The word "vice" is used in a few, very different ways.

Used as a noun, a vice is a device that holds materials together, or a vice compresses materials.


A small vice is also called a "clamp."

clamp clamp

A person who has a headache might say that if feels like his head is in a vice.

headache My head feels like it’s in a vice.

Sometimes the word "vice" refers to a habit or an activity that is harmful for a person’s health, or a vice has some sort of ethical considerations.

Gambling, for example, is considered a vice, especially when a person gambles regularly or desperately. This type of a vice could lead to a big loss of money.


The consumption of alcohol is considered a vice, especially when it leads to intoxication (drunkenness).

socializing with friends

Smoking is definitely a vice, but some people have a hard time giving it up. This type of vice leads to diseases of the body.


Police officers regularly deal with vice. Police officers who specialize in vice might work on a vice squad.

vice squad

Finally, the word "vice" is used to indicate a position within an organization. A vice president, for example, serves under a president. There are vice presidents for companies and governments. If the leader of an organization can’t complete his or her duties for some reason, the vice president can step in and take charge.

vice president

Learn more vocabulary here.

Published on March 21, 2018