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hol·​i·​day ˈhä-lə-ˌdā How to pronounce holiday (audio)
 British usually  ˈhä-lə-dē
: holy day
an important Muslim holiday
: a day on which one is exempt from work
specifically : a day marked by a general suspension of work in commemoration of an event
will be closed for the July 4th holiday
a national holiday
plans for the holiday weekend
chiefly British : vacation
often used in the phrase on holiday
going on holiday
often used in plural
spent the summer holidays in Spain
: a period of exemption or relief
corporations enjoying a tax holiday


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holidayed; holidaying; holidays

intransitive verb

: to take or spend a vacation or holiday (see holiday entry 1 sense 2) especially in travel or at a resort : vacation
will holiday this year at the shore
holidayer noun

Examples of holiday in a Sentence

Noun July 4 is a national holiday in the U.S. The stock market is closed tomorrow because it's a holiday. She'll have four weeks' holiday next year. We're planning on taking a holiday in the Caribbean. Verb She likes holidaying in the Caribbean. saw kangaroos while holidaying in Australia
Recent Examples on the Web
China’s Qingming holiday, also known as Tomb Sweeping Day, is a traditional occasion for paying respects to one’s ancestors. Patrick Brzeski, The Hollywood Reporter, 7 Apr. 2024 The lawsuit, which was withdrawn after the agreement was made, stated that prison officials announced that inmates would not be allowed outside to view the eclipse and that the facility would be operating on a holiday schedule that day, NBC reported. Charlotte Phillipp, Peoplemag, 6 Apr. 2024 There are two holidays in May: Mother's Day and Memorial Day. Dina Kaur, The Arizona Republic, 6 Apr. 2024 Statewide prisons were to operate on a holiday schedule between 2 and 5 p.m. that day, which mandates that all inmates be confined to their their housing units except for emergency situations. Eric Lagatta, USA TODAY, 5 Apr. 2024 That emotional effect is exactly what’s being sought by mother Lily (Hurley) and surviving eldest daughter Jemma (Genevieve Gaunt) in their inviting Rebecca’s usual friends back for another holiday, the first since tragedy struck. Dennis Harvey, Variety, 4 Apr. 2024 The quake comes just ahead of a four-day public holiday known as Tomb Sweeping Day, when residents travel home to honor late relatives and tend to their graves. Júlia Ledur, Washington Post, 3 Apr. 2024 Others were driving on highways or had already set off on early hikes in Taiwan’s national parks ahead of a four-day holiday. John Yoon, New York Times, 3 Apr. 2024 Private chefs like Michael Dane help take the stress out of holiday entertaining. Cnt Editors, Condé Nast Traveler, 2 Apr. 2024
Here’s how to outsource your way to holiday happiness in 2024. Lucy Alexander, Robb Report, 17 Dec. 2023 Princess Diana talked excitedly about seeing her sons, Prince William, then 15, and Prince Harry, then 12, who were holidaying in Balmoral with their father, Prince Charles. Simon Perry, Peoplemag, 16 Nov. 2023 Weill, who had holidayed in the area since childhood, bought an old hotel on the site in 2016 and asked famed architect Philippe Starck to redesign it. Lucy Alexander, Robb Report, 1 Apr. 2023 By the time David and Wallis are holidaying on Lord Moyne’s yacht Rosaura, Ernest is fully sunk. Lauren Collins, The New Yorker, 25 Feb. 2023 Vittorio, 12, holidayed amid modernist glamour in Tuscany with three generations of his industrialist family. Sarah Thomas, Vogue, 20 Feb. 2023 The surge came, worse than imagined, with Americans determined to holiday their way through the new year like the pandemic didn’t exist. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, 26 Jan. 2021 For the world’s beleaguered airline industry, the measures give travelers yet another reason to think twice before taking to the skies and will probably end Britons’ plans of holidaying abroad this summer. James Ludden,, 12 May 2020 Morrison returned home early from holidaying in Hawaii ahead of Christmas following the death of two firefighters and amid criticism his government was doing too little to address climate change and a country-wide drought. NBC News, 29 Dec. 2019

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'holiday.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Noun and Verb

Middle English, from Old English hāligdæg, from hālig holy + dæg day

First Known Use


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1839, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of holiday was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near holiday

Cite this Entry

“Holiday.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


: a day of freedom from work
especially : a day of celebration or remembrance fixed by law
chiefly British : a period of relaxation : vacation
holiday verb
holidayer noun

Biographical Definition


biographical name

Hol·​i·​day ˈhä-lə-ˌdā How to pronounce Holiday (audio)
Eleanora 1915–1959 Billie American jazz singer

More from Merriam-Webster on holiday

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