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See also: Vigil



From Middle English vigile (a devotional watching), from Old French vigile, from Latin vigilia (wakefulness, watch), from vigil (awake), from Proto-Indo-European *weǵ- (to be strong, lively, awake). See also wake, from the same root.

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.



vigil (plural vigils)

  1. An instance of keeping awake during normal sleeping hours, especially to keep watch or pray.
    • 2016, Colson Whitehead, The Underground Railroad, Fleet (2017), page 165:
      Eventually the body trade grew so reckless that relatives took to holding graveside vigils, lest their loved ones disappear in the night.
  2. A period of observation or surveillance at any hour.
    His dog kept vigil outside the hospital for eight days while he was recovering from an accident.
  3. The eve of a religious festival in which staying awake is part of the ritual devotions.
  4. A quiet demonstration in support of a cause.
    The protesters kept vigil outside the conference centre in which the party congress was being held.


Related terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.



From Proto-Indo-European *weǵ- (to be strong, lively, awake), whence vigeō.



vigil (genitive vigilis); third-declension one-termination adjective

  1. awake, watching, alert


Third-declension one-termination adjective.

Number Singular Plural
Case / Gender Masc./Fem. Neuter Masc./Fem. Neuter
Nominative vigil vigilēs vigilia
Genitive vigilis vigilium
Dative vigilī vigilibus
Accusative vigilem vigil vigilēs vigilia
Ablative vigilī vigilibus
Vocative vigil vigilēs vigilia


vigil m (genitive vigilis); third declension

  1. watchman, guard, sentinel; constable, fireman
  2. (in the plural) the watch, police, constabulary


Third-declension noun.

Case Singular Plural
Nominative vigil vigilēs
Genitive vigilis vigilum
Dative vigilī vigilibus
Accusative vigilem vigilēs
Ablative vigile vigilibus
Vocative vigil vigilēs

Derived terms[edit]


  • French: vigile
  • Irish: feighil
  • Italian: vigile
  • Piedmontese: vìgil
  • Portuguese: vígil
  • Romanian: vigil, veghe


  • vigil in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • vigil in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • vigil in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire illustré Latin-Français, Hachette