English Dictionary

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vigil (ˈvɪdʒɪl



  1. a purposeful watch maintained, esp at night, to guard, observe, pray, etc
  2. the period of such a watch
  3. (Roman Catholic Church, Church of England) the eve of certain major festivals, formerly observed as a night spent in prayer: often marked by fasting and abstinence and a special Mass and divine office
  4. a period of sleeplessness; insomnia

Word Origin

C13: from Old French vigile, from Medieval Latin vigilia watch preceding a religious festival, from Latin: vigilance, from vigil alert, from vigēre to be lively

Translations for 'vigil'

  • British English: vigil A vigil is a period of time when people remain quietly in a place, especially at night, for example because they are praying or are making a political protest. NOUNProtesters are holding a twenty-four hour vigil outside the party headquarters.
  • Brazilian Portuguese: vigília
  • Chinese: > 值班尤指夜间的
  • European Spanish: vigilia
  • French: manifestation silencieuseN
  • German: Wache
  • Italian: veglia
  • Japanese: 徹夜
  • Korean: 철야 기도 및 농성
  • Portuguese: vigília
  • Spanish: vigilia

Example Sentences Including 'vigil'

The women's vigil at the cruise missile base seemed a suitable site for reflection.
Appiganesi, Lisa Dreams of Innocence
On Saturday she attended the now traditional vigil against the war in the Gulf.
Skelton, Alison Scott An Older Woman
The Daughters of Sappho kept a vigil in front of the courthouse.
Reeves, Robert Doubting Thomas


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