Definition of vigil
1 : the act of keeping awake at times when sleep is customary; also : a period of wakefulness
2 : an act or period of watching or surveillance : watch kept vigil at her bedside
3a : a watch formerly kept on the night before a religious feast with prayer or other devotionsb : the day before a religious feast observed as a day of spiritual preparationc : evening or nocturnal devotions or prayers —usually used in plural
Examples of vigil in a Sentence
kept vigil at their ailing son's bedside the entire time he was in the hospital
Recent Examples of vigil from the Web
The annual evening vigil in Hong Kong is the only large-scale commemoration on Chinese territory of the Tiananmen bloodshed.
The city of Orlando will also honor the victims with many vigils and gatherings.
On Monday night, hundreds turned out for a vigil in Cox’s honor, brining candles, red balloons and other memories of their slain classmate.
A vigil was scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday at Carter High School.
Community members held a vigil in the Hollywood Transit Center on Saturday night to remember the victims of the attack.
More than a thousand people attended two vigils for the victims on Saturday night in Portland.
On Wednesday night, a second vigil following the one in Manchester city center was held in Bury for Olivia and another local victim, 26-year-old John Atkinson.
Ybarra Maldonado filed a stay of deportation, and Porchas told everyone to come back later for a candlelight vigil.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'vigil'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Origin and Etymology of vigil
Middle English vigile, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin & Latin; Late Latin vigilia watch on the eve of a feast, from Latin, wakefulness, watch, from vigil awake, watchful; akin to Latin vigēre to be vigorous, vegēre to enliven — more at wake
First Known Use: 13th century
VIGIL Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of vigil for English Language Learners
: an event or a period of time when a person or group stays in a place and quietly waits, prays, etc., especially at night
VIGIL Defined for Kids
Definition of vigil for Students
: an act of keeping watch especially when sleep is usual
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up vigil? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).