Definition of vow in English:

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Pronunciation: /vou/


1A solemn promise.
Example sentences
  • Who would have guessed someone so young could make such a solemn vow and keep it for over fifty years.
  • It is one thing for adults to take vows and fulfil them, and quite another when a vow is taken in the name of a child.
  • Kirkstall was founded as a result of a solemn vow made by Henry de Lacy of Pontefract Castle.
oath, pledge, promise, bond, covenant, commitment, avowal, profession, affirmation, attestation, assurance, guarantee;
word, word of honor
formal troth
1.1 (vows) A set of promises committing one to a prescribed role, calling, or course of action, typically to marriage or a monastic career.
Example sentences
  • The bill would not force clergy opposed to same-sex marriage to solemnize the vows.
  • I do not believe that civil union vows, or marriage vows for that matter, are only of symbolic value.
  • He then discusses marriage vows, the history of divorce, and modern reinterpretations.


1 [reporting verb] Solemnly promise to do a specified thing: [with clause]: he vowed that his government would not tolerate a repeat of the disorder [with direct speech]: one fan vowed, “I’ll picket every home game.”
More example sentences
  • Campaigners have vowed to continue their fight to try to stop homes being built on part of a school site in Clacton.
  • Furious families today vowed to fight developers for the fourth time to save their last piece of open space.
  • Councillors have vowed to continue to reduce the number of homeless families in Southend.
swear, pledge, promise, avow, undertake, engage, make a commitment, give one's word, guarantee
archaic plight
2 [with object] archaic Dedicate to someone or something, especially a deity: I vowed myself to this enterprise


Middle English: from Old French vou, from Latin votum (see vote); the verb from Old French vouer.

  • vote from Late Middle English:

    Vote is from Latin votum ‘a vow, wish’, from vovere ‘to vow’. The verb dates from the mid 16th century. The word votive (late 16th century) meaning ‘offered in fulfilment of a vow’ is from votum as are vow (Middle English), devout (Middle English), and devotion (Middle English).

Words that rhyme with vow

allow, avow, Bilbao, Bissau, bough, bow, bow-wow, brow, cacao, chow, ciao, cow, dhow, Dow, endow, Foochow, Frau, Hangzhou, Hough, how, Howe, kowtow, Lao, Liao, Macao, Macau, miaow, Mindanao, mow, now, ow, Palau, plough (US plow), pow, prow, row, scow, Slough, sough, sow, Tao, thou, wow, Yangshao

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: vow

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