av·​o·​ca·​tion ˌa-və-ˈkā-shən How to pronounce avocation (audio)
: a subordinate occupation pursued in addition to one's vocation especially for enjoyment : hobby
He's a professional musician, but his avocation is photography.
He had the restrained manners developed when tennis was the avocation of gentleman jocks …Margo Jefferson
: customary employment : vocation
'My name is Riah,' said the old man, with courteous action, 'and my avocation is in London city.'Charles Dickens
archaic : diversion, distraction

Example Sentences

He breeds dogs as an avocation. My favorite avocation is reading.
Recent Examples on the Web Pursue a favorite project or avocation. BostonGlobe.com, 19 Aug. 2020 Junior also has a second avocation. Tom Nolan, WSJ, 19 Aug. 2022 The avocation is not for everyone. New York Times, 30 Mar. 2021 Now Mitchell-Delmotte, 39, a singer/songwriter by avocation, is giving back in an unusual way — by releasing an album. Diane Bellcolumnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, 25 Jan. 2023 Gambling, that quintessential American avocation that has pulled itself above its once seedy reputation and which continues to enjoy its niche as entertainment, is starting legally. Marc Bona, cleveland, 1 Jan. 2023 What had been an avocation to while away the hours became a lifeline. James Sullivan, BostonGlobe.com, 5 Jan. 2023 While continuing to promote educational programs throughout his life, Pelé also pursued his musical avocation. Lawrie Mifflin, New York Times, 29 Dec. 2022 John Freeman, one of the engineers of the new reservoir system, used to say that engineering was his avocation, insurance his vocation. Robert Sullivan, The New Republic, 10 Nov. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'avocation.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Latin avocation-, avocatio, from avocare to call away, from ab- + vocare to call, from voc-, vox voice — more at voice

First Known Use

circa 1617, in the meaning defined at sense 3

Time Traveler
The first known use of avocation was circa 1617

Dictionary Entries Near avocation

Cite this Entry

“Avocation.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/avocation. Accessed 1 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition


av·​o·​ca·​tion ˌav-ə-ˈkā-shən How to pronounce avocation (audio)
: customary employment : vocation
: an activity one engages in regularly for enjoyment rather than as a job : hobby

More from Merriam-Webster on avocation

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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