Monday, January 9, 2012

Word of the Week . . .Vacation

My husband has been asking for months and months, "When's my vacation?" Working for himself as he does, he can rarely take a day off. This weekend we traveled a few hours to visit friends for a birthday celebration, and we looked at it as a mini vacation.

Which of course made me wonder about the word. =) I was pretty surprised to learn that it's as old as it is! It strikes me as a modern idea, I suppose . . . or maybe I just tend to think of the British word "holiday" as being older. 

But in actuality, "vacation" dates from the 14th century with the meaning of "freedom from obligations, leisure, release." Which I guess goes to show that as long as people have been toiling, they've been in need of a break. Even the formalized version--i.e. a break from school--is from the 15th century. But the idea of going away somewhere to pass this free time (a distinction I would have thought subtle) is from the late 1800s. Who knew?

Hope everyone has a lovely Monday!


  1. Definitely older than I would have thought.

    Hope your hubby gets a vacation soon ;)

  2. I'm also surprised it's that old. Fun post!
    Have a great day:)

  3. Hope you enjoyed your mini vacation!

  4. Interesting.

    Is the last observation really a change in meaning? I'd rather say that the railroad network available by the late 1800s made it possible for the first time to go away somewhere to pass the free time. So new technology allowed for new activities while on vacation.

    Which makes me long for a vacation now...