (1892–1978), U.S. film producer who, with his 3 brothers, founded Warner Brothers, one of the largest and most successful Hollywood film studios.
Warner, Pop (Glenn Scobey Warner; 1871–1954), U.S. football coach.
Warner, Seth (1743–84), hero of the American Revolutionary War and a leader of the Green Mountain Boys.
Warrant, judicial order (signed usually by a judge or court clerk) authorizing arrest of a suspect, seizure of goods, or search of premises.
Warren, Earl (1891–1974), chief justice of the U.S.
Warren, Joseph (1741–75), U.S. politician and physician.
Warren, Mercy Otis (1728–1814), U.S. author of patriotic works.
Warren Report, findings of the commission established (Nov. 1963) by President Lyndon Johnson to investigate the assassination of President John F.
Warren, Robert Penn (1905–89), U.S. novelist, poet, and critic.
Wars of the Roses, fight between the House of Lancaster and the House of York for the English throne (1455–85).
Wars of Succession See: Succession wars.
Warsaw (pop. 1,644,500), largest city and capital of Poland, on the Vistula River.
Warsaw Pact, or Warsaw Treaty Organization, mutual defense pact signed in 1955 in Warsaw by the USSR and its Communist neighbors (Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland, and Romania) after the formation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
Warship, ship armed and employed for combat. Ships have been used in battle since antiquity, when cargo carriers became warships when necessary. The oar-and sail-powered galley ships of the Romans and Greeks, and the Viking long ships attacked enemy vessels by ramming them. By the 1500s ships were larger and heavier, and when armed became floating artillery depots. Spain had such a fleet—ga…
Wart, scaly excrescence on the skin caused by a virus.
Wart hog, wild hog (genus Phacochoerus) distinguished by large, gristly facial warts and 1-ft (30.5-cm) curling tusks.
Warwick (pop. 87,123), city in east-central Rhode Island, on Pawtuxet River and Narragansett Bay.
Warwick, Earl of (Richard Neville; 1428–71), British soldier and influential leader. He is known as “the Kingmaker” for having put Edward IV and Henry VI on the throne. In 1453 Warwick aided the duke of York in his attempt to seize the power of the Lancastrian duke of Somerset, chief adviser to Henry VI. In 1455, during the War of the Roses, when the 2 sides fought at the Batt…
Wasatch Range, part of the Rocky Mountains that stretches southward from northern Utah into southern Idaho.
Washakie (1804?–1900), chief of Eastern Shoshone Indians, a tribe from Utah and Wyoming.
Washburn, Sherwood Larned (1911– ), U.S. anthropologist.
Washing machine, machine that washes clothes.
Washington, Pacific Coast state in northwestern United States; bordered by Canada to the north, Idaho to the east, Oregon and the Columbia River to the south, and the Pacific Ocean and Puget Sound to the west. Washington has six main land regions. The Rocky Mountains, in the northeast, is an area of mineral-rich ridges and valleys. The Columbia Plateau, in central and eastern Washington, is a semi…
Washington, Booker T. (1856–1915), U.S. educator.
Washington Cathedral, or National Cathedral, officially, Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, Episcopal church in Washington, D.C.
Washington Conference, post-World War I disarmament meetings convened by Pres.
Washington, D.C. (pop. 3,923,574), capital of the United States, coextensive with the federal District of Columbia, which is the seat of the U.S. federal government. (The “D.C.” in the city's name stand for District of Columbia.) It lies in the eastern United States on the west-central edge of Maryland on the Potomac River, with Virginia on the river's opposite side. Th…
Washington, George (1732–99), first president of the United States. As a soldier, Washington led the Continental Army in the revolution to win American independence from Britain. As one of the founders of the new republic, he headed the Constitutional Convention. He was president during the most crucial years of his country's formation as a new nation. Washington's reputation …
Washington, Harold (1922–87), U.S. lawyer, politician, first black mayor of Chicago, elected 1983 and 1987.
Washington, Martha Custis (1731–1802), wife of President George Washington and first First Lady of the United States.
Washington Monument, stone obelisk in Washington, D.C, honoring George Washington.
Washington's Birthday, federal holiday celebrated on the third Monday in February in honor of the first president of the United States, George Washington.
Washington, Treaty of (1871), agreement between the United States and Great Britain, signed in Washington, D.C., to arbitrate the Alabama claims of the U.S.
Wasp, stinging winged insect, banded black and yellow, related to bees and ants in the order Hymenoptera.
Wasserman, August von (1866–1925), German physician and scientist.
Waste disposal, disposal of such matter as animal excreta and the waste products of agricultural, industrial, and domestic processes, where an unacceptable level of environmental pollution would otherwise result. Where an ecological balance exists, wastes are recycled naturally or by technological means before accumulations affect the quality of life or disrupt the ecosystem. The most satisfactory…
Watauga Association, government (1772–75) set up on land leased from the Cherokee along the Watauga River in eastern Tennessee.
Watch, small, portable timepiece.
Water (H2O), transparent, odorless liquid that in liquid form and solid form (ice) covers about 74% of the earth's surface. Water is essential to life, which began in the oceans. Water is also humanity's most precious natural resource. The advent of desalination technology has made sea water, which accounts for 97% of the total water on earth, available for use as fresh…
Water beetle, any of a number of families of oval insects, in the order Coleoptera, that live in or near water and propel themselves by fringed hind legs.
Water boatman See: Water bug.
Water buffalo, any of several oxen in the family Bovidae, most common of which is the Indian buffalo (Bubalus bubalis), standing 6–6.5 ft (1.5–2 m) at the shoulder.
Water bug, name given to a number of insects that live on or below the surface of fresh water, especially the giant water bug, which may grow up to 4 in (10 cm) long.
Water chestnut, name of 2 different plants that grow in subarctic and temperate wetlands.
Water clock, also called clepsydra, ancient instrument that measured time by the amount of water flowing from it.
Water dog See: Mudpuppy.
Water flea, any of a group of small animals belonging to the class Branchiopoda.
Water glass, also known as soluble glass, colorless lump made up of sodium, silicon, and oxygen that resembles glass.
Water hyacinth, South American floating plant (Eichhornia crassipes).
Water lily, aquatic plant of the genus Nymphaea (unrelated to true lilies).
Waterbury (pop. 221,629), city (inc. 1853) in Connecticut, situated on the Naugatuck River.
Watercolor, painting technique in which the pigment is mixed with water before application, such as fresco and tempera, but more particularly the aquarelle technique of thin washes.
Waterfall, vertical fall of water formed where a river flows from hard rock to an area of more easily eroded rock, or where there has been a rise of the land relative to sea level or a blockage of the river by a landslide.
Waterford (pop. 39,500), port city in southeastern Ireland, located on the River Suir near the point where it flows into the Waterford Harbour.
Watergate, series of scandals involving Pres. Richard Nixon and his administration. On June 17, 1972, 5 men from Nixon's reelection committee were arrested as they tried to plant electronic eavesdropping equipment in the headquarters of the Democratic Party national committee in the Watergate office building, Washington, D.C. As a result of their convictions and the suspicions of Judge John…
Waterloo, Battle of (June 18, 1815), final engagement of the Napoleonic Wars.