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The current version of the vocabulary builder covers over 2720 words & is useful for students preparing for academic English examinations such as SAT, GRE, GMAT, etc. Now you can also listen to the pronunciation of words. - Refer a Friend.


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vicarious (adj) experienced by watching or reading about somebody and not by doing something.

Vicarious pleasure is the pleasure you get not by your doing something but by watching or reading about someone else doing it. For example, you cannot play a game, but someone close to you plays it well. You are happy that though you are not able to do it, at least the person close to you has done it. The pleasure you get this way is vicarious pleasure. A father may get vicarious pleasure when his son achieves something, which he wanted to but could not achieve.

  • By seeing the hero in the movie defeat the bad guys, the boy got vicarious pleasure. His desire was to bash the bad guys but he knew he could not do it. When he saw the hero doing it he had the satisfaction of evil being punished.
  • The officer had the vicarious responsibility for the irregularities committed by his subordinate. Though he did not himself commit the irregularities, he had the responsibility to see they were not committed. So the officer was punished too.
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Last Modified : 11-May 2009
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