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See more synonyms for vicar on Thesaurus.com
  1. Church of England.
    1. a person acting as priest of a parish in place of the rector, or as representative of a religious community to which tithes belong.
    2. the priest of a parish the tithes of which are impropriated and who receives only the smaller tithes or a salary.
  2. Protestant Episcopal Church.
    1. a member of the clergy whose sole or chief charge is a chapel dependent on the church of a parish.
    2. a bishop's assistant in charge of a church or mission.
  3. Roman Catholic Church. an ecclesiastic representing the pope or a bishop.
  4. a person who acts in place of another; substitute.
  5. a person who is authorized to perform the functions of another; deputy: God's vicar on earth.
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Origin of vicar

1250–1300; Middle English < Anglo-French vicare; Old French vicaire < Latin vicārius a substitute, noun use of adj.; see vicarious
Related formsvic·ar·ship, nounsub·vic·ar, nounsub·vic·ar·ship, nounun·der·vic·ar, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for vicar

pastor, cleric, clergyman, deputy, substitute, lieutenant, priest, minister, ecclesiastic, proxy, vicegerent

Examples from the Web for vicar

Contemporary Examples of vicar

Historical Examples of vicar

British Dictionary definitions for vicar


  1. Church of England
    1. (in Britain) a clergyman appointed to act as priest of a parish from which, formerly, he did not receive tithes but a stipend
    2. a clergyman who acts as assistant to or substitute for the rector of a parish at Communion
    3. (in the US) a clergyman in charge of a chapel
  2. RC Church a bishop or priest representing the pope or the ordinary of a diocese and exercising a limited jurisdiction
  3. Also called: lay vicar, vicar choral Church of England a member of a cathedral choir appointed to sing certain parts of the services
  4. a person appointed to do the work of another
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Derived Formsvicarly, adjective

Word Origin for vicar

C13: from Old French vicaire, from Latin vicārius (n) a deputy, from vicārius (adj) vicarious
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for vicar


c.1300, from Old French vicaire, from Latin vicarius "substitute, deputy," noun use of adj. vicarius "substituting," from vicis "change, turn, office" (see vicarious). 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, and was twice a Catholic and twice a Protestant, but always vicar of Bray. The village is near Maidenhead in Berkshire.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper