Vaccination vs. Vacation

I was adding a little note to a Christmas card letter the other day, scrunching my words on the back of the Shutterfly card, trying to say all I wanted to, mainly when can we see you again? Like, when there’s a vaccine, then a vacation?

And the word ‘vacation’ found itself exactly under the word ‘vaccine.’ Huh. I hadn’t thought until that moment how similar the words looked and how having (or not having) one was going to affect the other. 

So to my handy, quick computer dictionary I went. They have totally different roots. Vaccine is from the Latin vacca for cow, derived from cowpox being the gateway into a smallpox vaccine. Vacation has a rather longer path, traveling through Old English and Old French to come from the Latin vactio meaning to be occupied. Another dictionary gave its derivation from vacatio, freedom from duty. I think I like that one best. 

Another way to look at it is that the word ‘vacation’ is  hidden inside ‘vaccination.’ You can play the cross out the letters game and only ‘cin’ is left. 

I’ll leave it at that. Vaccinate first, then when a suitable amount of time has passed, we can all vacation once again.

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