AskDefine | Define sabbatical

Dictionary Definition

sabbatical adj
1 of or relating to the Sabbath; "Friday is a sabbatical day for Muslims" [syn: sabbatic]
2 of or relating to sabbatical leave; "sabbatical research project" n : a leave usually taken every seventh year [syn: sabbatical leave]

User Contributed Dictionary



Greek σαββατικός.


  1. Relating to the Sabbath.
  2. Relating to a sabbatical (see noun).



  1. An extended period of leave, often one year long, taken by an employee in order to carry out projects not otherwise associated with the employee's job. During the sabbatical, the employer may pay some or all of the wages that would have been otherwise earned or some or all of the expenses incurred. University lecturers, for example, may be granted a one-year paid sabbatical once every seven years.


Extensive Definition

A sabbatical (from the Late Latin sabbaticus, from the Greek sabbatikos, from Hebrew shabbathon, i.e., Sabbath. ) is a rest from work, a hiatus. The concept of a sabbatical has a source in several places the Bible (Leviticus 25, for example), where there is a commandment to desist from working the fields in the seventh year. In the strict sense therefore, a sabbatical lasts a year. However, in recent times, a sabbatical has come to mean any extended absence in the career of an individual. In the modern sense, one takes a sabbatical typically to merely take a break from work or to fulfill some goal, e.g., writing a book or traveling extensively for research. Some universities and other institutional employers of scientists, physicians, and/or academics offer a paid sabbatical as an employee benefit, called sabbatical leave. Some companies offer an unpaid sabbatical for people wanting to take career breaks - this is a growing trend in the UK, with 20% of companies having a career break policy, and 10% considering introducing one.
Sabbaticals are often taken by professors, pastors, cartoonists (e.g. Gary Larson and Bill Watterson), musicians (e.g. Cindy Wilson, Bobby McFerrin) and sportsmen (e.g. Alain Prost) and fund managers (e.g. Geoffrey Brianton). Academic sabbaticals typically follow every six years of full-time employment. The most common arrangement is for a half year at full pay, or a full year at half pay.
In UK and Irish students' unions, particularly in higher education institutions, students can be elected to become sabbatical officers of their students' union, either taking a year out of their study (in the academic year following their election) or remaining at the institution for a year following completion of study. Sabbatical officers are usually provided with a living allowance or stipend.

Sabbatical experience

  1. pre-application reflection and planning
  2. the application process
  3. pre-sabbatical preparation
  4. the leave period itself
  5. reentry and follow-through


  • Eells, Walter C. "The Origin and Early History of Sabbatical Leave." Bulletin, American Association of University Professors, XLVIII (1962), 253-256.

External links

sabbatical in German: Sabbatical
sabbatical in Spanish: Año sabático
sabbatical in French: Année sabbatique (repos)
sabbatical in Italian: Anno sabbatico
sabbatical in Dutch: Sabbatical

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

comfortable, festal, furlough, holiday, leave, leave of absence, liberty, paid holiday, paid vacation, quiet, restful, sabbatical leave, sabbatical year, shore leave, time off, vacation, vacational, weekend
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