This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Sunday Rest: staycation.

In Britain you only ever have a vacation if you're a student at one of the poshest universities. 

Everyone else has holidays.

Sometimes a newspaper will pretend that the fashionable thing to do is to have, not a holiday, but a staycation. But it isn't true.

staycation involves living at home, but going out a lot to enjoy yourself.

I'm trying to work out why I loathe and abhor this word so very much. It's not because it's new. It's not because it's obscure. It's not because it's ugly.

Is it because it cuts the head off the word vacation (from the Latin vacātiō, which means freedom)? That would be a silly reason to hate it so much - but I mus admit it is one of the reasons for my dislike.

But I mostly loathe this word because it doesn't make sense. A vacation - or a holiday - is a break from work. If you say I'm on holiday/vacation next week, people will ask are you going away? The word holiday/vacation has nothing to say about where the holiday/vacation takes place.

And apart from's the freedom thing. A holiday is about freedom. And attaching the word stay to it is like putting leg irons on a butterfly.

Yes. That's why I really hate it.

A photograph of a butterfly on someone's fingertip.

Word Not To Use Today: staycation. Merriam-Webster says this word was coined in 2005, but it came to prominence after the 2008 financial crash when being hard-up (a novelty to the chattering classes) became rather fashionable. Staycation is an unholy mix of stay and vacation.


  1. Oh gosh, that is an ugly word.
    I've not seen it before, and I hope I never do again.

    1. Yes, sorry, Jingles. I don't like to inflict these horrors on people, but I'm working on the name and shame principle.
      Do Canadians have holidays or vacations?

  2. I've heard both used - but on the whole, I'd say holidays is used the most.
    If I ever hear anybody use that S word, they'll get a scathing look from me!

    1. What a joy - a new swear word!
      I shall save it up for moments of insupportable stress - and be careful never to use it West of the Atlantic.

  3. I hate this word too, Sally (almost as much as I hate 'glamping' - the word and the craze). One of the reasons I hate it is, in British English, it doesn't make sense because we don't even say 'vacation', and as you rightly say, having a holiday (or a vacation) doesn't mean you're going or staying anywhere. And if you do go away, you still stay somewhere, right? So does this require even further specificity - an awaystaycation?

    This is getting silly. No, it's not getting silly - it always was silly.

    I hate the word 'staycation'.

    1. I hadn't thought about the fact that you stay when you're away, Ed, but that does makes the stupid word even worse, which I wouldn't have thought possible.
      As for glamping, apart from the ghastliness of the word, have you seen the prices????