1

vice

noun \ ˈvīs \
Updated on: 14 Nov 2017

Definition of vice

1 a : moral depravity or corruption : wickedness
b : a moral fault or failing
c : a habitual and usually trivial defect or shortcoming : foible
  • suffered from the vice of curiosity
3 : a physical imperfection, deformity, or taint
4 a often capitalized : a character representing one of the vices in an English morality play
5 : an abnormal behavior pattern in a domestic animal detrimental to its health or usefulness
6 : sexual immorality; especially : prostitution

Examples of vice in a Sentence

  1. Such men are prone to vice.

  2. He thought gambling was a vice.

  3. Eating too much is my vice.

  4. The city is a den of filth and vice.

Recent Examples of vice from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'vice.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of vice

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin vitium fault, vice

Synonym Discussion of vice

fault, failing, frailty, foible, vice mean an imperfection or weakness of character. fault implies a failure, not necessarily culpable, to reach some standard of perfection in disposition, action, or habit.
    • a writer of many virtues and few faults
failing suggests a minor shortcoming in character.
    • being late is a failing of mine
frailty implies a general or chronic proneness to yield to temptation.
    • human frailties
foible applies to a harmless or endearing weakness or idiosyncrasy.
    • an eccentric's charming foibles
vice can be a general term for any imperfection or weakness, but it often suggests violation of a moral code or the giving of offense to the moral sensibilities of others.
    • compulsive gambling was his vice
offense, sin, vice, crime, scandal mean a transgression of law. offense applies to the infraction of any law, rule, or code.
    • at that school no offense went unpunished
sin implies an offense against moral or religious law.
    • the sin of blasphemy
vice applies to a habit or practice that degrades or corrupts.
    • regarded gambling as a vice
crime implies a serious offense punishable by the law of the state.
    • the crime of murder
scandal applies to an offense that outrages the public conscience.
    • a career ruined by a sex scandal

2

vice

Definition of vice

  • chiefly British spelling of

Other Hardware Terms


3

vice

preposition \ ˈvīs also ˈvī-sē \

Definition of vice

: in the place of
  • I will preside, vice the absent chairman
; also : rather than

Origin and Etymology of vice

Latin, ablative of vicis change, alternation, stead — more at week


vice-

prefix \ ˈvīs , ˌvīs \

Definition of vice-

: one that takes the place of
  • vice-chancellor

Origin and Etymology of vice-

Middle English vis-, vice-, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin vice-, from Latin vice, ablative of vicis


VICE Defined for English Language Learners

vice

noun

Definition of vice for English Language Learners

  • : bad or immoral behavior or habits

  • : a moral flaw or weakness

  • : a minor bad habit


VICE Defined for Kids

vice

noun \ ˈvīs \

Definition of vice for Students

1 : evil conduct or habits
2 : a moral fault or weakness

vice-

prefix \ ˈvīs \

Definition of vice- for Students

: one that takes the place of

Medical Dictionary

vice

noun \ ˈvīs \

medical Definition of vice

: an abnormal behavior pattern in a domestic animal detrimental to its health or usefulness

Law Dictionary

1

vice

noun \ ˈvīs \

legal Definition of vice

1 : a moral fault or failing
2 : defect
3 : immoral activity (as prostitution)

2

vice

preposition \ ˈvīs, ˈvī-sē \

legal Definition of vice

: in the place of
  • I will preside, vice the absent chairman
; also : rather than

Origin and Etymology of vice

Latin, ablative of vic- place, turn


vice-

prefix

legal Definition of vice-

: one that takes the place of
  • vice-chancellor


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