We're working on a new site. Click here to get a sneak preview.


adjective vi·car·i·ous \vī-ˈker-ē-əs, və-\

: experienced or felt by watching, hearing about, or reading about someone else rather than by doing something yourself

Full Definition of VICARIOUS

a :  serving instead of someone or something else
b :  that has been delegated <vicarious authority>
:  performed or suffered by one person as a substitute for another or to the benefit or advantage of another :  substitutionary <a vicarious sacrifice>
:  experienced or realized through imaginative or sympathetic participation in the experience of another <a vicarious thrill>
:  occurring in an unexpected or abnormal part of the body instead of the usual one <vicarious menstruation manifested by bleeding from the nose>
vi·car·i·ous·ly adverb
vi·car·i·ous·ness noun

Examples of VICARIOUS

  1. I am a vicarious eater, often preferring a description of a meal to eating it. I hoard the Wednesday food section of the New York Times, savoring it as my late-night reading, finishing always with the restaurant review. —Anne-Marie Slaughter, Commonweal, 14 June 2002


Latin vicarius, from vicis change, alternation, stead — more at week
First Known Use: 1637
VICARIOUS Defined for Kids


adjective vi·car·i·ous \vī-ˈker-ē-əs\

Definition of VICARIOUS for Kids

:  sharing in someone else's experiences through the use of imagination or sympathetic feelings <She got vicarious enjoyment from her sister's travels.>
vi·car·i·ous·ly adverb
vi·car·i·ous·ness noun
Medical Dictionary


adjective vi·car·i·ous \vī-ˈker-ē-əs, və-, -ˈkar-\

Medical Definition of VICARIOUS

:  occurring in an unexpected or abnormal part of the body instead of the usual one <bleeding from the gums sometimes occurs in the absence of the normal discharge from the uterus in vicarious menstruation>


Next Word in the Dictionary: vicar of BrayPrevious Word in the Dictionary: vicariismAll Words Near: vicarious
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
Test your vocab with our fun, fast game
Ailurophobia, and 9 other unusual fears