Pronunciation: (vij'ul), [key]
1. wakefulness maintained for any reason during the normal hours for sleeping.
2. 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.
3. a period of wakefulness from inability to sleep.
4. Eccles.
a. a devotional watching, or keeping awake, during the customary hours of sleep.
b. Sometimes, vigils. a nocturnal devotional exercise or service, esp. on the eve before a church festival.
c. the eve, or day and night, before a church festival, esp. an eve that is a fast.

Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.

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