• WordNet 3.6
    • n vigil a purposeful surveillance to guard or observe
    • n vigil the rite of staying awake for devotional purposes (especially on the eve of a religious festival)
    • n vigil a period of sleeplessness
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: This is what the red, white, and blue on the US flag represent: The Continental Congress left no record to show why it chose the colors. However, in 1782, the Congress of the Confederation chose these same colors for the Great Seal of the United States and listed their meaning as follows: white to mean purity and innocence, red for valor and hardiness, and blue for vigilance, perseverance, and justice. According to legend, George Washington interpreted the elements of the flag this way: the stars were taken from the sky, the red from the British colors, and the white stripes signified the secession from the home country. However, there is no official designation or meaning for the colors of the flag.
    • Vigil (Eccl) A religious service performed in the evening preceding a feast.
    • Vigil Abstinence from sleep, whether at a time when sleep is customary or not; the act of keeping awake, or the state of being awake; sleeplessness; wakefulness; watch. "Worn out by the labors and vigils of many months.""Nothing wears out a fine face like the vigils of the card table and those cutting passions which attend them."
    • Vigil Hence, devotional watching; waking for prayer, or other religious exercises. "So they in heaven their odes and vigils tuned.""Be sober and keep vigil ,
      The Judge is at the gate."
    • Vigil (Eccl) Later, the day and the night preceding a feast.
    • Vigil (Eccl) Originally, the watch kept on the night before a feast.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n vigil The act of keeping awake; abstinence or forbearance from sleep at the natural or ordinary hours of rest; the state of being awake during the natural time for sleep; sleeplessness; wakefulness; watch: commonly in the plural.
    • n vigil Devotional watching; hence, devotions, services, praise, prayer, or the like performed during the customary hours of sleep; nocturnal devotions: commonly in the plural.
    • n vigil Eccles.: Originally, in the early church, the watch kept in a church or cemetery on the night before a feast, the time being occupied in prayer. The assembly on such occasions often leading to disorders, the custom of holding such vigils came to be abandoned in the eleventh or twelfth century. A trace of the old custom remains in the matins, lauds, and midnight mass before Christmas day.
    • n vigil Hence— The day and night preceding a festival; the eve or day before a festival; strictly, an eve which is a fast. Special offices or the use of the collect of the festival mark the vigil. If the day before such a festival is Sunday, the fast is transferred to the previous Saturday. Vigils are observed in the Roman Catholic, the Greek, the Anglican, and other churches.
    • n vigil A wake.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Vigil vij′il watching: keeping awake for religious exercises: the eve before a feast or fast day, originally kept by watching through the night
    • ***


  • C. J. Weber
    C. J. Weber
    “Vigilance is the virtue of vice.”
  • Douglas Macarthur
    “No man is entitled to the blessings of freedom unless he be vigilant in its preservation.”
  • George Orwell
    “I sometimes think that the price of liberty is not so much eternal vigilance as eternal dirt.”
  • Edward G. Bulwer-Lytton
    “Every man who observes vigilantly and resolves steadfastly grows unconsciously into genius.”
  • Samuel Johnson
    “There is, indeed, nothing that so much seduces reason from vigilance, as the thought of passing life with an amiable woman.”
  • Abraham Lincoln
    “Beware of rashness, but with energy, and sleepless vigilance, go forward and give us victories.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
OE. vigile, L. vigilia, from vigil, awake, watchful, probably akin to E. wake,: cf. F. vigile,. See Wake (v. i.), and cf. Reveille Surveillance Vedette Vegetable Vigor
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Fr.,—L. vigiliavigil, awake, watchful—vigēre, to be lively.


In literature:

But, finally, with vigilance, on two occasions, I surprise the beetles at their work in the light of day.
"Social Life in the Insect World" by J. H. Fabre
The men at the defences relaxed no vigilance.
"The Triumph of John Kars" by Ridgwell Cullum
A most vigilant watch was kept up, for the next week, at Yardhope Hold.
"Both Sides the Border" by G. A. Henty
The vigilance of that minister was here further roused by jealousy.
"The History of England in Three Volumes, Vol.I., Part E. From Charles I. to Cromwell" by David Hume
Such was the vigilance of Luxembourg, that William could not avail himself of his superiority.
"The History of England in Three Volumes, Vol.II. From William and Mary to George II." by Tobias Smollett
Vigil is wearisome and they were almost as weary of blind precautions as, secretly, were Hugh and others.
"Gideon's Band" by George W. Cable
The boy felt a great sense of relief in his lonely vigil.
"The Pony Rider Boys in Texas" by Frank Gee Patchin
Four of them kept a vigilant guard over the prisoners.
"Saint Bartholomew's Eve" by G. A. Henty
We therefore continued our nocturnal vigils on the ridges which encircled the station.
"The Fifth Battalion Highland Light Infantry in the War 1914-1918" by F.L. Morrison
When darkness shut down, they took up their second long vigil.
"The Spinner's Book of Fiction" by Various

In poetry:

Whatever dark may shroud thee
And hide thy stars away,
With vigil sweet his wings shall beat
About thee till the day.
"Love-Watch" by Cale Young Rice
The eyes of memory will not sleep,
Its ears are open still;
And vigils with the past they keep
Against my feeble will.
"The Knight of St. John" by John Greenleaf Whittier
Rest, dearest one, may angel host
Their vigils o'er thee keep,
How can I breath thy saintly name
And yet forbear to weep?
"Motherly Emotions" by Frank Barbour Coffin
Cold is your vigil, O stars!
Ye are mirrored in dew and in tears:
The glad watch ye not, ye pass on
Seeing the grief of the years.
"Midnight" by Annie Adams Fields
Was there aught that I did not share
In vigil or toil or ease, —
One joy or woe that I did not know,
Dear hearts across the seas?
"Prelude" by Rudyard Kipling
I could not enter in, I could not make
My presence known, one kiss I could not take!
Yet I rejoice, the Heavenly Watch are keeping
Their nightly vigil o'er the dear ones sleeping.
"The Churchyard: Night The Second" by Thomas Aird

In news:

Vigil planned for GWU student killed in dorm fall.
Friends, family remember Lockhart with candlelight vigil.
Cathy Thomas, left, Kelly Thomas's mother, is comforted by family and friends during a vigil for her son in July.
A vigil is held for a woman shot to death by a police officer.
A prayer vigil to end gun violence is held in Mt Airy.
PG&E promised to be more vigilant and pro-active about public safety after the San Bruno disaster, but some East Bay neighbors are questioning the utility's communication skills after being frightened by an incident.
City officials held evening vigils and offered inspirational words of hope and healing.
It appears that Alabama did a thorough job of investigating once a bookstore employee blew the whistle, but a lack of vigilance on the front end is the problem here.
Vigil for slain nightclub security guard.
Family, friends hold candlelight vigil at Livonia school.
Below, vocalist Jonathan Vigil reveals the story behind one of the record's standout tracks, "White Light.".
Vigil held for two teens killed in crash one year ago.
Hope for finding Hailey Dunn shines in candlelight vigil.
Woolly Mammoth 's 'Vigils': Death and the Soul of Wit.
Vigil remembers woman killed in weekend melee.

In science:

There are suggestions that nonsynaptic diffusion neurotransmission plays a fundamental role in certain sustained brain functions which include vigilance, hunger, mood, responses to certain sensory stimuli as well as abnormal functions like mood disorder, spinal shock, spasticity and drug addiction.
Reaction diffusion processes on random and scale-free networks
We have identified four areas that are either in danger of deteriorating and require vigilance on the part of the community to sustain, or are in need of improvement.
Challenges facing young astrophysicists
There is another similar aspect in which chaotic dynamics may enhance the vigilance of living organisms.
Review of Nonlinear Methods and Modelling
Vigilance of the hen: - Alert behaviours: the hen raises her head or inclines the head with a stretched neck. - "Motionless Awake-Upright" behaviours: the hen remains upright without moving and observes its surrounds.
Post-hatching parental care behaviour and hormonal status in a precocial bird
Vigilance behaviours are involved in the protection of ducklings all the time since they will be vulnerable to predators.
Post-hatching parental care behaviour and hormonal status in a precocial bird