The letter V comes from the Semitic letter Waw, as do the modern letters F, U, W, and Y. See F for details.
In Greek, the letter upsilon ‹Υ› was adapted from waw to represent, at first, the vowel /u/ as in "moon". This was later fronted to /y/, the front rounded vowel spelled ‹ü› in German.
In Latin, a stemless variant shape of the upsilon was borrowed in early times as V—either directly from the Western Greek alphabet or from the Etruscan alphabet as an intermediary—to represent the same /u/ sound, as well as the consonantal /w/. Thus, num — originally spelled ‹NVM› — was pronounced /num/ and via was pronounced /ˈwia/. From the first century A.D. on, depending on Vulgar Latin dialect, consonantal /w/ developed into /β/ (only kept in Spanish and Catalan), then later to /v/.
In Roman numerals, the letter V is used to represent the number 5. It was used because it resembled the convention of counting by notches carved in wood, with every fifth notch double-cut to form a "V".
During the Late Middle Ages, two forms of ‹v› developed, which were both used for its ancestor ‹u› and modern ‹v›. The pointed form ‹v› was written at the beginning of a word, while a rounded form ‹u› was used in the middle or end, regardless of sound. So whereas valor and excuse appeared as in modern printing, have and upon were printed ‹haue› and ‹vpon›. The first distinction between the letters ‹u› and ‹v› is recorded in a Gothic alphabet from 1386, where ‹v› preceded ‹u›. By the mid-1500s, the ‹v› form was used to represent the consonant and ‹u› the vowel sound, giving us the modern letter ‹u›. Capital ‹U› was not accepted as a distinct letter until many years later.
In the International Phonetic Alphabet, /v/ represents the voiced labiodental fricative. See Help:IPA.
Like J, K, Q, W, and Y, V is not used very frequently in English. However, it appears frequently in the Spanish (where its pronunciation is the same as and French languages.
This letter, like Q and X, is not used in the Polish alphabet. /v/ is spelled with the letter ‹w› instead, following the convention of German.
Ideas for V:
I'll be back later with my photo, have to run to the soc. sec. office.. UGH