Definition of vocation in US English:



  • 1A strong feeling of suitability for a particular career or occupation.

    ‘not all of us have a vocation to be nurses or doctors’
    • ‘‘Teaching is a vocation as well as a profession,’ is John's guiding principle.’
    • ‘I commend the New Zealanders who continue to study for those professions, regardless of the many disincentives, because they have a vocation and a real desire to help others.’
    • ‘This is bleak because my career is neither a passion nor a vocation.’
    • ‘And this pope actually had a deep influence on my own vocation to the priesthood.’
    • ‘The newspaper has a new astrologer and he found his vocation following careers in the Royal Navy, hotels and catering.’
    • ‘And I think at that time my vocation became very strong.’
    • ‘I imagine that most people who go into the Police Service have a strong sense of vocation.’
    • ‘He was born in a Kerry farming community in 1938 and, in his early 20s, he received his vocation to enter the priesthood.’
    • ‘Marty perceives his mentoring not as a career but as a vocation and a faith commitment.’
    calling, life's work, mission, purpose, function, position, niche
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    1. 1.1 A person's employment or main occupation, especially regarded as particularly worthy and requiring great dedication.
      ‘her vocation as a poet’
      • ‘The teacher does not hold the prospect of wealth but is accorded respect for his vocation and dedication to the care of the young.’
      • ‘But she has now found her vocation with Wiltshire Ambulance Service.’
      • ‘When he joined the Force in 1972 he saw his future career as more a vocation than a job; he was willing to make whatever sacrifices were necessary to perform the task to the best of his ability.’
      • ‘For him, sculpting is more than mere employment, it's a vocation.’
      • ‘She was also a teacher in inner city London - a vocation which requires real dedication.’
      • ‘They often work through without a break yet put up with it because they come into the job as a vocation to help people.’
      • ‘I mean, we don't get paid luxury salaries or anything like that, and for many of us it's a passion and a vocation and I must admit I'm thrilled by the fact that we are being recognised as being important.’
      • ‘Management is a calling, a vocation that requires knowledge and passion, but also patience.’
      • ‘As much as he denies it, what was supposed to be a temporary job is becoming a vocation.’
      • ‘We need to remember that there were many generations of women who never had the opportunity to exercise their vocation in the priesthood and there are those who would make excellent bishops who will never have that opportunity.’
      • ‘He helped many people along his journey before deciding that he wanted to make the priesthood his vocation.’
      • ‘Preparing sermons has been the focus of my life, my struggle, my joy, my preoccupation, my occupation and my vocation.’
      • ‘He returned to what he considered to be his main vocation, theoretical physics, focusing on entirely novel topics.’
      • ‘For more than 60 years, it's been my joy, my passion and my vocation.’
      • ‘It's not a job but a vocation, consuming you not just with the thoughts and concerns of making responsible decisions, but the regular flow of phone calls, e-mails and letters.’
      • ‘Her conclusion about balancing work and family is that any determined woman can develop a worthy vocation even if she does not pursue a full-time career.’
      • ‘Historically, public service was the honourable vocation of the nobility and gentry, whose younger sons went into the army, the Church or the law.’
      • ‘Late in life, he seemed to find his vocation as a writer rather than a publishing employee.’
      • ‘Yet she has set her heart in turning her passion for art and craft into a full-time vocation.’
      • ‘Literature was his vocation, and his love of technology seems to have been a matter of high principle rather than of practice.’
      job, post, position, situation, day job, occupation, profession, trade, livelihood, career, business, line, line of work, calling, craft, pursuit
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    2. 1.2 A trade or profession.
      • ‘They hoped for Jean Marie to become a priest, and his sister and brother already had vocations as a missionary nun and priest respectively, both working in South America.’
      • ‘We relied too much on the medical profession being a vocation which people went into because they cared about people rather than as a career.’
      • ‘The midwifery was her paying vocation, she made money or got items in trade for helping other women with childbirth.’
      • ‘Children were sent to college and frequently went on to pursue professional vocations, such as law, education, or medicine.’
      • ‘To fit in society well, a youth has to learn a skill, vocation, profession or trade for him or her to become a responsible citizen in the community.’
      • ‘This behavior is a quick turnoff to professionals who value their vocation and what they have to offer.’
      • ‘It should be noted that to this point he has never billed a minute of company time as a professional in his vocation.’


Late Middle English: from Old French, or from Latin vocatio(n-), from vocare ‘to call’.