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Jul 4, 2022
This week’s theme
Blend words

This week’s words
staycation
orature
pennant
flexitarian
bromance

staycation
Image: Keepmeme

Previous week’s theme
Words originating in the hand
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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

When two words love each other very much, they get together in the privacy of the pages of a dictionary and, well, make a new word.

That’s how the mom and dad “stay” (b. 1440) and “vacation” (b. 1386) made the baby staycation. You may have met staycation recently, but it’s not a baby anymore -- it was born in 1944, so it’s older than most of you reading this.

And scratch that fairy tale about love. They don’t need love to make babies. After making staycation, “vacation” couldn’t sit still. It cozied up with other words, making daycation (a day trip) and nearcation (a vacation close to home). “Stay” on its part isn’t that holy either. It has given birth to holistay (holiday + stay).

And these are the words we know about. Who knows what other new words are out there!

Sometimes you wish the Merriam-Websters of the world would put a sturdy cardboard instead of that flimsy paper between the words to put a stop to all this baby word making. We love all words, but are not sure if the world needs another variation on vacation.

This week we’ll see some other words formed by this process known as blending. If you have ever spent a night in a motel, for vacation or uhm, for any other reason, you have already enjoyed the fruits of blending (motor + hotel).

staycation

PRONUNCIATION:
(stay-KAY-shuhn)

MEANING:
noun: A vacation spent at home or close to home.
verb intr.: To vacation at or close to home.

ETYMOLOGY:
A blend of stay + vacation, from Latin vacare (to be empty). Earliest documented use: 1944. Also see, busman’s holiday.

NOTES:
It’s all relative. In the US, a vacation taken at or close to home -- a day trip -- is a staycation. In the UK, the definition includes any vacation taken within one’s country instead of traveling abroad. Another example of how geography shapes language.
In general, a staycation is one where one stays in one’s own home, instead of a hotel. If you own houses around the world, well, it’s all staycation for you. Sorry.
What are your favorite ways to staycation? below or write to us at words@wordsmith.org.

USAGE:
“If anyone actually asked about her vacation, she would make up some grand lie about a boring staycation that involved bingewatching Downton Abbey and eating ice cream straight from the carton.”
Kimberly Van Meter; The Flyboy’s Temptation; Harlequin; 2016.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
What other dungeon is so dark as one's own heart! What jailer is as inexorable as one's self! -Nathaniel Hawthorne, writer (4 Jul 1804-1864)

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