noun, often attributive
va·​ca·​tion | \ vā-ˈkā-shən How to pronounce vacation (audio) , və- \

Definition of vacation

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a period spent away from home or business in travel or recreation had a restful vacation at the beach
2a : a scheduled period during which activity (as of a court or school) is suspended
b : a period of exemption from work granted to an employee
3 : a respite or a time of respite from something : intermission
4 : an act or an instance of vacating


vacationed; vacationing\ vā-​ˈkā-​sh(ə-​)niŋ How to pronounce vacation (audio) , və-​ \

Definition of vacation (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to take or spend a vacation vacationed at the shore

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Other Words from vacation


vacationer \ vā-​ˈkā-​sh(ə-​)nər How to pronounce vacation (audio) , və-​ \ noun

Synonyms for vacation

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of vacation in a Sentence

Noun Family vacations were a high point in my childhood. When are you taking vacation this year? Employees are entitled to 120 hours of paid vacation. I don't have any vacation days left. We have a one-week vacation in February. The university will be closed for Christmas vacation. Verb hoping to vacation in Spain this summer
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun And that's a vacation feeling everyone should have the pleasure of walking away with. Stacey Leasca, Travel + Leisure, 31 July 2021 That’s what a Hawaiian vacation should be all about, after all. Washington Post, 30 July 2021 Throw in excellent public transport and road links and this is a country ripe for those keen on a long, free-form vacation. CNN, 30 July 2021 Young, who played college ball at Notre Dame, flew from vacation to Las Vegas to begin the testing protocol. Steve Gardner, USA TODAY, 28 July 2021 Jackie Young joined the squad on July 19, cutting short a vacation in Florida, after Katie Lou Samuelson tested positive for the coronavirus. New York Times, 28 July 2021 Young recently came back from a romantic vacation to St. Barts with her fiance, HGTV star Tarek El Moussa. Hannah Chubb,, 27 July 2021 Planning ahead means that time away from home—whether a vacation, business trip, or anything else—is much better organized and less stressful. David Nield, Wired, 25 July 2021 Consider taking a vacation or a weekend retreat with a romantic partner in November. Tribune Content Agency, oregonlive, 24 July 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb As travel returns, many Americans are taking to the skies to vacation or visit friends and family. Patrick Connolly,, 29 July 2021 Visitors from around the world are welcomed to vacation here. CNN, 24 July 2021 Business owners said many visitors so far were people who vacation on Samos every year. Elena Becatoros, Star Tribune, 29 June 2021 Business owners said many visitors so far were people who vacation on Samos every year. Elena Becatoros, ajc, 29 June 2021 His team’s offseason program complete, Rams coach Sean McVay plans to vacation in New York, Greece and Monaco before training camp begins. Gary Klein Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 14 June 2021 The numbers represent a growing number of Americans looking to vacation or visit family this summer, as airlines say business travel has not recovered. Melissa Mahtani, CNN, 14 June 2021 At least one of the 16 is homeless, according to Greunke, but most of the group consists of retirees who frequently vacation and use the UPS Store to forward their mail. Nicholas Reimann, Forbes, 2 June 2021 Small town America has seen a resurgence in recent months, as travelers are looking to live and vacation in places with fewer people and easier access to outdoor space. Evie Carrick, Travel + Leisure, 18 Apr. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'vacation.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of vacation


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3


1883, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for vacation


Middle English vacacioun, borrowed from Anglo-French vacacion, borrowed from Latin vacātiōn-, vacātiō "exemption from service, respite from work," from vacāre "to be empty, be free, have leisure" + -tiōn-, -tiō, suffix of action nouns — more at vacant

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Time Traveler for vacation

Time Traveler

The first known use of vacation was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near vacation



Vacation Bible School

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Statistics for vacation

Last Updated

2 Aug 2021

Cite this Entry

“Vacation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Aug. 2021.

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More Definitions for vacation



English Language Learners Definition of vacation

 (Entry 1 of 2)

US : a period of time that a person spends away from home, school, or business usually in order to relax or travel
chiefly US : the number of days or hours per year for which an employer agrees to pay workers while they are not working
US : a time when schools, colleges, and universities are closed



English Language Learners Definition of vacation (Entry 2 of 2)

US : to go somewhere during a vacation


va·​ca·​tion | \ vā-ˈkā-shən How to pronounce vacation (audio) \

Kids Definition of vacation

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a period during which activity (as of a school) is stopped for a time
2 : a period spent away from home or business in travel or amusement


vacationed; vacationing

Kids Definition of vacation (Entry 2 of 2)

: to take or spend a period away from home or business in travel or amusement

Other Words from vacation

vacationer noun



Legal Definition of vacation

1 : a period in which activity or work is suspended specifically : an interval between judicial terms
2 : an act or instance of vacating vacation of a judgment

More from Merriam-Webster on vacation

Nglish: Translation of vacation for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of vacation for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about vacation


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