Vow

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Etymology

Middle English vowe, from Anglo-French vou, from Latin votum, from neuter of votus, past participle of vovēre to vow; akin to Greek euchesthai to pray, vow, Sanskrit vāghat sacrificer

Definition

Description

A vow (Lat. votum, vow, promise; see vote) is a promise or oath.

Marriage vows are binding promises each partner in a couple makes to the other during a wedding ceremony. Marriage customs have developed over history and keep changing as human society develops. In earlier times and in most cultures the consent of the partners has not had the importance now attached to it, at least in Western societies and those they have influenced.

Within the world of monks and nuns, a vow is sometimes a transaction between a person and a deity, where the former promises to render some service or gift, or devotes something valuable to the deity's use. The vow is a kind of oath, with the deity being both the witness and recipient of the promise. For an example, see the Book of Judges. Also, see the Bodhisattva vows.