- wakefulness maintained for any reason during the normal hours for sleeping.
- a watch or a period of watchful attention maintained at night or at other times: The nurse kept her vigil at the bedside of the dying man.
- a period of wakefulness from inability to sleep.
- a devotional watching, or keeping awake, during the customary hours of sleep.
- Sometimes vigils.a nocturnal devotional exercise or service, especially on the eve before a church festival.
- the eve, or day and night, before a church festival, especially an eve that is a fast.
- a purposeful watch maintained, esp at night, to guard, observe, pray, etc
- the period of such a watch
- RC Church Church of England the eve of certain major festivals, formerly observed as a night spent in prayer: often marked by fasting and abstinence and a special Mass and divine office
- a period of sleeplessness; insomnia
early 13c., “eve of a religious festival” (an occasion for devotional watching or observance), from Anglo-French and Old French vigile, from Latin vigilia “watch, watchfulness,” from vigil “watchful, awake,” from PIE *wog-/*weg- “be lively or active, be strong” (cf. Latin vigere “be lively, thrive,” velox “fast, lively,” vegere “to enliven;” Sanskrit vaja- “strength, speed;” Old English wacan “to wake up, arise,” wacian “to be awake;” Old High German wahta “watch, vigil”). Meaning “watch kept on a festival eve” is from late 14c.; that of “occasion of keeping awake for some purpose” is recorded from 1711.