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 celebrity chef, 55, rang in the new year while on a tropical vacation with his family in the Maldives. Vanessa Etienne,, 6 Jan. 2022 The teen, who tested positive for both influenza and COVID, had just returned from a family vacation in Mexico. Los Angeles Times, 5 Jan. 2022 Years ago, while on vacation in the Northwest, my husband and I rented a room in the home of a middle-aged couple, one of whom had recently retired. Anna Wiener, The New Yorker, 4 Jan. 2022 Bolsonaro had been on vacation in southern Brazil, and has no public appearances scheduled on Monday. NBC News, 3 Jan. 2022 Even though a tequila cocktail while on vacation in Mexico sounds like the epitome of relaxation, the scenario became a business venture for Maroon 5 singer Adam Levine and Victoria's Secret beauty Behati Prinsloo. Meredith Lepore, Travel + Leisure, 30 Dec. 2021 The photos, shown to the jury by prosecutors over the objections from Maxwell’s defense, show the two together on vacation in what appears to be Italy and other destinations, attending a black-tie event and enjoying country weekends. Patricia Hurtado, Fortune, 27 Dec. 2021 Acharya got the idea for a series based around a policewoman when on vacation in the Himalayan foothill state of Himachal Pradesh. Naman Ramachandran, Variety, 24 Dec. 2021 On vacation in Greece, the middle-aged Cambridge resident rolls her eyes at rowdy plebes — the deplorables — who invade her safe space. Armond White, National Review, 17 Dec. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb His most recent attempt was last week following news that California Gov. Gavin Newsom would vacation in Mexico for Thanksgiving while the state is in a COVID-19 state of emergency. Timothy Fanning, San Antonio Express-News, 30 Nov. 2021 Airlines are prepping for a big increase in travelers eager to vacation in the United States or reunite with loved ones. Bailey Schulz, USA TODAY, 6 Nov. 2021 In June, the fashion designer Scott Sternberg made plans to vacation in Hawaii in October. Carrie Battan, The New Yorker, 6 Nov. 2021 Cindy Borgeson: Our family would vacation in the Redwoods and we'd be camped by a creek ... CBS News, 16 Oct. 2021 From a consumer point of view, the renter can stay or vacation in a residence with a full-sized kitchen, dining table and comfortable living spaces but have all the services and amenities that come with a luxury hotel. Daniel Kodsi, Forbes, 4 Oct. 2021 This summer travel bookings surged to record levels at Hopper as people anxiously, yet carefully, make plans to vacation again, making the unicorn's add-ons increasingly appealing. Jessica Mathews, Fortune, 14 Sep. 2021 Germans are already able to vacation in Majorca and the Canary islands after the lifting of a general travel ban, and TUI Cruises has resumed operations. William Wilkes,, 12 May 2021 Thankfully, with Branson's latest purchase — Moskito Island — the general public will soon have a chance to vacation on one of the billionaire's islands. Danielle Harling, House Beautiful, 26 Sep. 2021

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.

See More

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 team at The Usage 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

10 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Vacation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jan. 2022.

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

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 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

Name that Thing: Flower Edition

Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

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!