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 Build in proper lunch breaks, take a sick day, use a few days of vacation or ask for a longer leave. Caroline Ceniza-levine, Forbes, "What Is The Best Career Path For Balancing Work And Family?," 8 May 2021 Just spending some quality time with my family without the worries of work and school sounds like a vacation to me. Ann Norman, cleveland, "Will you travel for summer vacation this year?," 7 May 2021 As the world emerges from the height of COVID-19, Instagram has been a non-stop scroll show of vacation flicks and trendy outings. Nandi Howard, Essence, "The Best Dressed Black Creatives On Instagram This Week," 7 May 2021 Through 25 years of friendship, the two went to Brown Mackie college together, worked together and even went on their first vacation together in early April. Briana Rice, The Enquirer, "'She was taken from us': Daughter, friends talk about Deborah Evans, College Hill shooting victim," 6 May 2021 Natale-Hjorth, then 18, was spending the summer vacation, as was his habit, visiting his Italian grandparents and uncle, who live near Rome. Time, "A Jury in Rome Has Convicted Two Young Americans of Slaying a Police Officer," 6 May 2021 The Baker administration said the decrease was primarily due to schools resuming classes after spring vacation week, which the week before had caused a slight uptick driven by the transportation and warehouse sector, which includes bus drivers., "Unemployment claims fell sharply last week," 6 May 2021 Natale-Hjorth, then 18, was spending the summer vacation, as was his habit, visiting his Italian grandparents and uncle, who live near Rome. Frances D'emilio, USA TODAY, "Rome jury convicts 2 American men to life in prison in slaying of police officer," 6 May 2021 In May, the A-list actor joined the team at Omaze, a charitable giving-meets-fundraising website, to offer up a vacation unlike any other in his favorite place: Lake Como, Italy. Stacey Leasca, Travel + Leisure, "George Clooney Wants You to Come Visit Him on Lake Como," 6 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Odom and his then-girlfriend Lucia chose to vacation in Utah to spend some time together. Alex Vejar, The Salt Lake Tribune, "For new Utah State basketball coach Ryan Odom, making, and advancing in the NCAA Tournament is the new standard," 7 Apr. 2021 The community that collects the most pop tabs will get to choose a family that has a child with special needs to vacation at Disney World, a trip donated by Walt Konow, owner of Konow’s Corn Maze and Zachary’s Red Barn and Farm Events of Homer Glen. Michelle Mullins,, "Homer Glen, New Lenox go to war collecting pop tabs for Ronald McDonald House," 28 Mar. 2021 That could include partner benefits at hotels and resorts or regular shuttle flights from bigger cities to vacation destinations like Nantucket or the Hamptons. Cnt Editors, Condé Nast Traveler, "Why Flying Private Is Here to Stay," 17 Mar. 2021 State and national parks in the U.S. had one heck of a 2020, as many of us chose to vacation in wide-open spaces. Scott Bay, Travel + Leisure, "With National Parks Seeing Record Visitors, Now's the Time to Start Planning Your Summer Adventure," 12 Mar. 2021 Southwest Airlines isn't letting up on its plans to woo travelers eager to vacation again after the coronavirus pandemic. Dawn Gilbertson, USA TODAY, "Southwest Airlines adds three more cities: Myrtle Beach, Eugene, Bellingham," 8 Mar. 2021 High bar in Britain: Brits may not be able to vacation abroad until all U.K. adults have been vaccinated, the transportation secretary, Grant Shapps, said Wednesday. Chronicle Staff, San Francisco Chronicle, "Coronavirus updates from the Bay Area and beyond: Feb. 4-10, 2021," 18 Feb. 2021 Minott knows white colleagues who vacation with their clients, leveraging those personal relationships to broaden their professional networks., "Boston. Racism. Image. Reality.," 10 Dec. 2017 She’s a travel nurse who also wanted to vacation a bit in the Sunshine State. Michael Williams,, "SFO remains quiet despite national holiday surge in airline travel," 29 Dec. 2020

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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Statistics for vacation

Last Updated

10 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Vacation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 May. 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

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