noun, often attributive
va·ca·tion | \vā-ˈkā-shən, 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\-sh(ə-)niŋ \

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, və- \ noun

Synonyms for vacation

Synonyms: Noun

break, leave, recess

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Examples of vacation in a Sentence


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.


hoping to vacation in Spain this summer
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

According to Grande, Braun is currently on vacation with his family., "Justin Bieber & Ariana Grande’s Engagements Start Conspiracy Theory: Their Manager Made Them," 8 July 2018 My favorite Carnival culture clash in Europe occurred on Carnival Vista two years ago, when several couples from Russia were aboard, on their first cruise and probably their first occasion to vacation with a large group of Americans. David G. Molyneaux, miamiherald, "Carnival, that most American of cruise lines, won't return to Europe any time soon," 5 July 2018 Stefanie and Brooke Schaffer were on vacation with their mother and stepfather. CBS News, "New details emerge about Americans killed and injured in Bahamas boat explosion," 3 July 2018 But for travelers, a car subscription offers an even bigger opportunity: a chance to take your car on vacation with you — virtually speaking. Christopher Elliott, USA TODAY, "Car subscriptions could be boon for travelers," 1 July 2018 While everyone is discussing rumors and wondering where LeBron James is going to play next season, James is chilling on vacation with his family. Alysha Tsuji, For The Win, "LeBron posts IG story cliff jumping with his son while everyone wonders if he'll opt out or not," 28 June 2018 Browse through the photos above for a look at James Harden having fun on vacation with his teammates. Matt Young, Houston Chronicle, "Rockets' James Harden living it up with teammates in offseason," 20 June 2018 In London on vacation with his wife and three children, he was struck down by a stomach bug. Sandee Lamotte, CNN, "The radio man without a voice," 15 June 2018 What better way is there to spend one of the long days of summer vacation with a free day-long activity? Amy Schwabe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "This year's Milwaukee-area library summer reading programs give out some cool prizes. Here are 15 of them.," 12 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

O'Gorman rescued the girls two days after a 4-year-old boy vacationing with his family in NC was pulled out to sea at Kitty Hawk, about three hours north of Emerald Isle. Mark Price, charlotteobserver, "Vacationing New York firefighter saves three girls from rip current off NC Outer Banks | Charlotte Observer," 27 Apr. 2018 The episode knits these scenes together with flashbacks to twenty years earlier when Valmoline was more of a bustling place, with vacationing hikers and young kids running around. Taylor Antrim, Vogue, "Pulp Meets Prestige in Netflix's Bingeable French Thriller The Chalet," 27 Apr. 2018 Joan loved gardening, golfing, hosting dinner parties, and vacationing with her family. Hartford Courant,, "Joan Patenaude," 10 July 2018 Murillo then carjacked a vehicle with a vacationing couple inside, police said. Rafael Carranza, azcentral, "Suspect in fatal Nogales police shooting facing 21 charges," 30 Apr. 2018 The restrictions varied in their details, but, for the most part, citizens of the countries were forbidden from emigrating to the United States, and many of them are barred from working, studying or vacationing here. Adam Liptak, New York Times, "Trump’s Travel Ban Is Upheld by Supreme Court," 26 June 2018 Many even got licences while studying or vacationing abroad and have swapped them for Saudi ones, proudly splashed in selfies across social media. Fortune, "Saudi Arabia Is About to Let Women Drive. Here's Why Some Will Keep Their Driving Licenses a Secret," 22 June 2018 Justin and Hailey spent the New Year's weekend vacationing around the Caribbean islands, and the pics indicate these long-time friends took their relationship to the next level! Victoria Rodriguez, Seventeen, "A Complete Timeline of Justin Bieber and Hailey Baldwin's Relationship," 14 June 2018 On Sunday, the Hixons recalled vacationing in New York the month before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Michael Mayo,, "Slain Parkland educators honored at World Trade Center memorial stair climb," 4 June 2018

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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Phrases Related to vacation

long vacation

vacation home

Statistics for vacation

Last Updated

9 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for vacation

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

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More Definitions for vacation



English Language Learners Definition of vacation

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a period of time that a person spends away from home, school, or business usually in order to relax or travel

: the number of days or hours per year for which an employer agrees to pay workers while they are not working

: a time when schools, colleges, and universities are closed



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

: to go somewhere during a vacation


va·ca·tion | \vā-ˈkā-shən \

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

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Comments on vacation

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