adjective vig·i·lant \ ˈvi-jə-lənt \
|Updated on: 2 Aug 2018

Definition of vigilant

: alertly watchful especially to avoid danger



Examples of vigilant in a Sentence

  1. Over the years, as tension between pitchers and hit batsmen heightened to the point that hitters began rushing the mound, umpires have had to become far more vigilant about keeping the game from degenerating into a dogfight. —Buzz BissingerSports Illustrated21 Mar. 2005
  2. At the Château de Wideville's magnificent seventeenth-century gates, guests have their names ticked off by vigilant staff and then snake through a lugubrious park à l'anglaise. —Hamish BowlesVogueSeptember 2002
  3. And as a foreign tourist in North Korea, under the care of vigilant minders who wanted me to see only the best, I had enjoyed the finest fare available. —Christopher HitchensVanity FairJanuary 2001
  4. A vigilant hand had, as usual, kept the fire alive and the lamp trimmed; and the room, with its rows and rows of books, its bronze and steel statuettes of "The Fencers" on the mantelpiece and its many photographs of famous pictures, looked singularly home-like and welcoming. —Edith WhartonThe Age of Innocence1920
  5. When traveling through the city, tourists should be extra vigilant.

  6. They were vigilant about protecting their children.

  7. We remain vigilant against theft.

Recent Examples of vigilant from the Web

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

Origin and Etymology of vigilant

Middle English (Scots), from Latin vigilant-, vigilans, from present participle of vigilare to keep watch, stay awake, from vigil awake

Synonym Discussion of vigilant

watchful, vigilant, wide-awake, alert mean being on the lookout especially for danger or opportunity. watchful is the least explicit term.
    • the watchful eye of the department supervisor
vigilant suggests intense, unremitting, wary watchfulness.
    • eternally vigilant in the safeguarding of democracy
wide-awake applies to watchfulness for opportunities and developments more often than dangers.
    • wide-awake companies latched onto the new technology
alert stresses readiness or promptness in meeting danger or in seizing opportunity.
    • alert traders anticipated the stock market's slide

VIGILANT Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of vigilant for English Language Learners

  • : carefully noticing problems or signs of danger

VIGILANT Defined for Kids


adjective vig·i·lant \ ˈvi-jə-lənt \

Definition of vigilant for Students

: alert especially to avoid danger
  • … he was constantly vigilant, looking for the next nearest hiding place should the sound of engines come.
  • —Lois Lowry, The Giver

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