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 vacationing (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 vacationer (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 Few people are buying clothes or planning vacations. David Goldman, CNN, "Countries' massive debt piles are turning into a disaster," 17 May 2020 Now, the absence of tourists has left Barcelona and other vacation destinations across Spain facing an ominous economic threat. Raphael Minder, New York Times, "Wandering a Grand Hotel Emptied by Coronavirus, and Checking 1,400 Taps," 17 May 2020 Turkey has also canceled vacations for all health personnel as a precaution, Koca said., "Italy Cases Top 10,000; N.Y. Aims for Containment: Virus Update," 16 May 2020 Whole industries such as professional sports, corporate conventions, and vacation travel have been frozen in time with no full thaw in sight. Josh Linkner, Detroit Free Press, "Before you close your business down because of coronavirus, do this," 16 May 2020 All Adults Here takes place in the Hudson Valley, a corridor of vacation spots for New Yorkers escaping the city. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "A Beach Read With Teeth," 15 May 2020 By now, resort wear would be up and down our social media timelines along with vacation photos and bikini flicks, but due to Covid-19 most of everyone’s summer plans have been postponed. Nandi Howard, Essence, "The Best Dressed Black Creatives During Quarantine This Week," 15 May 2020 From the Azores to the Greek Islands, this is a dilemma facing all vacation hot spots. Bernhard Warner, Fortune, "Investors shake off brutal U.S. jobs data to nudge markets higher," 15 May 2020 Already, there are indications that Americans’ wanderlust is inspiring them to plan future vacations. Anna Giaritelli, Washington Examiner, "AAA predicts travel to pick up in summer after disastrous Memorial Day weekend," 14 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Ingrid De La Mare Kenny was vacationing in the French Alps in early March when cities across Italy started to shut down, alarmed by the climbing death toll from the new coronavirus. Arielle Pardes, Wired, "As Health Anxieties Soar, Wellness Influencers Step In," 3 Apr. 2020 Jay and Amanda Matthes were vacationing in London and Paris, and had planned on heading to Rome., "Couple in quarantine: 'It's good to keep a sense of humor'," 25 Mar. 2020 Salka was vacationing with her family in Zakopane, a Polish mountain resort, when the Archduke Franz Ferdinand was shot. Ruth Franklin, Harper's magazine, "Salka the Salonnière," 6 Jan. 2020 Trump was vacationing on his estate in Palm Beach, Florida, but sent out a tweet of an American flag. Time, "Iran Vows 'Harsh Retaliation' After U.S. Killing of Top General Qasem Soleimani," 3 Jan. 2020 Trump was vacationing on his estate in Palm Beach, Florida, but sent out a tweet of an American flag. Author: Qassim Abdul-zahra, Zeina Karam, Anchorage Daily News, "U.S. kills Iran’s most powerful general in Baghdad strike," 3 Jan. 2020 Trump was vacationing on his estate in Palm Beach, Fla., but sent out a tweet of an American flag. Qassim Abdul-zahra And Zeina Karam,, "Gen. Qassem Soleimani, top Iranian general, dies in US air strike," 2 Jan. 2020 In 2018, Burioni and his family were vacationing at the beach town of Rimini when a vaccine opponent caught sight of him and posted on the web. Douglas Starr, Science | AAAS, "This Italian scientist has become a celebrity by fighting vaccine skeptics," 2 Jan. 2020 Both Duchess Meghan and Prince Harry are currently vacationing in the United States while on a sabbatical from their royal duties. Bianca Betancourt, Harper's BAZAAR, "Why Meghan and Harry Aren't at the Queen's Diplomatic Reception," 11 Dec. 2019

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

21 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Vacation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for vacation


How to pronounce vacation (audio)

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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Comments on vacation

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