If you know Spanish, you'll sometimes come across the second person singular pronoun usted abbreviated as Vd. instead of the normal Ud. This is because the word used to be vusted; the v just kind of merged into the rest of the word by the seventeenth century and we have Vd. as a remnant of that. Vusted, in turn, is a contraction of the phrase vuestra merced, which meant "your grace" or, more literally, "your mercy". Vuestra derives from Latin vestra, the feminine second person plural possessive pronoun (this ultimately comes from Proto-Italic westeros, from the Proto-Indo-European reconstruction wos), and merced is from Latin merces, which meant "pay" or "reward" and is also the etymon of words like mercy, commerce, Mercury, market, and mercenary (this, through Latin merx and Proto-Italic merk, probably has an Etruscan origin) .
Adam Aleksic is a sophomore studying linguistics and government at Harvard University. He also has disturbing interests in politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, and law.