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 On the walls of her Berlin apartment, Tara Reddi, an art dealer, has arranged a collection of ex votos, votive offerings customarily associated with divine intervention in calamities. New York Times, "The Year of Magical Thinking," 14 Apr. 2020 Halloween Hand Votive Candle Holder ($5, target.com) Reminder: Halloween is less than a month away and standard votive holders simply won't do. Courtney Thompson, CNN Underscored, "We found the 20 spookiest Halloween decoration ideas you need this year," 3 Oct. 2019 Articles such as glass jars, watering cans, votive lights, palms, and bric-a-brac of any description are forbidden and may be removed without notice. courant.com, "Community News For The Wethersfield Edition," 3 Oct. 2019 The lights dimmed, and a waitress made her away around the room placing votive holders on the tables. Aaron Hicklin, New York Times, "Lester Holt, NBC News Anchor, Moonlights as a Rocker," 27 July 2019 All around her, fringing every icon, tied by silk ribbons, were modern votive offerings: tin or stamped metal tokens of arms and legs and ears and mouths, appealing for healing for a diseased or damaged human part. Adam Gopnik, Town & Country, "My First Visit to the Greek Islands Turned Out to Be a Journey Home," 20 May 2019 All six of the new Yuletide scents start at just $2 and come in various sizes from tiny tea lights and votive lights to pillar candles and large jars. Jessica Leigh Mattern, Country Living, "The 2018 Yankee Candle Christmas Scents Have Arrived and We Are So Ready," 5 Oct. 2018 Drop them in a votive holder of your choice—metallics, patterns, and warm colors give off a light shadow when alight—and place them around a room for romantic mood lighting. Kaitlin Clark, Curbed, "A beginner’s guide to decorating with candles," 23 July 2018 White candles tucked into antique brass candlesticks, brass shot glasses that double as votive holders, a bay leaf garland and heirloom pumpkins cast a note of laid-back romance onto the holiday table. Elle Decor Editors, ELLE Decor, "20+ Sophisticated Thanksgiving Table Decor Ideas," 31 Oct. 2017

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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Time Traveler for votive

Time Traveler

The first known use of votive was in 1597

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Cite this Entry

“Votive.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/votive. Accessed 12 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for votive


How to pronounce votive (audio)

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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with votive

Britannica English: Translation of votive for Arabic Speakers

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