from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Relating to a sabbatical year.
  • adj. Relating or appropriate to the Sabbath as the day of rest.
  • n. A sabbatical year.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Relating to the Sabbath.
  • adj. Relating to a sabbatical.
  • n. An extended period of leave, often one year long, taken by an employee in order to carry out projects not otherwise associated with the employee's job. During the sabbatical, the employer may pay some or all of the wages that would have been otherwise earned or some or all of the expenses incurred. University lecturers, for example, may be granted a one-year paid sabbatical once every seven years.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Sabbatic; characterized by rest or cessation from labor or tillage: as, the sabbatical years (see below).
  • Recurring in sevens, or on every seventh (day, month, year, etc.).
  • n. A contraction of Sabbatical year.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. of or relating to the Sabbath
  • adj. of or relating to sabbatical leave
  • n. a leave usually taken every seventh year


From Late Latin sabbaticus, from Greek sabbatikos, from sabbaton, Sabbath; see Sabbath.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Ancient Greek σαββατικός (sabbatikos). (Wiktionary)



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  • Beatrice Beckley has the thankless job of playing Lady Chiltern, one of those frightfully virtuous women of Wilde's who can't utter the simplest observation without dragging in such Sabbatical expressions as "we needs must."
    —Dorothy Parker, review of An Ideal Husband, in Vanity Fair, Nov. 1918

    This is probably the first time I've seen 'Sabbatical' used in anything close to the original sense of pertaining to the Sabbath.

    November 12, 2008