View synonyms for vow


[ vou ]


  1. a solemn promise, pledge, or personal commitment:

    marriage vows; a vow of secrecy.

  2. a solemn promise made to a deity or saint committing oneself to an act, service, or condition.
  3. a solemn or earnest declaration.

verb (used with object)

  1. to make a vow of; promise by a vow, as to God or a saint:

    to vow a crusade or a pilgrimage.

  2. to pledge or resolve solemnly to do, make, give, observe, etc.:

    They vowed revenge.

  3. to declare solemnly or earnestly; assert emphatically (often followed by a clause as object):

    She vowed that she would take the matter to court.

  4. to dedicate or devote by a vow:

    to vow oneself to the service of God.

verb (used without object)

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


/ vaʊ /


  1. a solemn or earnest pledge or promise binding the person making it to perform a specified act or behave in a certain way
  2. 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
  3. 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


  1. tr; may take a clause as object or an infinitive to pledge, promise, or undertake solemnly

    he vowed to return

    he vowed that he would continue

  2. tr to dedicate or consecrate to God, a deity, or a saint
  3. tr; usually takes a clause as object to assert or swear emphatically
  4. archaic.
    intr to declare solemnly

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Derived Forms

  • ˈvowless, adjective
  • ˈvower, noun

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Other Words From

  • vower noun
  • vowless adjective
  • un·vowed adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of vow1

1250–1300; Middle English < Anglo-French, Old French vo ( u ) < Latin vōtum, neuter of vōtus, past participle of vovēre to vow

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Word History and Origins

Origin of vow1

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

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Idioms and Phrases

  1. take vows, to enter a religious order or house.

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Example Sentences

We thank the Council for their action today, as we all reaffirm our vow that hate has no place in the District of Columbia.

Encouraged by a friend, I wrote and asked if, while she stayed with us, the justice might consider officiating over a brief ceremony to renew our marriage vows.

As major drug companies prepare a public vow to adhere to the most rigorous vaccine safety standards, watch for a fringe-driven conversation against vaccines to accelerate.

From Ozy

Katelyn Stanis, owner of vow writing company Wedding Words, had to cut her own guest list down from 100 to 15.

From Fortune

In addition to being a part of the strange club of 2020 brides, Stanis knows what it’s like to be on both sides of the bridal party––after all, she’s a professional wedding vow and speechwriter.

From Fortune

Kenyatta made a Bush-like vow to continue the war on Al-Shabab, saying, “We will not flinch.”

Under unusually blue skies in Beijing, the American and Chinese presidents vow cooperation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

He made the vow on June 30, and I remember thinking at the time how strange it seemed.

Somewhat coyly, Skidmore admits that “Richard was to break this solemn vow in spectacular style.”

Hamas spokesmen stand by the hospital gates and denounce the attack on Al Shejaiya as a massacre and vow to fight on.

My mother opposed her vow to his; not to suffer her child to leave her, till the time of her being professed.

The swearing of an oath always brings under obligation to God, and therefore always includes the making of a vow.

I have made a vow never to be hanged in the beginning of a revolution, nor to be shot in the beginning of a war.

The apprehension that God will punish for not making fulfilment to him accompanies equally the oath and the vow.

In like manner, the Nazarite separated himself from certain things, not merely in reality, but likewise by vow.


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Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.