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
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
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?VIEW THE ANSWER
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