late 14c., "deputy of a count or earl," from Anglo-Fr. and O.Fr. visconte,
from M.L. vicecomes
), from L.L. vice-
"deputy" (see vice-
) + L. comes
"member of an imperial court, nobleman" (see count
(n.)). As a rank in British peerage, first recorded 1440, when John, Baron Beaumont, was made one by Henry VI.