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

  • n. A period of time devoted to pleasure, rest, or relaxation, especially one with pay granted to an employee.
  • n. A holiday.
  • n. A fixed period of holidays, especially one during which a school, court, or business suspends activities.
  • n. Archaic The act or an instance of vacating.
  • intransitive v. To take or spend a vacation.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. (law) the act of making legally void.
  • v. To spend or take a vacation.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act of vacating; a making void or of no force.
  • n. Intermission of a stated employment, procedure, or office; a period of intermission; rest; leisure.
  • n. Intermission of judicial proceedings; the space of time between the end of one term and the beginning of the next; nonterm; recess.
  • n. A period of intermission of regular paid work or employment, or of studies and exercises at an educational institution; the time during which a person temporarily ceases regular duties of any kind and performs other activites, usually some form of liesure; holidays; recess (at a school). Vacation is typically used for rest, travel, or recreation, but may be used for any purpose. In Britain this sense of vacation is usually referred to as holiday.
  • n. The time when an office is vacant

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The act of vacating.
  • n. A space of time, or a condition, in which there is an intermission of a stated employment or procedure; a stated interval in a round of duties; a holiday.
  • n. Specifically— In law, temporary cessation of judicial proceedings; the space of time between the end of one term of court and the beginning of the next; the period during which a court holds no sessions; recess; non-term. In England the vacations are—Christmas vacation, commencing on December 24th and ending January 6th; Easter vacation, commencing on Good Friday and ending on Easter Tuesday; Whitsun vacation, commencing on the Saturday before and ending on the Tuesday after Whitsunday; and the long vacation, commencing on August 13th and ending on October 23d.
  • n. The intermission of the regular studies of an educational institution of any kind, when the students have a recess; holidays: as, the summer vacation.
  • n. The act of becoming vacant; avoidance: said especially of a see or other spiritual dignity.
  • n. Freedom from duty; leisure time.

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

  • n. the act of making something legally void
  • v. spend or take a vacation
  • n. leisure time away from work devoted to rest or pleasure


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

Middle English vacacioun, from Old French vacation, from Latin vacātiō, vacātiōn-, freedom from occupation, from vacātus, past participle of vacāre, to be empty, at leisure.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle French vacation, from Latin vacātio.


  • A great outdoor enthusiast, John believes that the word vacation is synonymous with white-water rafting and long, arduous hikes in the woods.


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  • A "vacation" is time off from work a person arranges themselves.

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  • It’s an ambivalence exhibited in the word vacation itself, which, far more neutral than holiday it practically means neutrality, refuses to dictate how to use the time off.



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