8 Wintry Words to Defrost Your Vocabulary


[hol-i-dey] /ˈhɒl ɪˌdeɪ/
a day fixed by law or custom on which ordinary business is suspended in commemoration of some event or in honor of some person.
any day of exemption from work (distinguished from working day).
a time or period of exemption from any requirement, duty, assessment, etc.:
New businesses may be granted a one-year tax holiday.
a religious feast day; holy day, especially any of several usually commemorative holy days observed in Judaism.
Sometimes, holidays. Chiefly British. a period of cessation from work or one of recreation; vacation.
an unintentional gap left on a plated, coated, or painted surface.
of or relating to a festival; festive; joyous:
a holiday mood.
suitable for a holiday:
holiday attire.
verb (used without object)
Chiefly British. to vacation:
to holiday at the seaside.
before 950; Middle English; Old English hāligdæg. See holy, day
Related forms
preholiday, adjective
2. vacation, break. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for holidays
  • At one time a district of public gardens much frequented on holidays.
  • As the holidays approach, so do tasty treats laden with calories, many of them provided by fat.
  • Combine these two setbacks with the holidays and two blizzards, and the result has been slow progress.
  • They took over the churches, holidays and such and replaced them with ideas and events that replaced those traditions.
  • It is owned by the regional government, and normally houses groups of schoolchildren on subsidized holidays.
  • And literally thousands waiting in the station for outgoing trains during the holidays.
  • Furry green plastic branches frame the portholes, decorations for the holidays.
  • Pew has a report out this morning examining the sales performance of tablets and e-readers over the holidays.
  • After the concert the students dispersed for the holidays.
  • Slowly, things began to change at our family holidays.
British Dictionary definitions for holidays


/ˈhɒlɪˌdeɪ; -dɪ/
(often pl) (mainly Brit)
  1. a period in which a break is taken from work or studies for rest, travel, or recreation US and Canadian word vacation
  2. (as modifier): a holiday mood
a day on which work is suspended by law or custom, such as a religious festival, bank holiday, etc related adjective ferial
(intransitive) (mainly Brit) to spend a holiday
Word Origin
Old English hāligdæg, literally: holy day


Billie. real name Eleanora Fagan; known as Lady Day. 1915–59, US jazz singer
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for holidays



1500s, earlier haliday (c.1200), from Old English haligdæg "holy day; Sabbath," from halig "holy" (see holy) + dæg "day" (see day); in 14c. meaning both "religious festival" and "day of recreation," but pronunciation and sense diverged 16c. As a verb meaning "to pass the holidays" by 1869.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for holidays


  1. A small area missed while painting
  2. A forgotten or neglected task (1935+ Navy)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with holidays


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Encyclopedia Article for holidays


(from "holy day"), originally, a day of dedication to religious observance; in modern times, a day of either religious or secular commemoration. Many holidays of the major world religions tend to occur at the approximate dates of more ancient, pagan festivals. In the case of Christianity, this is sometimes owing to the policy of the early church of scheduling Christian observances at dates when they would eclipse pagan ones-a practice that proved more efficacious than merely prohibiting the earlier celebrations. In other cases, the similarity of the date is due to the tendency to celebrate turning points of the seasons, or to a combination of the two factors

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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