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

Other Words from vacation


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

Synonyms for vacation

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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 See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The vacation island south of Boston, whose year-round residents include many blue-collar workers, appeared to absorb the dozens of arrivals without a major hitch. Rodrique Ngowi, Chron, 17 Sep. 2022 While the ceremony took place at the historic courthouse, the couple then shared a private dinner and week-long vacation at a private residence in Montecito, per Brides. Alexandra Schonfeld, Peoplemag, 17 Sep. 2022 But none of those vacation homeowners apparently stepped up to offer shelter to the unexpected visitors. Fox News, 16 Sep. 2022 Christina Marie spent her last vacation day fretting over finishing her chores. Preetika Rana, WSJ, 16 Sep. 2022 Fun fact: For 14 years, Matt lived the real-life version of The Love Boat making vacation dreams come true as a cruise director. Keith Langston,, 16 Sep. 2022 This set of cards will encourage to try a bunch of new things while on vacation (like, trying a local craft beer). Elissa Sanci, Woman's Day, 16 Sep. 2022 For example, what's your favorite TV show or movie, dream vacation destination, or fashion role model? Mallory Abreu, Better Homes & Gardens, 15 Sep. 2022 The simplest solution is not to post personal information on social media, including your vacation schedule. Kim Komando, USA TODAY, 15 Sep. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Now the middle class could vacation in Turkey or Vietnam. New York Times, 26 Mar. 2022 Not only did UConn win its first national championship in Minneapolis with her, her husband Steve Rushin is from Bloomington, Minnesota and they vacation there every summer with their families in the summer. Dom Amore,, 31 Mar. 2022 Nothing beats the chance to vacation at a chalet-style cabin in the Adirondacks on 80 acres of private land. Isis Briones, House Beautiful, 28 July 2022 My parents used to vacation near Acadia National Park. Alli Harvey, Anchorage Daily News, 15 May 2022 Outside of Maryland and Paris, a decent chunk of Seydoux’s upbringing was spent in Senegal, where Schlumberger once lived and where Léa would often vacation. Mia Galuppo, The Hollywood Reporter, 10 May 2022 Corpus Christi is pretty much the gateway, gateway to the Gulf for many San Antonians who vacation along the coast. Chris Quinn, San Antonio Express-News, 12 Mar. 2022 Among those drawn to the app — recently renamed Providers, from Fresh EBT — is Kimberly Wilson, a single mother in Spindale, N.C., who has a 7-year-old son and cleans vacation rental homes. New York Times, 8 Dec. 2021 Vacasa lists, maintains and cleans vacation rental homes in 400 destinations from Nehalem to Nantucket. oregonlive, 7 Dec. 2021 See More

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.

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

Buying Guide

Our Reviews team has selected the best travel products of the year.

Learn More About vacation

Time Traveler for vacation

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near vacation



Vacation Bible School

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for vacation

Last Updated

19 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Vacation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Sep. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for 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


Test Your Vocabulary

Commonly Confused Words Quiz

  • vector image of a face with thought expression
  • I went to the ______ store to buy a birthday card.
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!