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[vey-key-shuh n, vuh-] /veɪˈkeɪ ʃən, və-/
a period of suspension of work, study, or other activity, usually used for rest, recreation, or travel; recess or holiday:
Schoolchildren are on vacation now.
a part of the year, regularly set aside, when normal activities of law courts, legislatures, etc., are suspended.
freedom or release from duty, business, or activity.
an act or instance of vacating.
verb (used without object)
to take or have a vacation:
to vacation in the Caribbean.
Origin of vacation
1350-1400; < Latin vacātiōn- (stem of vacātiō freedom from something; see vacate, -ion); replacing Middle English vacacioun < Anglo-French
Related forms
vacationer, vacationist, noun
vacationless, adjective
minivacation, noun
prevacation, noun, adjective
Can be confused
vacation, vocation. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for vacation
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Young women on the eve of a vacation were not usually so reasonable.

    K Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • When Karl comes from the university in his vacation, his first question is, "Where is Sami?"

  • "The spring vacation will be over soon now, Ruth," said Sister Mary.

    The Green Satin Gown Laura E. Richards
  • The vacation was only half through, and there was yet time to do much in this direction.

  • Invention has no vacation so far as ladies' apparel is concerned.

British Dictionary definitions for vacation


(mainly Brit) a period of the year when the law courts or universities are closed
(mainly US & Canadian) a period in which a break is taken from work or studies for rest, travel, or recreation Also called (in Britain and certain other countries) holiday
the act of departing from or abandoning property, etc
(intransitive) (US & Canadian) to take a vacation; holiday
Derived Forms
vacationless, adjective
Word Origin
C14: from Latin vacātiō freedom, from vacāre to be empty
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for vacation

late 14c., "freedom from obligations, leisure, release" (from some activity or occupation), from Old French vacation, from Latin vacationem (nominative vacatio) "leisure, a being free from duty," noun of state from past participle stem of vacare "be empty, free, or at leisure" (see vain).

Meanings "state of being unoccupied; process of vacating" are early 15c. Meaning "formal suspension of activity" (in reference to schools, courts, etc.) is recorded from mid-15c. As the U.S. equivalent of what in Britain is called a holiday, it is attested from 1878.


1876, from vacation (n.). Related: Vacationed; vacationing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for vacation



A prison sentence: who won a 20 years' vacation in the Big House (1920+ Underworld)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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