Word of the Day : June 9, 2019


noun voh-KAY-shun


1 a : a summons or strong inclination to a particular state or course of action; especially : a divine call to the religious life

b : an entry into the priesthood or a religious order

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

b : the persons engaged in a particular occupation

3 : the special function of an individual or group

Did You Know?

Vocation has been making its voice heard in English since the 15th century, when it referred to a summons from God to perform a particular task or function in life, especially a religious career. It should come as no surprise, then, that the word is a descendant of Latin vocatio, meaning "summons." Vocatio, in turn, comes from vocare, meaning "to call," which itself is from vox, meaning "voice." Vocation also has a secular position in the English language as a word for the strong desire to do a certain kind of work or the work itself, much like the words calling or occupation.


"The superpower I've always wished for is invisibility, and I chose my vocation accordingly. A novelist gets 140,000 words per one tiny author photo. That's a visibility ratio I can live with." — Barbara Kingsolver, quoted in The New Statesman (UK), 15 Oct. 2018

"I'd just graduated law school and was struggling to find a field of law that would interest me. My brother Tony … mentioned how his friend and college music professor had a lawyer … who was a big shot in the music industry. I was intrigued; music was my passion, but law would be my vocation. I had no idea I could potentially work in both fields. — Robert S. Meloni, Billboard.com, 15 Oct. 2018

Word Family Quiz

What 5-letter verb beginning with "v" is related to Latin vox, meaning "voice," and is used to imply that you find someone or something to be honest, true, or good?



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