English Dictionary

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vigil (ˈvɪdʒɪl Pronunciation for vigil



  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'

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
The women's vigil at the cruise missile base seemed a suitable site for reflection.
Appiganesi, Lisa Dreams of Innocence


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