September 27, 2013
vicarious (adjective)
\vye-KAIR-ee-us\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
1 : serving or acting for another2 : done or suffered for the benefit of someone else3 : sharing in someone else's experience through the use of the imagination or sympathetic feelings
How do you use it?
Reading about other people's journeys to far-off lands gives armchair travelers a great deal of vicarious pleasure.
Are you a word wiz?

Which of these statements about the origin of "vicarious" do you think is true?

"Nothing endures but change." So wrote the ancient Greek philosopher Heracleitus. The sentiment is reflected in the history of many English words, but especially in that of "vicarious." "Vicarious" was borrowed into English in the early 1600s from the Latin word "vicarius," which derives from the Latin noun "vices," meaning "change, alteration, stead." "Vicis" is also the source of the English prefix "vice-" (as in "vice-president"), meaning "one that takes the place of."
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