1 [vahys]
an immoral or evil habit or practice. fault, failing, foible, weakness. virtue.
immoral conduct; depraved or degrading behavior: a life of vice. depravity, sin, iniquity, wickedness, corruption. virtue, morality.
sexual immorality, especially prostitution. wantonness, degeneracy, licentiousness.
a particular form of depravity.
a fault, defect, or shortcoming: a minor vice in his literary style. flaw, blemish, imperfection, foible, weakness.
a bad habit, as in a horse.
(initial capital letter) a character in the English morality plays, a personification of general vice or of a particular vice, serving as the buffoon.
Archaic. a physical defect, flaw, or infirmity: In most cases, attempts to relieve the symptoms will be of little avail without at the same time relieving or removing the constitutional vice which has induced this condition.

1250–1300; Middle English < Anglo-French, Old French < Latin vitium a fault, defect, vice

1. Fault, failing, foible, weakness, vice imply shortcomings or imperfections in a person. Fault is the common word used to refer to any of the average shortcomings of a person; when it is used, condemnation is not necessarily implied: Of his many faults the greatest is vanity. Foible, failing, weakness all tend to excuse the person referred to. Of these foible is the mildest, suggesting a weak point that is slight and often amusing, manifesting itself in eccentricity rather than in wrongdoing: the foibles of artists. Weakness suggests that the person in question is unable to control a particular impulse, and gives way to self-indulgence: a weakness for pretty women. Failing is closely akin to fault, except that it is particularly applied to humanity at large, suggesting common, often venial, shortcomings: Procrastination and making excuses are common failings. Vice (which may also apply to a sin in itself, apart from a person: the vice of gambling) is the strongest term, and designates a habit that is truly detrimental or evil. Unabridged


2 [vahys]
noun, verb (used with object), viced, vicing.


3 [vahy-see, -suh, vahys]
instead of; in the place of.

1760–70; < Latin: instead of, ablative of vicis (genitive; not attested in nominative) interchange, alternation


a combining form meaning “deputy,” used in the formation of compound words, usually titles of officials who serve in the absence of the official denoted by the base word: viceroy; vice-chancellor.

Middle EnglishLatin vice vice3 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To vice
World English Dictionary
vice1 (vaɪs)
1.  an immoral, wicked, or evil habit, action, or trait
2.  habitual or frequent indulgence in pernicious, immoral, or degrading practices
3.  a specific form of pernicious conduct, esp prostitution or sexual perversion
4.  a failing or imperfection in character, conduct, etc: smoking is his only vice
5.  obsolete pathol any physical defect or imperfection
6.  a bad trick or disposition, as of horses, dogs, etc
[C13: via Old French from Latin vitium a defect]

vice or vise2 (vaɪs)
1.  an appliance for holding an object while work is done upon it, usually having a pair of jaws
2.  (tr) to grip (something) with or as if with a vice
[C15: from Old French vis a screw, from Latin vītis vine, plant with spiralling tendrils (hence the later meaning)]
vise or vise2
[C15: from Old French vis a screw, from Latin vītis vine, plant with spiralling tendrils (hence the later meaning)]
'vicelike or vise2
'viselike or vise2

vice3 (vaɪs)
1.  a.  (prenominal) serving in the place of or as a deputy for
 b.  (in combination): viceroy
2.  informal a person who serves as a deputy to another
[C18: from Latin vice, from vicis interchange]

vice4 (ˈvaɪsɪ)
instead of; as a substitute for
[C16: from Latin, ablative of vicis change]

Vice (vaɪs)
(in English morality plays) a character personifying a particular vice or vice in general

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

"moral fault, wickedness," c.1300, from O.Fr. vice, from L. vitium "defect, offense, blemish, imperfection," in both physical and moral senses (cf. It. vezzo "usage, entertainment").
"Horace and Aristotle have already spoken to us about the virtues of their forefathers and the vices of their own times, and through the centuries, authors have talked the same way. If all this were true, we would be bears today." [Montesquieu]
Vice squad is attested from 1905. Vice anglais "corporal punishment," lit. "the English vice," is attested from 1942, from French.

"tool for holding," see vise.

prefix meaning "instead of, in place of," 15c., from L. vice "in place of," ablative of vicis "change, turn, office" (see vicarious). Sometimes borrowed in O.Fr. form vis-, vi-.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Nineteenth-century vice presidents had an annoying habit of dying in office.
Along with great wealth, for a few, it stimulated political vice and the
  noxious excretions.
Top-tier college presidents hold government positions equivalent to vice
We understand more clearly now that what is effective and beautiful in one
  language is a vice in another.
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