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

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Other Words from votive


votively adverb
votiveness noun

Examples of votive in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Two months after Cano was shot twice in the back by a police officer in the same park, the votive candles framing his picture are still lit. Emily Wilder, The Arizona Republic, "'Our Peanut': Family remembers Anthony Cano as a curious student, loving brother," 7 Mar. 2021 At five o’clock the Stars and Stripes was lowered to half-mast for five days while 500 votive candles flickered on the steps of the South Portico. The Economist, "Covid-19 Now America has passed 500,000 deaths, what next?," 27 Feb. 2021 These days, votive and jar candles are all the rage, but there’s something to be said for classic taper candles. Jennifer Blair, chicagotribune.com, "The best taper candle," 23 Dec. 2020 A couple of days before the feast, Flores-Godinez planned to decorate the wooden carved image of Our Lady of Guadalupe that her mother adorns each year with red and white roses and votive candles. Laura Rodríguez Presa, chicagotribune.com, "‘She is with us wherever we are’: Believers find ways to honor Our Lady of Guadalupe for annual feast despite COVID-19 restrictions," 8 Dec. 2020 It is surrounded by some of her favorite red and white roses, and votive candles. Alison Bowen, chicagotribune.com, "Lost in translation: How language barriers can add anguish and complicate care for COVID-19 patients who don’t speak English," 15 Nov. 2020 On the corner of 61st and Locust streets, in front of the Almonte bodega, steps from Wallace’s home, 15 votive candles, a cluster of deflating balloons and 13 silk roses constituted a shrine in his memory. Washington Post, "Last week in the life of Philadelphia: A death, protests, the pandemic and election mayhem," 1 Nov. 2020 All over the city, people hung Mylar balloons on telephone poles and lined the sidewalk with votive candles, makeshift shrines for victims. Rachel Swan, San Francisco Chronicle, "Oakland is trying to defund the police. Can it? Should it?," 1 Nov. 2020 The list of preparations filled a full page: There were three kinds of candles (votive, floating, candelabra), centerpieces, vases - and a floral plan for even the smallest of meetings. Anchorage Daily News, "Ballrooms, candles, luxury cottages: During Trump’s term, millions of government and Republican dollars have flowed to his properties," 28 Oct. 2020

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.

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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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Statistics for votive

Last Updated

12 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Votive.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/votive. Accessed 23 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for votive



English Language Learners Definition of votive

formal : consisting of or expressing a religious vow, wish, or desire : offered or performed as an expression of thanks or devotion to God

More from Merriam-Webster on votive

Britannica English: Translation of votive for Arabic Speakers

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