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From Latin āvocātiō (a distraction), from āvocō (I call off, distract).


  • (UK) IPA(key): /avə(ʊ)ˈkeɪʃən/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ævoʊˈkeɪʃən/, /ævəˈkeɪʃən/
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: av‧o‧ca‧tion


avocation (countable and uncountable, plural avocations)

  1. (obsolete) A calling away; a diversion.
    • 1749, Henry Fielding, Tom Jones, Folio Society 1973, p. 204:
      But though she could neither sleep nor rest in her bed, yet, having no avocation from it, she was found there by her father at his return from Allworthy's, which was not till past ten o'clock in the morning.
  2. A hobby or recreational or leisure pursuit.
    • 1934, Robert Frost, Two Tramps in Mud Time
      But yield who will to their separation,
      My object in living is to unite
      My avocation and my vocation
      As my two eyes make one in sight.
    • 18 April, 1986, Ronald Reagan, Proclamation 5462
      Gardening is a wholesome avocation that encourages appreciation for nature and concern for the preservation and enhancement of our environment.
  3. That which calls one away from one's regular employment or vocation.
  4. Pursuits; duties; affairs which occupy one's time; usual employment; vocation.
    • November 1, 1711, William King, Letter to Jonathan Swift
      I have several things on the anvil, and near finished, that perhaps might be useful, if published: but the continual avocation by business, the impositions on me by impertinent visits, and the uneasiness of writing, which grows more intolerable to me every day, I doubt, will prevent my going any farther.
    • 1842 December – 1844 July, Charles Dickens, “(please specify the chapter name)”, in The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit, London: Chapman and Hall, [], published 1844, OCLC 977517776:
      I have been received with unsurpassable politeness, delicacy, sweet temper, hospitality, consideration, and with unsurpassable respect for the privacy daily enforced upon me by the nature of my avocation here and the state of my health.
  5. The calling of a case from an inferior to a superior court.


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