See more synonyms for holiday on
  1. a day fixed by law or custom on which ordinary business is suspended in commemoration of some event or in honor of some person.
  2. any day of exemption from work (distinguished from working day).
  3. a time or period of exemption from any requirement, duty, assessment, etc.: New businesses may be granted a one-year tax holiday.
  4. a religious feast day; holy day, especially any of several usually commemorative holy days observed in Judaism.
  5. Sometimes holidays. Chiefly British. a period of cessation from work or one of recreation; vacation.
  6. an unintentional gap left on a plated, coated, or painted surface.
  1. of or relating to a festival; festive; joyous: a holiday mood.
  2. suitable for a holiday: holiday attire.
verb (used without object)
  1. Chiefly British. to vacation: to holiday at the seaside.

Origin of holiday

before 950; Middle English; Old English hāligdæg. See holy, day
Related formspre·hol·i·day, adjective

Synonyms for holiday

See more synonyms for on


  1. BillieLady Day, 1915–59, U.S. jazz singer. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for holiday

Contemporary Examples of holiday

Historical Examples of holiday

  • They would have a holiday together, and then they would say good-bye.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • The office had been closed, owing to a death, and Palmer was in possession of a holiday.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • Won't your Professor give you a holiday from—is it microbes you study?

  • It makes a holiday in Colchis whenever such a thing happens.

    Tanglewood Tales

    Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • It was holiday for the horses of the Sun, and away they went.

    Old Greek Folk Stories Told Anew

    Josephine Preston Peabody

British Dictionary definitions for holiday


  1. (often plural) mainly British
    1. a period in which a break is taken from work or studies for rest, travel, or recreationUS and Canadian word: vacation
    2. (as modifier)a holiday mood
  2. a day on which work is suspended by law or custom, such as a religious festival, bank holiday, etcRelated adjective: ferial
  1. (intr) mainly British to spend a holiday

Word Origin for holiday

Old English hāligdæg, literally: holy day


  1. Billie. real name Eleanora Fagan; known as Lady Day. 1915–59, US jazz singer
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

Word Origin and History for holiday

1500s, earlier haliday (c.1200), from Old English haligdæg "holy day; Sabbath," from halig "holy" (see holy) + dæg "day" (see day); in 14c. meaning both "religious festival" and "day of recreation," but pronunciation and sense diverged 16c. As a verb meaning "to pass the holidays" by 1869.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with holiday


see busman's holiday.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.