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From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Vacation \Va*ca"tion\, n. [F., fr. L. vacatio a being free from a duty, service, etc., fr. vacare. See Vacate.] [1913 Webster] 1. The act of vacating; a making void or of no force; as, the vacation of an office or a charter. [1913 Webster] 2. Intermission of a stated employment, procedure, or office; a period of intermission; rest; leisure. [1913 Webster] It was not in his nature, however, at least till years had chastened it, to take any vacation from controversy. --Palfrey. [1913 Webster] Hence, specifically: [1913 Webster] (a) (Law) Intermission of judicial proceedings; the space of time between the end of one term and the beginning of the next; nonterm; recess. "With lawyers in the vacation." --Shak. [1913 Webster] (b) A period of intermission of regular paid work or employment, or of studies and exercises at an educational institution; the time during which a person temporarily ceases regular duties of any kind and performs other activites, usually some form of liesure; holidays; recess (at a school); as, the spring vacation; to spend one's vacation travelling; to paint the house while on vacation. Vacation is typically used for rest, travel, or recreation, but may be used for any purpose. In Britain this sense of vacation is usually referred to as holiday. [1913 Webster +PJC] (c) The time when an office is vacant; esp. (Eccl.), the time when a see, or other spiritual dignity, is vacant. [1913 Webster]