- a public spectacle or controversy marked by barbarism, vindictiveness, or scandal.
- pleasure or advantage gained from the discomfort or suffering of others.
Origin of Roman holiday
- entertainment or pleasure that depends on the suffering of others
Word Origin and History for roman holiday
"occasion on which entertainment or profit is derived from injury or death," 1860, originally in reference to holidays for gladiatorial combat; the expression seems to be entirely traceable to an oft-quoted passage on a dying barbarian gladiator from the fourth canto (1818) of Byron's "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage":
But where his rude hut by the Danube lay
There were his young barbarians all at play,
There was their Dacian mother. He, their sire,
Butcher'd to make a Roman holiday!