From Biology-Online Dictionary | Biology-Online Dictionary


1. Of or pertaining to a vicar, substitute, or deputy; deputed; delegated; as, vicarious power or authority.

2. Acting of suffering for another; as, a vicarious agent or officer. The soul in the body is but a subordinate efficient, and vicarious . . . In the hands of the Almighty. (Sir M. Hale)

3. Performed of suffered in the place of another; substituted; as, a vicarious sacrifice; vicarious punishment. The vicarious work of the Great Deliverer. (I. Taylor)

4. (Science: medicine) Acting as a substitute; said of abnormal action which replaces a suppressed normal function; as, vicarious hemorrhage replacing menstruation.

Origin: L. Vicarius, from vicis change, alternation, turn, the position, place, or office of one person as assumed by another; akin to Gr. To yield, give way, G. Wechsel a change, and probably also to E. Weak. See Weak, and cf. Vice.