1. an immoral or evil habit or practice.
  2. immoral conduct; depraved or degrading behavior: a life of vice.
  3. sexual immorality, especially prostitution.
  4. a particular form of depravity.
  5. a fault, defect, or shortcoming: a minor vice in his literary style.
  6. a bad habit, as in a horse.
  7. (initial capital letter) a character in the English morality plays, a personification of general vice or of a particular vice, serving as the buffoon.
  8. 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.

noun, verb (used with object), viced, vic·ing.

  1. vise.


  1. instead of; in the place of.


  1. any of various devices, usually having two jaws that may be brought together or separated by means of a screw, lever, or the like, used to hold an object firmly while work is being done on it.

verb (used with object), vised, vis·ing.

  1. to hold, press, or squeeze with or as with a vise.

  1. 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.


  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, etcsmoking is his only vice
  5. pathol obsolete any physical defect or imperfection
  6. a bad trick or disposition, as of horses, dogs, etc


  1. an appliance for holding an object while work is done upon it, usually having a pair of jaws


  1. (tr) to grip (something) with or as if with a vice


    1. (prenominal)serving in the place of or as a deputy for
    2. (in combination)viceroy


  1. informal a person who serves as a deputy to another


  1. instead of; as a substitute for


  1. (in English morality plays) a character personifying a particular vice or vice in general

noun, verb

  1. US a variant spelling of vice 2

“moral fault, wickedness,” c.1300, from Old French vice, from Latin vitium “defect, offense, blemish, imperfection,” in both physical and moral senses (cf. Italian 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,” literally “the English vice,” is attested from 1942, from French.


“tool for holding,” see vise.

word-forming element meaning “instead of, in place of,” 15c., from Latin vice “in place of,” ablative of vicis “change, turn, office” (see vicarious). Sometimes borrowed in Old French form vis-, vi-.


c.1300, “device like a screw or winch for bending a crossbow or catapult,” from Old French vis, viz “screw,” from Latin vitis “vine, tendril of a vine,” literally “that which winds,” from root of viere “to bind, twist” (see withy). The meaning “clamping tool with two jaws closed by a screw” is first recorded c.1500.

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