vice versa

[ vahy-suh -vur-suh, vahys, vahy-see ]
/ ˈvaɪ sə ˈvɜr sə, ˈvaɪs, ˈvaɪ si /

adverb

in reverse order from the way something has been stated; the other way around: She dislikes me, and vice versa.Copernicus was the first to suggest that the earth revolves around the sun, and not vice versa.

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Origin of vice versa

First recorded in 1595–1605; from Latin, equivalent to vice “interchange, alternation” + versā, ablative singular feminine of versus, past participle of vertere “to turn”; see origin at vice3
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

VOCAB BUILDER

What does vice versa mean?

Vice versa is a Latin phrase translating to “and the other way around.” It has become a common English expression to show that the reverse of something said is true.

What are other forms of vice versa?

vicey-versey

What are some other words related to vice versa?

inside out

Where does vice versa come from?

The Latin phrase vice versa literally means “with the position turned.” It’s first seen in English in the early 1600s as a way to say “conversely.” The expression became a convenient way to show reciprocity and complementarity (e.g., We will watch your dog when you’re out of town and vice versa).

Though a learned Latin term, vice versa has become a common and widespread phrase in English, used in many different contexts. It does see a boost in printed popularity beginning in the 20th century, perhaps with the rise of public education, literacy, and access to classical literature. Or maybe because it’s just fun to say, what with its bouncy alliteration inspiring the playful vicey-versey by the 1850s.

As such a common expression, vice versa has been featured in a number of popular works over the years. Thomas Guthrie’s 1882 Victorian novel, Vice Versa: A Lesson to Fathers, tells the story of a father and son who, through magical hijinks, switch places for a time (boy to man and man to boy, or vice versa). The book was variously adapted to the stage and the screen, including one film adaptation in 1988 starring Fred Savage and Judge Reinhold. It also may have helped inspire the 1972 novel Freaky Friday and its subsequent film adaptation.

Vice Versa is also the name of what is considered the first lesbian magazine in the U.S., launched in 1947 by Edythe Eyde under the pseudonym Lisa Ben, an anagram for lesbian. The name underscores the nature of same-sex love and suggests that it is just as legitimate as its opposite-sex counterpart.

The French title for Disney Pixar’s 2015 computer-animated film Inside Out was Vice-Versa.

How is vice versa used in real life?

While many Latin expressions are usually limited to lawyer-speak or left to gather dust in books, vice versa sees a lot of use in everyday speech and writing. That’s because it’s a quick and easy way to signal the reverse of something or show some two-way relationship.

Vice versa does see wide use in more formal and technical contexts, too.

More examples of vice versa:

“Listen to our conversation to discover what trans women can teach cis women—and vice versa.”

—Lauren Schiller, Salon, July 2018

Example sentences from the Web for vice versa

British Dictionary definitions for vice versa

vice versa
/ (ˈvaɪsɪ ˈvɜːsə) /

adverb

with the order reversed; the other way around

Word Origin for vice versa

C17: from Latin: relations being reversed, from vicis change + vertere to turn
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