av·​o·​ca·​tion | \ ˌa-və-ˈkā-shən How to pronounce avocation (audio) \

Definition of avocation

1 : 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
2 : customary employment : vocation 'My name is Riah,' said the old man, with courteous action, 'and my avocation is in London city.'— Charles Dickens
3 archaic : diversion, distraction

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Examples of avocation in a Sentence

He breeds dogs as an avocation. My favorite avocation is reading.
Recent Examples on the Web When the family moved to Marshfield, boats and boating became father and son’s avocation. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, "John R. Ulanowski, whose Scituate Yacht Co. was a port of call for buyers and owners, dies at 80," 18 July 2019 His avocation for landscape design and installation led to 10 years as a Landscape Construction Project Manager and Estimator for Four Seasons Landscaping in Windsor. courant.com, "Daniel H. Guilmartin," 17 Nov. 2019 And for many of the farmers, agriculture is a new vocation and avocation, rather than a family tradition dating back generations. Judith Kohler, The Denver Post, "After more than a century, agriculture is still alive in Boulder thanks to farm-to-table restaurants," 20 Oct. 2019 May Whittington was philosophical about her son’s avocation. Matt Schudel, Washington Post, "Ralph Whittington, erotica collector extraordinaire, dies at 74," 17 Aug. 2019 More than ever she is drawn to her work, both vocation and avocation. David Shribman, Los Angeles Times, "Revered from left and right, she’ll soon be Canada’s longest-serving judge," 26 Aug. 2019 Brothers Ben and Justin Cumming of Lunenburg also have a family connection to thank for their fishing avocation. Brion O’connor, BostonGlobe.com, "Getting hooked on fishing, inland and on the ocean," 8 Aug. 2019 One avocation in particular caught Givner’s eye: the Government Internship Program. Keith Sharon, The Mercury News, "The man who stayed late: The Watergate story you’ve never heard," 17 June 2019 The wife’s parents are deer, a grandfather is a fox, and leaping trout, rods, and creels suggest the family’s avocation of fly-fishing. Jorge Arango, House Beautiful, "Can You Spot All the Bunnies in this Cottage?," 22 May 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'avocation.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of avocation

circa 1617, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for avocation

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

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Time Traveler for avocation

Time Traveler

The first known use of avocation was circa 1617

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Statistics for avocation

Last Updated

1 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Avocation.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/avocation. Accessed 21 January 2020.

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More Definitions for avocation


How to pronounce avocation (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of avocation

: an activity that you do regularly for enjoyment rather than as a job


av·​o·​ca·​tion | \ ˌa-və-ˈkā-shən How to pronounce avocation (audio) \

Kids Definition of avocation

: an interest or activity that is not a regular job : hobby

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More from Merriam-Webster on avocation

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for avocation

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with avocation

Spanish Central: Translation of avocation

Nglish: Translation of avocation for Spanish Speakers

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good-natured easy friendliness

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