Vicarious (adjective)

Photo by Ethan Hooper via Unsplash


1. Experienced or realized through imaginative or sympathetic participation in the experience of another

2 a. serving instead of someone or something else

b. that has been delegated

3. performed or suffered by one person as a substitute for another or to the benefit or advantage of another: substitutionary

4. occurring in an unexpected or abnormal part of the body instead of the usual one.

(Ref: Merriam-Webster Online, Word of the Day, 18 January 2020)

Use it in a sentence

They strapped themselves in, Min pulling the belt a little more snug than Li. He felt her smirking, so Min looked at her and frowned. ‘What?’

‘Nothing,’ she smiled back, eyes wide with innocence.

Min took a deep breath and tried to relax but he realised he was still straight as a board and at least two inches away from making contact with the back of the seat. He deliberately pushed himself into it, and then placed his arms on the armrest on Li’s side. A stranger sat in the aisle seat.

Very soon, Min was gripping the armrest until his knuckles turned white, and he bowed his head and squeezed his eyes shut. He felt the tension creep down his neck, his legs cramp up and a fine perspiration bloom on his brow. He heart was already racing, out the gate and down the straight.  

They hadn’t left the ground yet.

‘Sweetie. It’s fine. Come on now. Just think how lucky we to vicariously live the life of birds. Swooping through the air, climbing into the sky, looking down on the world.’

He glanced up to see her smiling serenely at him, dreamy and happy.

He scowled. ‘Nobody ever rode a bird.’

Li burst out laughing, then quickly covered her mouth, trying to hide her mirth.

Min snatched at the small plastic water bottle tucked into his seat pocket, and took out his sleeping pills. He swallowed one and turned away from Li. She heard him mumble, ‘Just wake me when we land.’

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *