Vigil definition

vĭjəl
Frequency:
The act or a period of observing; surveillance.
noun
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The eve of a religious festival observed by staying awake as a devotional exercise.
noun
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(eccles.) The evening or day before a festival, or the devotional services held then.
noun
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A purposeful or watchful staying awake during the usual hours of sleep.
noun
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A watch kept, or the period of this.
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A watch kept during normal sleeping hours, especially over the body of a recently deceased or dying person.
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noun
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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.

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Ritual devotions observed on the eve of a holy day.
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A watch kept during normal sleeping hours.
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The eve of some religious festival in which staying awake is part of the ritual devotions.
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Other Word Forms

Noun

Singular:
vigil
Plural:
vigils

Origin of vigil

  • Middle English vigile a devotional watching from Old French from Latin vigilia wakefulness, watch from vigil awake weg- in Indo-European roots

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • Middle English vigile (“a devotional watching"), from Old French vigile, from Latin vigilia (“wakefulness, watch"), from vigil (“awake"), from Proto-Indo-European *weg- (“to be strong").

    From Wiktionary

  • 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.

    From Wiktionary