early 14c., from Anglo-French vicare, Old French vicaire "deputy, second in command," also in the ecclesiastical sense (12c.), from Latin vicarius "a substitute, deputy, proxy," noun use of adjective vicarius "substituted, delegated," from vicis "change, interchange, succession; a place, position" (from PIE root *weik- (2) "to bend, to wind"). The original notion is of "earthly representative of God or Christ;" but also used in sense of "person acting as parish priest in place of a real parson" (early 14c.).
The original Vicar of Bray (in figurative use from 1660s) seems to have been Simon Allen, who held the benefice from c. 1540 to 1588, thus serving from the time of Henry VIII to Elizabeth I, being twice a Catholic and twice a Protestant but always vicar of Bray. The village is near Maidenhead in Berkshire.
"high bishop, preeminent ecclesiastical official of a province," having a certain jurisdiction, as vicar of the pope, over other bishops in his province, c. 1200, from Old French primat and directly from Medieval Latin primatem (nominative primas) "church primate," noun use of Late Latin adjective primas "of the first rank, chief, principal," from primus "first" (see prime (adj.)).
The meaning "animal of the biological order including monkeys and humans" is attested from 1876, from Modern Latin Primates, the order name (Linnæus), from plural of Latin primas; so called for being regarded as the "highest" order of mammals (originally also including bats).
c. 1400, "a deep pool," from plunge (v.). From late 15c. as "a sudden pitch forward;" meaning "act of plunging, a sudden immersion in something" is from 1711. Figurative use in take the plunge "commit oneself" is by 1823, from an earlier noun sense of "point of being in trouble or danger, immersion in difficulty or distress" (1530s); the exact phrase might owe its popularity to its appearance in "The Vicar of Wakefield" (1766), which everybody read:
Mr. Thornhill's assurance had entirely forsaken him : he now saw the gulph of infamy and want before him, and trembled to take the plunge. He therefore fell on his knees before his uncle, and in a voice of piercing misery implored compassion.
"exceedingly complimentary language," 1796, from Blarney Stone (which is said to make a persuasive flatterer of any who kiss it), in a castle near Cork, Ireland. As Bartlett explains it, the reason is the difficulty of the feat of kissing the stone where it sits high up in the battlement: "to have ascended it, was proof of perseverance, courage, and agility, whereof many are supposed to claim the honor who never achieved the adventure." So to have kissed the Blarney Stone came to mean "to tell wonderful tales" ["Dictionary of Americanisms," 1848]. The word reached wide currency through Lady Blarney, the smooth-talking flatterer in Goldsmith's "Vicar of Wakefield" (1766). As a verb from 1803.
1630s, "taking the place of another," from Latin vicarius "that supplies a place; substituted, delegated," from vicis "a change, exchange, interchange; succession, alternation, substitution," from PIE root *weik- (2) "to bend, to wind."
From 1690s as "done or experienced in place of another" (usually in reference to punishment, often of Christ); from 1929 as "experienced imaginatively through another." Related: Vicariously.