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

Keep scrolling for more

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

The next night, as thousands attended a prayer vigil on Canfield, a much larger and angrier crowd gathered on nearby West Florissant Avenue. Fortune, "5 Years After Fatal Shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Racial Tensions Might Be More Intense," 9 Aug. 2019 The next night, as thousands attended a prayer vigil on Canfield, a much larger and angrier crowd gathered on nearby West Florissant Avenue. Jim Salter, chicagotribune.com, "Charlottesville, Kaepernick, Black Lives Matter and Trump: Look back at how race relations have unfolded 5 years after Ferguson," 8 Aug. 2019 On Monday, four people were shot and wounded while attending a memorial vigil in Crown Heights. Ali Watkins, New York Times, "As Shootings Spike in Brooklyn, N.Y.P.D. and Prosecutors Collide," 8 Aug. 2019 The next night, as thousands attended a prayer vigil on Canfield, a much larger and angrier crowd gathered on nearby West Florissant Avenue. Washington Post, "Ferguson: 5 years later, racial tension lingers nationally," 8 Aug. 2019 Student Carlos Teran, 16, left, hugs his teammate Humberto Aguilar, 16, after attending a vigil for sophomore Javier Rodriguez, 15, at Horizon High School on Monday. Nicole Chavez, CNN, "Shaken by the El Paso shooting, Latinos across the US fear they'll be targeted next," 6 Aug. 2019 Hundreds of people attended a vigil in Dayton, Ohio Sunday night in honor of the nine people killed and 27 hurt in a shooting there earlier in the day, about 13 hours after the El Paso attack. CBS News, "Witness describes Dayton rampage: "All I can hear is the screams"," 5 Aug. 2019 Media weren't allowed to attend a vigil at the local church or the burial which was attended by top military officials and naval officers. Fox News, "Russian seamen who died in mysterious navy submarine accident are buried," 7 July 2019 Terry Sprague of Hillsborough, Calif., attended the candlelight vigil in McAllen with about 100 other people after delivering donations to migrants with volunteers from Bay Area Border Relief. Molly Hennessy-fiske, latimes.com, "Migrants contemplate dangerous crossings despite border deaths and detention conditions," 30 June 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about vigil

Statistics for vigil

Last Updated

12 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for vigil

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on vigil

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with vigil

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for vigil

Spanish Central: Translation of vigil

Nglish: Translation of vigil for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of vigil for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about vigil

Comments on vigil

What made you want to look up vigil? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

not constant or steady

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Summer 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-bowl-of-peach-sorbet-with-cut-peaches-next-to-it
  • Which is a synonym of desideratum?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!