Definition of votive in US English:



  • Offered or consecrated in fulfillment of a vow.

    ‘votive offerings’
    • ‘All around the competitors were votive dedications from successful athletes and cities, grateful for divine favor in athletics or in battle, respectively.’
    • ‘Among the objects on display here are votive offerings aimed at curing disease.’
    • ‘You can make votive lamps really easily by sticking a bit of paper towel/cotton ball into a small cup of olive oil and lighting the end.’
    • ‘At Benwell, the god Antenociticus had a small temple outside the Roman fort that was found to contain three votive altars set up by soldiers.’
    • ‘Cities, as well as individuals, made votive offerings to the gods on special occasions.’
    • ‘His paintings, votive boxes, spirit bottles and sculpture are assembled from objects salvaged from the streets.’
    • ‘Later, elaborate designs were carved on precious wood, ivory and metals, including silver and brass, and inlaid with gold and silver wire, and they became votive objects of veneration for devotees.’
    • ‘Rivers were sacred in the Celtic world, and places where votive offerings were deposited and burials often conducted.’
    • ‘The temple's courtyard has scores of small shrines and votive stupas.’
    • ‘There are sacred votive caves where you can pick up thousand year-old beads that have been traded for salt as far away as China.’
    • ‘It is difficult to accept her conclusion that ‘all autonomous images of wax, silver or gold should be interpreted as votive portraits’.’
    • ‘DeCredico's medium-size bronze sculptures, with their dark brown patina, make one think of cult objects or votive offerings.’
    • ‘Van der Velden offers a useful classification of votive gifts, of which the image is only one of many alternatives.’
    • ‘These brightly painted feathered puppets represent spirits and figures from votive dances and are extensively collected.’
    • ‘A successful banker from Monday to Friday, he spent many a weekend in Atlantic City, where he cast his wealth like a votive offering to the glittering shrines of Fortuna.’
    • ‘Painted like Easter eggs, the crosses and ovals also suggest contemporary shrines and gently guide our thoughts toward gardens, votive objects and redemption.’
    • ‘Fine or folk art created or utilized specifically for protection, intercession, or votive offering.’
    • ‘Also, the worshippers would cast their votive offerings for the goddess into the spring associated with the temple.’
    • ‘There were also wall decorations, votive offerings, and richly furnished burials beneath the floors.’
    • ‘Many votive offerings were found, including bronze dogs and models of limbs suggesting a healing cult.’
    atoning, expiatory, oblatory, oblational, propitiatory
    View synonyms


  • An object offered in fulfillment of a vow, such as a candle used as a vigil light.

    • ‘Do not put votives directly in wooden candle holders.’
    • ‘Candles, both large and small, tapered, pillar or votives all generate a warm, inviting, flickering light to the room.’
    • ‘Etched-glass votives glow from within, where tea lights nestle.’
    • ‘There were jar candles and votives, tall ones and short ones.’
    • ‘As with any divinity, more personalized dedications show variation from these norms, and Demeter's votives may not be identical at every sanctuary.’
    • ‘A thin woolen blanket had been lain on the wood-planked floor with several lit glass jar candles and votives surrounding the blanket and resting on the railing.’
    • ‘In lighting a votive for one of these young women and girls who have been murdered, we will help illuminate a path so that their spirit can move out of darkness into the light.’
    • ‘Place glasses on the table in lieu of traditional tapers or votives.’
    • ‘The remaining materials that have been found in this building, such as votives, a sundial, basins, lamps, and other finds, could have been used in the last phase.’
    • ‘A high wall in an elegant London park is covered in drawings, photographs cut out of magazines and elaborately crafted votives.’
    • ‘Clear glass votives shine with an inner coating of silver leaf.’
    • ‘The current candle was a white, vanilla-scented votive.’
    • ‘To raise money for new wool jumpers, Miss Cropsey decided that we would sell Christmas candles, little votives whose holders were covered in red or green velvet with fake pine cones attached.’
    • ‘The resulting wax designs are attached to solid-colored votives to make personalized gifts.’
    • ‘I wished the print on the tabletop roll and sushi menus hadn't been too small to read in the sputtering light of oil-based votives.’
    • ‘Our class also constructed votives (used by the ancient Greeks as tokens to thank the god, Asclepius, for healing their ailments).’
    • ‘At least in its second phase, however, the building was equipped with a niche (for a votive or cult statue?)’
    • ‘Three of the remaining four small votives resemble strongly the numerous ‘altar-incense burners’ known from Delos.’
    • ‘Small votives tastefully displayed in a variety of glass cups are perfect for informal parties or intimate group settings.’
    • ‘They sat side by side, and each lit a candle for the one they had lost, sharing memories and thoughts of her as they watched the flames slowly consume the votives.’


Late 16th century: from Latin votivus, from votum (see vote). The original sense was ‘expressing a desire’, preserved in votive Mass.