- The definition of a vigil is a quiet gathering, usually during normal sleeping hours.
An example of a vigil is a candlelight service for someone who died.
- a purposeful or watchful staying awake during the usual hours of sleep
- a watch kept, or the period of this
- Eccles. the evening or day before a festival, or the devotional services held then
Origin of vigilMiddle English vigile ; from Old French ; from Classical Latin vigilia, a watch ; from vigil, awake ; from vegere, to arouse: see wake
- a. A watch kept during normal sleeping hours.b. The act or a period of observing; surveillance.
- The eve of a religious festival observed by staying awake as a devotional exercise.
- often vigils Ritual devotions observed on the eve of a holy day.
Origin of vigilMiddle English vigile, a devotional watching, from Old French, from Latin vigilia, wakefulness, watch, from vigil, awake; see weg- in Indo-European roots.
Related to vigor, and more distantly compare vis and vital, from similar Proto-Indo-European roots and meanings (lively, power, life), via Latin. For use of “live, alive” in sense “watching”, compare qui vive.