verb (used with object)

verb (used without object)

to make a vow.
to make a solemn or earnest declaration.


    take vows, to enter a religious order or house.

Origin of vow

1250–1300; Middle English < Anglo-French, Old French vo(u) < Latin vōtum, neuter of vōtus, past participle of vovēre to vow
Related formsvow·er, nounvow·less, adjectiveun·vowed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for vow

Contemporary Examples of vow

Historical Examples of vow

  • The quality of sincerity in Dick's voice was more convincing than any vow might have been.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • And it was true I could have snatched the meat from her like a wolf, but because of my vow I would not.

    The Trail Book

    Mary Austin

  • I brought sickness on the village, and on you hunger and the breaking of your vow.'

    The Trail Book

    Mary Austin

  • Who had exacted from her so strange a vow, that, although he might be very dear to her, she was never to let him know it?

    The Dream

    Emile Zola

  • The student of nature in all the ages has taken the vow of poverty.

British Dictionary definitions for vow



a solemn or earnest pledge or promise binding the person making it to perform a specified act or behave in a certain way
a solemn promise made to a deity or saint, by which the promiser pledges himself to some future act, course of action, or way of life
take vows to enter a religious order and commit oneself to its rule of life by the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, which may be taken for a limited period as simple vows or as a perpetual and still more solemn commitment as solemn vows


(tr; may take a clause as object or an infinitive) to pledge, promise, or undertake solemnlyhe vowed that he would continue; he vowed to return
(tr) to dedicate or consecrate to God, a deity, or a saint
(tr; usually takes a clause as object) to assert or swear emphatically
(intr) archaic to declare solemnly
Derived Formsvower, nounvowless, adjective

Word Origin for vow

C13: from Old French vou, from Latin vōtum a solemn promise, from vovēre to vow
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

Word Origin and History for vow

c.1300, from Anglo-French and Old French vou, from Latin votum "a vow, wish, promise, dedication," noun use of neuter of votus, past participle of vovere "to promise solemnly, pledge, dedicate, vow," from PIE root *ewegwh- "to speak solemnly, vow" (cf. Sanskrit vaghat- "one who offers a sacrifice;" Greek eukhe "vow, wish," eukhomai "I pray").


c.1300, from Old French vouer, from vou (see vow (n.)). Related: Vowed; vowing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper