First Name
in the U.S.
since 1880
Last Name
in the U.S.
in 2010
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How to Pronounce Vigil

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Meaning and Origin

What does the name Vigil mean? Find out below.

Origin and Meaning of Vigil

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Webster's Unabridged Dictionary
noun Vig"il
  1. 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 vigilsof many months." [Macaulay.]"Nothing wears out a fine face like the vigils of the card table and those cutting passions which attend them." [Addison.]
  2. Hence, devotional watching; waking for prayer, or other religious exercises."So they in heaven their odes and vigils tuned." [Milton.]"Be sober and keep vigil, The Judge is at the gate." [Neale (Rhythm of St. Bernard).]
  3. [Eccl]
    1. Originally, the watch kept on the night before a feast.
    2. Later, the day and the night preceding a feast.
      "He that shall live this day, and see old age, Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbors, And say, “To-morrow is St. Crispian.”" [Shak.]
    3. A religious service performed in the evening preceding a feast.

Etymology: 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

Other Dictionary Sources
  1. A purposeful surveillance to guard or observe
  2. The rite of staying awake for devotional purposes (especially on the eve of a religious festival)
  3. A period of sleeplessness

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”).

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.

  1. An instance of keeping awake during normal sleeping hours, especially to keep watch or pray.
  2. A period of observation or surveillance at any hour.
    His dog kept 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 outside the conference centre in which the party congress was being held.

vigil was also found in the following language(s): Latin

Notable Persons With the Last Name Vigil

Melissa Loza is a model (people). Melissa was given the name Melissa Loza Vigil on February 4th, 1983 in Chimbote.


Zach Vigil is an athlete for the Miami Dolphins. Zach was born on March 28th, 1991 in Clearfield, Utah.


Selene Vigil-Wilk is a grunge, punk rock, and riot grrrl musician. She has been prominent since 1990. Selene was given the name Selene Here Vigil on July 16th, 1965. Selene is also known as Selene Vigil.


Tim Vigil is a comics creator.


Donaciano Vigil was a Governor of New Mexico and List of Governors of New Mexico. Donaciano was born in 1802 in New Mexico. He breathed his last breath in 1877.


Carol was born on October 24th, 1947. She died on March 27th, 2009.


Where is the name Vigil popular?

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Popularity of Vigil as a last name

The map shows the absolute popularity of the name Vigil as a last name in each of the states. See other popular names in Colorado, New Mexico, or California.

Ethnicity Distribution

Ethnicity Vigil U.S.
  White 13.86% 64.26%
  African American 0.37% 11.96%
  Asian, Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander 0.34% 4.85%
  American Indian and Alaska Native 2.74% 0.69%
  Two or More Ethnicities 0.59% 1.76%
  Hispanic or Latino 82.09% 16.26%

Of Last Name Vigil

People with the last name Vigil are most frequently White or Hispanic or Latino

Entire United States

Fun Facts about the name Vigil

  • How Popular is the name Vigil? As a last name Vigil was the 1,205th most popular name in 2010.
  • When was the first name Vigil first recorded in the United States? The oldest recorded birth by the Social Security Administration for the name Vigil is Saturday, February 25th, 1893.
  • How unique is the name Vigil? From 1880 to 2017 less than 5 people per year have been born with the first name Vigil. Hoorah! You are a unique individual.
  • Weird things about the name Vigil: Your name in reverse order is Ligiv. A random rearrangement of the letters in your name (anagram) will give Iigvl. How do you pronounce that?
  • How many people have the last name Vigil? In 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau surveyed 29,382 people with the last name Vigil.
  • How likely are you to meet someone with the last name of Vigil? If you manage to meet 100,000 people in your life, chances are that 10 of them will have Vigil as their last name.

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  • Sources:
  • U.S. Census Bureau: Frequently Occurring Surnames from the Census 2000 (public domain).
  • 1913 Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary via the Collaborative International Dictionary of English (License)
  • Other Dictionary Sources: WordNet 3.1 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University (License).
  • Wiktionary: Titles and License.
  • Notable persons via Wikipedia: Titles and License. Click each image for the attribution information.