December 12, 2013

Case File #013.12.12: VOCATION

Vocation came to English via the Latin noun vocatio, which meant “calling” and was itself a derivative of the Latin verb vocare, meaning “to call or summon.” It's not surprising, then, that when English speakers first started using vocation in the early fifteenth century, the word meant “a spiritual calling.” This meaning became secondary in the early sixteenth century, however, when the more worldly sense of “a strong inclination towards a trade or occupation” came into popular use. And during the latter years of the century, that secular meaning of vocation evolved into the noun's contemporary sense of “one's primary profession or career.”

©2013 Michael R. Gates

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