Meaning of ex-voto in English:


Pronunciation /ɛks ˈvəʊtəʊ/

nounplural noun ex-votos

  • An offering given in order to fulfil a vow.

    ‘on the walls hung dozens of ex-votos’
    • ‘a collection of ex-voto offerings’
    • ‘The result is one of the smallest, most intensely powerful exhibitions I have seen for a long time, in which each piece, while itself a perfect ex-voto, also contributes to the intercessory impact of the whole.’
    • ‘His ex-voto will be a part of himself: his child.’
    • ‘The monument was probably constructed as an ex-voto to thank God for having stopped the plague that had broken out in 1598.’
    • ‘The house is full of folk art - the crudely painted ex-votos left by people who felt their life had been changed by divine intervention, and clay pots and plates all decorated in the same vibrant colours.’
    • ‘Recently, Charles Dempsey observed that this work, an ex-voto painted in response to Rome's plague of 1656, incites fear and pity.’
    • ‘A traditional ex-voto figure would have shown the duke kneeling, his hands folded in prayer, without the reliquary or Saint George.’
    • ‘Among the most vibrant evidence for the cult of the saints are the ex-voto gifts left in thanksgiving by pilgrims whose prayers had been answered.’


Late 18th century from Latin ex voto ‘from a vow’.