vigil

noun
vig·​il | \ ˈvi-jəl How to pronounce vigil (audio) \

Definition of vigil

1 : the act of keeping awake at times when sleep is customary also : a period of wakefulness
2 : an event or a period of time when a person or group stays in a place and quietly waits, prays, etc., especially at night a candlelight vigil kept vigil at her bedside
3a : a watch formerly kept on the night before a religious feast with prayer or other devotions
b : the day before a religious feast observed as a day of spiritual preparation
c : evening or nocturnal devotions or prayers usually used in plural

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Examples of vigil in a Sentence

kept vigil at their ailing son's bedside the entire time he was in the hospital
Recent Examples on the Web An unknown number were arrested — including Chow Hang Tung, the vice-chairwoman of the group that has traditionally organized the vigil. Jay Nordlinger, National Review, 9 June 2021 Pandemic restrictions were eased to allow mourners to attend the outdoor vigil. Rob Gillies, ajc, 9 June 2021 Pandemic restrictions were eased to allow mourners to attend the vigil. BostonGlobe.com, 8 June 2021 Pandemic restrictions were eased to allow mourners to attend the vigil. Rob Gillies, Star Tribune, 8 June 2021 The police were subsequently criticized for breaking up the vigil on Covid-19 health grounds and arresting young women who attended the event. Max Colchester, WSJ, 8 June 2021 This year, following its takeover of Hong Kong, the government extended its censorship to that city too, banning the annual June 4 vigil that took place there. Marc Bain, Quartz, 7 June 2021 Weeks later, police arrested over 20 activists who took part in the vigil. Fox News, 5 June 2021 Authorities have banned the vigil for a second straight year, citing the coronavirus pandemic. NBC News, 4 June 2021

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.

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First Known Use of vigil

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3a

History and Etymology for 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

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Time Traveler for vigil

Time Traveler

The first known use of vigil was in the 13th century

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Statistics for vigil

Last Updated

11 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Vigil.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vigil. Accessed 14 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for vigil

vigil

noun

English Language Learners Definition of vigil

: 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

noun
vig·​il | \ ˈvi-jəl How to pronounce vigil (audio) \

Kids Definition of vigil

: an act of keeping watch especially when sleep is usual

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