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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.
  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.
    • 1726, [Daniel Defoe], “Of Satan’s Agents or Missionaries, and Their Actings upon and in the Minds of Men in His Name”, in The Political History of the Devil, as well Ancient as Modern: [], London: [] T. Warner, [], →OCLC, part II (Of the Modern History of the Devil), page 244:
      [W]hen his other more momentous Avocations of Pedantry and Pedagogiſm vvill give him an Interval from VVrath and Contention, he vvill ſet apart a Moment to conſider humane Nature Deviliz'd, and give us a Mathematical Anatomical Deſcription of it; []
    • 1842 December – 1844 July, Charles Dickens, The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit, London: Chapman and Hall, [], published 1844, →OCLC:
      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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