How are you issuing the command and what are the results?
Assuming you're doing something along the lines of 'aterm -fn verdana' and you get a 'can't load font' or something like, it's probably that you don't have 'verdana' defined as an alias in 'fonts.alias'. The man page for 'mkfontdir' says you should edit this by hand - seems like a royal pain to me and, for once, a tool would be nice, but I don't know of one. There's a 'mkfontalias.py' around the web but I don't know python to be able to modify it and it doesn't work (on my box) as is. Another option is just to 'grep -i verdana fonts.dir' and pick one - maybe play with the numbers until it looks like you want. (The '11' was '0' when copied.)
aterm -fn -microsoft-Verdana-medium-r-normal--11-0-0-0-p-0-iso8859-1 --geometry 80x48
is almost readable but it's oddly large and monospaced, anyway. (Stuff like matisse and comic looks really... well, funny).
I dunno about all this, though. 'vga's good enough for me - verdana's not really a term font, at least to me. In ~/.Xdefaults, I just have
The precise syntax of that is probably wrong, but it works. And this whole post is probably incompetent, but it's some stuff to play with until somebody who actually knows something comes along. Other than the Xdefaults stuff, most everything I said I just picked up from spending some time with google and the man pages after reading your post. Maybe you could have better results with those resources than I did.