Do You Holiday or Vacation?


Which word would you be more apt to use when referring to a summer trip?

A) I’m looking forward to our summer holiday.


B) I’m looking forward to our summer vacation.

I’ve never really thought about the correct definition of these two words. To me they both mean “fun, something to look forward to” so they have been interchangeable to me.

Recent curiosity had me doing some research.

Holiday– A day of festivity or recreation when no work is done. A day of national or religious celebration.

Vacation– An extended period of recreation, especially one spent away from home. The action of vacating a space. A holiday period between terms in universities and law courts.

Sentence “A” has probably been my unconscious choice in the past. I’m sure I’ve used the word “holiday” more than “vacation” to describe a get-away.

Will I now think twice before using these words? When writing I will, but my daily conversations rarely involve proper grammar. I’m not a “whom” type of conversationalist, it’s always “who”. Being shy growing up meant I was too nervous specking out loud to worry about wording and sentence structure, and years of that habit is still with me.

I’m actually amazed when I think about how many words I use that I’ve never looked up their definition.

Thank goodness, we can learn by association.

Imagine what childhood would be like, or what it would be like even as an adult, if every new word we came across had to be researched.

If you come across an unknown word do you look it up, or guess it’s meaning by how it is used in the sentence? I use the, association method, the most.

Have you ever encountered that cute little toddler who spoke like a adult, and you thought, what a smart little person?

Maybe this is simply a result of what they are exposed to at a very young age, rather than say “genetics”

Back to my sentence question. Which option would you normally use, A) Going on a “Holiday” or B) Going on a “Vacation?”

A little Tidbit – Just above the word “holiday” in my hardcover Oxford Dictionary is “hole in the heart.”  I didn’t really think that one needed an explanation.

P.S. – So, parents, family, caregivers, teachers, friends, whoever, remember the words you say to a child and how you use them is writing their mental dictionaries and will influence their vocabulary and even knowledge.

21 thoughts on “Do You Holiday or Vacation?

  1. Pingback: How Far is Far Enough? | kathy knull

  2. Vacation, trip, get-away, journey, holiday. What I love about the English language is that there are so many ways to express the same thing. Each day of a vacation usually feels like a private or family holiday to me. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I always used vacation when I was working and often thought holiday was a European or British term. Now that we are retired, I usually say we’re traveling or on an adventure or journey because it feels like everyday is a vacation day whether we’re home or not.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I vacation and my vacations usually revolve around a holiday. As for the power of words I am a believer! We always spoke to our sons as if they were adults. I can remember son#1 talking to his kindergarten teacher saying, “Actually, I prefer to read a different book, Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? is a baby book.” She had come to give him an evaluation prior to the start of school and wanted him to read a book with her….

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m trying this again (I wonder if my first comment wen to your spam file?). Anyway, I stopped using the word “vacation” after I retired (I even wrote a post about it). To me, vacations are a time-off from your normal work-a-day world for a specific number of days. We now “travel.” We are often gone for a longer period and usually don’t have any other reason to return home other than our preference. Yay retirement!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. My mother never used baby talk or simplified speech in our home. I also read a lot and started reading adult books (no that those adult books) early so I used a lot of words that weren’t typical. I always drew the meaning from the context of how it was used in the original. Reading at a young age is important for kids. It may not seem so because it’s so solitary but it strengthens communication skills. As for holiday or vacation, I’ll use either. Mostly likely vacation when I’m GOING away and holiday when there’s a lot of social events going on locally.

    Liked by 1 person

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