It’s summertime in the northern hemisphere, our kids are out of school, so many of us are thinking about one of our favorite things…VACATION! But have you stopped to wonder about the history of the word? I actually first took a look at it back in 2012, but it was definitely time for a revisit!

I was pretty surprised to learn that this word is 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 1300s 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–has been around since the 1400s. That definitely surprised me! Then on the other hand, the idea of going away somewhere to pass this free time (a distinction I would have thought subtle) is from the late 1800s. So while taking a break is as old as time, traveling somewhere to do that is a luxury that the average person just couldn’t even dream about until trains and then cars brought it within reach. So this “modern” idea of a staycation is actually just a revisit of what it used to mean. 😉


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