What is the difference, if any, between these two words?
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Yes, while they can mean the same thing, vacation is, also, a time when one decides to have a holiday, while holiday is the time when one does not decide, but when it is decided on some higher level (national, religious, organizational, etc).
Etymology might be enough to see all the peculiarities:
EDIT: According to etymology and dictionaries: Chiefly British holidays is a period of cessation from work or one of recreation; vacation.
In the UK "going on holiday" means taking time off, what Americans call "going on vacation". An actual national/religious holiday is not required.
When Americans say "holiday" we mean a specific designated holiday, which we might or might not actually commemorate. For example, most of us don't do anything special for Labor Day, but it's a holiday and a day off from work/school nonetheless. Americans don't say "going on holiday" for that, though; we might "go away for the holiday" or "take time off for the holiday". We might even "go on vacation during the holidays", but "on holiday" isn't how we express it.
Briefly, a "vacation" is one that you plan. A "holiday" is one that is planned by government, tradition etc. e.g. School holiday, public holiday.
For example, you take a "vacation" when you are free, i.e. during a holiday (or when you are out of work)
You have a holiday when there is already one.
Some commenter was correct. To an American Holliday means a dictated time or day,days off that the Government has seen fit to give. IE: XMAS, New Year, Obama Day hope not, on and on government dictated holliday from work.
Vacation. Your wish to get away from it all perhaps; to include the use of mandated Hollidays.
The difference between those words is in their use. Vacation is used in American English. It is not used in the English of the English and other British people. The word holiday is the normal word for British people.
Which word you use will depend on if you are speaking American English, or not.
They both mean the same thing.
protected by tchrist Aug 13 '14 at 14:33
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