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from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An evil, degrading, or immoral practice or habit.
  • n. A serious moral failing.
  • n. Wicked or evil conduct or habits; corruption.
  • n. Sexual immorality, especially prostitution.
  • n. A slight personal failing; a foible: the vice of untidiness.
  • n. A flaw or imperfection; a defect.
  • n. A physical defect or weakness.
  • n. An undesirable habit, such as crib-biting, in a domestic animal.
  • n. A character representing generalized or particular vice in English morality plays.
  • n. A jester or buffoon.
  • n. Variant of vise.
  • prep. In place of; replacing.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A bad habit.
  • n. prostitution
  • n. A mechanical screw apparatus used for clamping or holding (also spelled vise).
  • adj. in place of; subordinate to; designating a person below another in rank
  • prep. instead of, in place of

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A defect; a fault; an error; a blemish; an imperfection.
  • n. A moral fault or failing; especially, immoral conduct or habit, as in the indulgence of degrading appetites; customary deviation in a single respect, or in general, from a right standard, implying a defect of natural character, or the result of training and habits; a harmful custom; immorality; depravity; wickedness
  • n. The buffoon of the old English moralities, or moral dramas, having the name sometimes of one vice, sometimes of another, or of Vice itself; -- called also Iniquity.
  • n. A kind of instrument for holding work, as in filing. Same as vise.
  • n. A tool for drawing lead into cames, or flat grooved rods, for casements.
  • n. A gripe or grasp.
  • transitive v. To hold or squeeze with a vice, or as if with a vice.
  • prep. In the place of; in the stead.
  • adj. Denoting one who in certain cases may assume the office or duties of a superior; designating an officer or an office that is second in rank or authority.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Fault; mistake; error: as, a vice of method.
  • n. An imperfection; a defect; a blemish: as, a vice of conformation; a vice of literary style.
  • n. Any immoral or evil habit or practice; evil conduct in which a person indulges; a particular form of wickedness or depravity; immorality; specifically, the indulgence of impure or degrading appetites or passions: as, the vice of drunkenness; hence, also, a fault or bad trick in a lower animal, as a horse.
  • n. Depravity; corruption of morals or manners: in a collective sense and without a plural: as, an age of vice.
  • n. Depravity or corruption of the physical organization; some morbid strife of the system: as, he inherited a constitutional vice which resulted in consumption.
  • n. Viciousness; ugliness; mischievousness.
  • n. [capitalized] The stock buffoon in the old English moralities, or moral plays, sometimes having the name of one specific vice, as Fraud, Envy, Covetousness, sometimes of Vice in general. See Iniquity, 4.
  • n. Synonyms and Iniquity, etc. See crime.
  • See vise.
  • n. A vice-chairman, vice-president, or other substitute or deputy, the principal or primary officer being indicated by the context.
  • In the place of; instead of: a Latin noun used in a position which gives it, as transferred to English, the effect of a preposition governing the following noun: as, Lieutenant A is gazetted as captain, vice Captain B promoted.
  • A prefix denoting, in the word compounded with it, one who acts in place of another, or one who is second in rank: as, vice-president, vice-chancellor.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a specific form of evildoing
  • n. moral weakness


Middle English, from Old French, from Latin vitium.
Latin ablative of *vix, change; see vice-.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Anglo-Norman < Old French < Latin vitium ("fault or blemish"). (Wiktionary)
From French vis ("screw, winding stairs"), from Old French vis, viz, from Latin vitis ("vine"); akin to English withy. (Wiktionary)
From Latin vice ("in place of"), ablative form of vicis. (Wiktionary)



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