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[voh-key-shuh n] /voʊˈkeɪ ʃən/
a particular occupation, business, or profession; calling.
a strong impulse or inclination to follow a particular activity or career.
a divine call to God's service or to the Christian life.
a function or station in life to which one is called by God:
the religious vocation; the vocation of marriage.
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English vocacio(u)n < Latin vocātiōn- (stem of vocātiō) a call, summons, equivalent to vocāt(us) past participle of vocāre to call (see -ate1) + -iōn- -ion
Can be confused
avocation, vocation.
vacation, vocation.
1. employment, pursuit. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for vocations
  • Business people and schoolteachers build their vocations around words.
  • Many athletes seem perfectly willing to bear the risks of long-term effects on their health as a result of their vocations.
  • But in a land that used to export priests and nuns to the world, vocations have dried up.
  • The natural propensities of all human beings are easily influenced by their vocations.
  • They think there will always be nuns of some sort, but they don't know precisely what forms the vocations will take.
  • These writers also turn out to have vocations beyond the crafting of fiction.
  • With all this in mind, players both large and small have been rethinking their vocations.
  • He was widely known as an expert on the psychology of people who choose religious vocations.
British Dictionary definitions for vocations


a specified occupation, profession, or trade
  1. a special urge, inclination, or predisposition to a particular calling or career, esp a religious one
  2. such a calling or career
Word Origin
C15: from Latin vocātiō a calling, from vocāre to call
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for vocations



early 15c., "spiritual calling," from Latin vocationem (nominative vocatio), literally "a calling," from vocatus "called," past participle of vocare "to call" (see voice (n.)). Sense of "one's occupation or profession" is first attested 1550s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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