• synonyms


[vey-key-shuh n, vuh-]
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  1. 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.
  2. a part of the year, regularly set aside, when normal activities of law courts, legislatures, etc., are suspended.
  3. freedom or release from duty, business, or activity.
  4. an act or instance of vacating.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to take or have a vacation: to vacation in the Caribbean.
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Origin of vacation

1350–1400; < Latin vacātiōn- (stem of vacātiō freedom from something; see vacate, -ion); replacing Middle English vacacioun < Anglo-French
Related formsva·ca·tion·er, va·ca·tion·ist, nounva·ca·tion·less, adjectivemin·i·va·ca·tion, nounpre·va·ca·tion, noun, adjective
Can be confusedvacation vocation
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for vacation

recess, rest, break, layoff, respite, sabbatical, holiday, recreation, furlough, intermission, spell, fiesta, liberty, leave

Examples from the Web for vacation

Contemporary Examples of vacation

Historical Examples of vacation

British Dictionary definitions for vacation


  1. mainly British a period of the year when the law courts or universities are closed
  2. mainly US and Canadian a period in which a break is taken from work or studies for rest, travel, or recreationAlso called (in Britain and certain other countries) holiday
  3. the act of departing from or abandoning property, etc
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  1. (intr) US and Canadian to take a vacation; holiday
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Derived Formsvacationless, adjective

Word Origin for vacation

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

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.

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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper