Welcome to Amazing Words Wednesday, the day we enter the labyrinth of language and see what we can discover.
As usual, I rushed into summer with big plans of how much I could accomplish, and halfway through I’m looking around at the piles and thinking, “When will I ever get to all of it?” Since summer blog traffic tends to be less, and since my plate is full, I will be taking a break from blogging. But I can’t just leave y’all hanging.
So here are some words to describe what I’m doing.
Blogcation. Oddly enough, this neologism has not yet been defined in the Urban Dictionary (where I expected to find it). But it’s used by plenty of bloggers to describe a temporary absence from blogging while they focus on other tasks or personal recreation. I’m not crazy about the word, though, simply because it’s somewhat difficult to enunciate.
Furlough. This term is most often connected to military or government workers who are given leave for a time. It comes from the Dutch word verlof which literally means “for permission.” The second part of the word (-lough or -lof) is related to the word translated as “leave.” So a furlough is simply an allowed absence. (Y’all will allow me to take a break, right?)
Holiday. Originally, this was a “holy day,” meaning a day given special meaning for its religious implications. The word dates from the Middle Ages. And now it’s known as the title of Madonna’s cutesy party song. There will not be anything particularly holy about my not blogging, but since one of the reasons for taking a summer break is church volunteer work, maybe I could stretch that connection.
Leave of absence. This is the combination of the Old English leafe (permission) and the Latin word absentia (to be away from). So a leave of absence is permission to be away. I won’t be entirely away, but I won’t be here quite so much. Think of it like a Gone Fishin’ sign hanging on my blog.
Recess. As a child, this word had the awesome connotation of getting to play outside. As a adult, it’s what I hear Congress takes when it decides to stop screwing stuff up and go home for a while. This word is first found in English usage around the mid-1500s. It comes from the Latin word recedere, which means to go back. The noun form is recessus. Why it began to be applied to playtime at school, I have no idea.
Sabbatical. The Greek word sabbatikos means “of the Sabbath.” The Sabbath is the seventh day in Mosaic law on which Israaelites were commanded to rest and worship God. Religious Jews still practice a Sabbath, and Christians sometimes refer to their Lord’s Day (Sunday) as a Sabbath time as well. The meaning of a professor taking time off was first recorded at Harvard in the 1880s. I will not be taking a full year like professors do, but the principle remains the same.
Vacation. From the Latin word vacare, which means “to be empty, free, or at leisure” to “to be unoccupied.” Hmmm. I don’t know about being empty, but free, at leisure, and unoccupied sound pretty good. However, I probably won’t be any of those. I’ll just be juggling other balls.
When will I return? Actually, I’ll still be posting quick ROW80 updates about my writing goals progress, but those won’t be long posts. Otherwise, I’ll be back in about a month–around mid-August.
What are you doing this summer? Have you taken a break from blogging or other normal activities? What do you call it when you step away from your usual duties?