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-.
mid-13c., "sinfulness, infraction of the laws of God," from Old French crimne "crime, mortal sin" (12c., Modern French crime), from Latin crimen (genitive criminis "charge, indictment, accusation; crime, fault, offense," which probably is from cernere "to decide, to sift" (from PIE root *krei- "to sieve," thus "discriminate, distinguish").
Klein (citing Brugmann) rejects this and suggests *cri-men, which originally would have been "cry of distress" (Tucker also suggests a root in "cry" words and refers to English plaint, plaintiff, etc.). But de Vaan accepts that it is from cernere (compare discriminate).
The meaning "offense punishable by law, act or omission which the law punishes in the name of the state" is from late 14c. The sense of "any great wickedness or wrongdoing" is from 1510s. The Latin word is glossed in Old English by facen, which also meant "deceit, fraud, treachery." Crime wave is attested by 1893, American English.
"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"]
"the order being changed," c. 1600, Latin, from vice, ablative of vicis "a change, alternation, alternate order" (from PIE root *weik- (2) "to bend, to wind") + versa, feminine ablative singular of versus, past participle of vertere "to turn, turn about" (from PIE root *wer- (2) "to turn, bend"). "The phrase has the complete force of a proposition, being as much as to say that upon a transposition of antecedents the consequents are also transposed" [Century Dictionary].
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.
"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)).
"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.
"arid, highly eroded regions of the upper midwestern U.S.," 1850, from bad (adj.) + land (n.). Translating French Canadian Mauvaises Terres, a trapper's word, in reference to the difficulty of traversing them. Applied to urban districts of crime and vice since 1892 (originally with reference to Chicago).