vigil

noun vig·il \ ˈvi-jəl \
Updated on: 3 Dec 2017

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
3 a : 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

Examples of vigil in a Sentence

  1. kept vigil at their ailing son's bedside the entire time he was in the hospital

Recent Examples of vigil from the Web

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

vigil Synonyms



VIGIL Defined for English Language Learners

vigil

noun

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

vigil

noun vig·il \ ˈvi-jəl \

Definition of vigil for Students

: an act of keeping watch especially when sleep is usual


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