Use this forum to discuss past Good Words.
User avatar
Dr. Goodword
Site Admin
Posts: 4513
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2005 9:28 am
Location: Lewisburg, PA


Postby Dr. Goodword » Tue Sep 12, 2006 10:18 pm

• vicarious

Pronunciation: vai--ri-ês • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: Substitute, surrogate, experienced through sympathy with someone who has the actual experience, as vicarious pain that we experience through sympathy with someone else who actually undergoes it.

Notes: Today's word is the adjective of vicar, a parish priest of the Church of England but a representative of a higher power in the Catholic Church. In fact, the Pope is often thought of as the vicar of the Lord. So, the original meaning of vicar was "surrogate". The adverb is vicariously, vicariousness is the noun though the position or residence of a vicar is a vicarage.

In Play: We all enjoy fine cuisine vicariously through the gleams in the eyes of participants on cooking shows. (Well, I do.) But there are other events we can enjoy vicariously: "I got a vicarious thrill listening to Gladys tell about her date with that dreamboat in accounting." Vicarious experiences may be positive or not: "Lowell is so in love with Loretta that when she sneezes he vicariously wipes his nose with a tissue."

Word History: Today's Good Word is a descendant of Latin vicarius "substitute" from vicis "change". This word's root is found in several English words referring to change or replacement, such as vicissitude "change" and the prefix vice- "replacement" as in vice-president. The original Proto-Indo-European root, *weig- "turn, bend," made it to English as both weak and week. Weak was borrowed from Old Norse veikr "pliant, bendable" while week came from Old Germanic *wikon- "a turn". German Wechsel "change" comes from the same origin. (Katy Brezger's weakness is interesting words like this one which she suggested, and she enjoys them directly and vicariously.)
• The Good Dr. Goodword

Posts: 291
Joined: Sat Apr 09, 2005 11:59 pm

Postby Palewriter » Thu Sep 14, 2006 12:24 am

Ah...nice word. Let's not forget the kindly old Vicar, too. He was originally someone standing in for God himself or, later perhaps, substituting for a parson. Today, in the Anglican church, he's a real person (though not a parson) in his own right, I guess.

Parson is itself an interesting word.

I can't hear the word "vicar" without thinking of the Vicar of Bray. Over three centuries on, there's posterity for you.

-- PW
"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention to arrive safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming: Wow!!! What a ride!"

User avatar
Senior Lexiterian
Posts: 789
Joined: Thu Feb 10, 2005 5:18 pm
Location: The Old North State

Postby tcward » Thu Sep 14, 2006 9:35 am

Weak was borrowed from Old Norse veikr "pliant, bendable" while week came from Old Germanic *wikon- "a turn".

I always wondered what was at the root (ah ha, a chance for a pun) of the word wicker...

1336, "wickerwork," from a Scand. source (cf. M.Swed. viker "willow branch") akin to O.N. vikja "to move, turn," Swed. vika "to bend," and related to O.E. wican "to give way, yield" (see weak). The notion is of pliant twigs.

Weaker wicker should be avoided. ;)


User avatar
Grand Panjandrum
Posts: 2306
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 9:50 am
Location: Asheville, NC

Postby Perry » Thu Sep 14, 2006 11:28 am

Because a vicar might fall through the weaker wicker.
"Time is nature's way of keeping everything from happening all at once. Lately it hasn't been working."

User avatar
Grand Panjandrum
Posts: 2577
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2005 3:56 pm
Location: Crownsville, MD

Postby Stargzer » Thu Sep 14, 2006 9:40 pm

Palewriter wrote: . . . I can't hear the word "vicar" without thinking of the Vicar of Bray. Over three centuries on, there's posterity for you.

-- PW

The man should have been a politician.

"To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them."
-- Attributed to Richard Henry Lee

Grand Panjandrum
Posts: 2114
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 7:51 pm

Postby Bailey » Thu Sep 14, 2006 11:06 pm

Ah, But organized religions are politics.

mark trust-me-on-this Bailey

Today is the first day of the rest of your life, Make the most of it...

Return to “Good Word Discussion”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 2 guests