1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Vice

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VICE, (1) (Through Fr. from Lat. vitium), a fault, blemish, more specifically a moral fault, hence depravity, sin, or a particular form of depravity. In the medieval morality plays a special character who acted as an attendant on the devil was styled “the Vice,” but sometimes took the name of specific vices such as Envy, Fraud, Iniquity and the like. He was usually dressed in the garb that is identified with that of the domestic fool or jester, and was armed with a wooden sword or dagger. (2) (M.E. vyce, vise or vyse; Fr. vis; Lat. vitis, a vine, or bryony, i.e. something that twists or winds), a portable or fixed tool or appliance which holds or grips an object while it is being worked; a special form of clamp. The tool consists essentially of movable jaws, either jointed by a hinge or moving on slides, and the closing motion is applied by a screw, whence the name, as of something which turns or winds, or by a lever, ratchet, &c. (see Tools). (3) (Lat. vice, in place of, abl. sing., of a noun not found in the nom.), a word chiefly used as a prefix in combination with names of office-holders, indicating a position subordinate or alternative to the chief office-holder, especially one who takes second rank or acts in default of his superior, e.g. vice-chairman, vice-admiral, &c.