1. A calling away; a diversion. "Impulses to duty, and powerful avocations from sin." (South)

2. That which calls one away from one's regular employment or vocation. "Heaven is his vocation, and therefore he counts earthly employments avocations." (Fuller) "By the secular cares and avocations which accompany marriage the clergy have been furnished with skill in common life." (Atterbury)

In this sense the word is applied to the smaller affairs of life, or occasional calls which summon a person to leave his ordinary or principal business. Avocation (in the singular) for vocation is usually avoided by good writers.

3. Pursuits; duties; affairs which occupy one's time; usual employment; vocation. "There are professions, among the men, no more favorable to these studies than the common avocations of women." (Richardson) "In a few hours, above thirty thousand men left his standard, and returned to their ordinary avocations." (Macaulay) "An irregularity and instability of purpose, which makes them choose the wandering avocations of a shepherd, rather than the more fixed pursuits of agriculture." (Buckle)

Origin: L. Avocatio.

(01 Mar 1998)

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