"moral fault, wickedness," c. 1300, from Old French vice "fault, failing, defect, irregularity, misdemeanor" (12c.), from Latin vitium "defect, offense, blemish, imperfection," in both physical and moral senses (in Medieval Latin also vicium; source also of Italian vezzo "usage, entertainment"), which is of uncertain origin.
Vice squad "special police unit targeting prostitution, narcotics, gambling, etc.," is attested from 1905, American English. Vice anglais "fetish for corporal punishment," literally "the English vice," is attested from 1942, from French. In Old French, the seven deadly sins were les set vices.
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, "Pensées"]
also vice president, 1570s, "one who acts as a deputy for a president," from vice- + president. Made into an official rank and given a different meaning (vice = "next in rank to") in the U.S. Constitution (1787).
There seems to be no doubt of my election as V[ice] Pres[iden]t. It will have at least one advantage, that of permitting me to devote more of my time to my private affairs. [John C. Calhoun, letter to wife, Nov. 12, 1824]
Related: vice presidential; vice presidency.
word-forming element meaning "deputy, assistant, substitute," also "instead of, in place of," 15c., from Latin vice "in place of," ablative of vicis "a change, a turn, interchange alternation" (from PIE root *weik- (2) "to bend, to wind"). In Middle English sometimes borrowed in Old French form vis-, vi-.
"impairment, corruption," 1630s, from Latin vitiationem (nominative vitiatio) "violation, corruption," noun of action from past-participle stem of vitiare "to make faulty, injure, spoil, corrupt," from vitium "fault, defect, blemish, crime, vice" (see vice (n.1)).
1650s, from Latin vitiligo "a kind of cutaneous eruption, tetter" (Celsus), perhaps with an original sense of "blemish," from PIE *wi-tu-, from root *wei- (3) "vice, fault, guilt" (see vice (n.1)).
"to render vicious, faulty, or imperfect; injure the quality or substance of," 1530s, from Latin vitiatus, past participle of vitiare "to make faulty, injure, spoil, corrupt," from vitium "fault, defect, blemish, crime, vice" (see vice (n.1)). Related: Vitiated; vitiating.
person ruling as representative of a sovereign, 1520s, from French vice-roy, from Old French vice- "deputy" (see vice-) + roi "king," from Latin regem (nominative rex) "king," which is related to regere "to keep straight, guide, lead, rule" (from PIE root *reg- "move in a straight line," with derivatives meaning "to direct in a straight line," thus "to lead, rule"). The species of American butterfly so called from 1881.