noun vo·ca·tion \vō-ˈkā-shən\

Definition of vocation

  1. 1a :  a summons or strong inclination to a particular state or course of action; especially :  a divine call to the religious lifeb :  an entry into the priesthood or a religious order

  2. 2a :  the work in which a person is employed :  occupationb :  the persons engaged in a particular occupation

  3. 3 :  the special function of an individual or group

Examples of vocation in a sentence

  1. This isn't just a job for me; it's a vocation.

  2. people who follow a religious vocation

  3. He never felt a real sense of vocation.

  4. I'm a carpenter by vocation, but my hobby is painting.

Origin and Etymology of vocation

Middle English vocacioun, from Anglo-French vocaciun, from Latin vocation-, vocatio summons, from vocare to call, from vox voice — more at voice

First Known Use: 15th century

VOCATION Defined for English Language Learners


noun vo·ca·tion \vō-ˈkā-shən\

Definition of vocation for English Language Learners

  • : a strong desire to spend your life doing a certain kind of work (such as religious work)

  • : the work that a person does or should be doing

VOCATION Defined for Kids


noun vo·ca·tion \vō-ˈkā-shən\

Definition of vocation for Students

  1. 1 :  a strong desire for a certain career or course of action It was her vocation to be an actress.

  2. 2 :  the work in which a person is regularly employed :  occupation

Word Root of vocation

The Latin word vox, meaning “voice,” and the related word vocāre, meaning “to call”, give us the root voc or vok. Words from the Latin vox or vocāre have something to do with the voice or with calling. Anything vocal is produced by the voice. A vocation is the work that someone is called to do as a job. To evoke is to call forth. To invoke is to call on for aid or protection. To provoke is to call forth another's anger. The word voice also has vox as its root.

Seen and Heard

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


to criticize severely

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