vo·​tive | \ ˈvō-tiv How to pronounce votive (audio) \

Definition of votive

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : consisting of or expressing a vow, wish, or desire a votive prayer
2 : offered or performed in fulfillment of a vow or in gratitude or devotion


plural votives

Definition of votive (Entry 2 of 2)

: a short thick candle used especially as a prayer offering or for decoration : votive candle … I will light a votive for those who need affordable housing and pray their needs are met.— Mary Pat Rowland A simple picture-propping shelf can display votives and flowers.— Nancy Sotomayor — compare vigil light

Other Words from votive


votively adverb
votiveness noun

Examples of votive in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The family home, a sprawling two-story house beside the Strait of Magellan, is decorated with pictures, altars, and votive candles dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Jon Lee Anderson, The New Yorker, 6 June 2022 Though its polished wooden tables were set with votive candles and the overall impression was clean, Vogafjos, unsurprisingly, smelled like a barnyard. New York Times, 3 June 2022 The aisles stocked groceries, but also votive candles, Agua de Florida, medicine-cabinet staples, cleaning supplies, and even, sometimes, a record section of Latin music. Johnson Lui, Allure, 24 May 2022 Festooned with wires, cables and signs, and bedecked with banners and votive offerings, each tree is overloaded with purpose and significance. Washington Post, 8 Apr. 2022 There will be no memorial wreaths or votive candles laid at the 36th Street subway stop in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, where the attack occurred, and there will be no funerals to attend. Sarah Maslin Nir, New York Times, 14 Apr. 2022 Ema, prayer flags, votive tablets, and floating lanterns all can offer worshippers crucial reassurance amid adversity, says Donald Saucier, a psychology professor at Kansas State University. Ronan O’connell, Travel, 31 Dec. 2021 On Sunday morning, Mexicans went to the stadium and left scores of votive candles, flowers and small statues of St. Jude, the saint of desperate cases and lost causes, at the places where fans had been knocked down and beaten. Anthony Harrup And José De Córdoba, WSJ, 6 Mar. 2022 Two long tables boasted beautifully undone and elegant decor with flowers and votive candles set against natural tablecloths and black chairs. Rachel Besser, Vogue, 17 Feb. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of votive


1597, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1956, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for votive


Latin votivus, from votum vow

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Dictionary Entries Near votive

voting machine


votive candle

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Statistics for votive

Last Updated

17 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Votive.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/votive. Accessed 4 Jul. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on votive

Britannica English: Translation of votive for Arabic Speakers


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