Definition of sabbatical in US English:



  • A period of paid leave granted to a university teacher or other worker for study or travel, traditionally one year for every seven years worked.

    ‘she's away on sabbatical’
    ‘he requested permission to take a sabbatical in Istanbul’
    ‘he took a three-month sabbatical from his job as CEO of a family business’
    • ‘He thanks P. Hoffman for inviting him to spend his sabbatical at Harvard University, where this paper was completed.’
    • ‘I spent 2 years as a professor at Acadia University replacing those on sabbatical.’
    • ‘While on sabbatical in 1997, the scientist collected preserved leaves from university and museum collections in Europe and the Americas.’
    • ‘Prof Malcolm Ludvigsen, a visiting lecturer at York University, took a sabbatical from Linkoping University in Sweden with the intention of finishing his second book.’
    • ‘And Robredo chose to take a two-year sabbatical to study at Harvard University.’
    • ‘Hearing visiting scholars lecture on general relativity at the university, Weber decided to use his 1955 sabbatical to study the subject in more depth.’
    • ‘I know the only person in my department I have any interest in working with; she will be on sabbatical for the fall semester.’
    • ‘Early in 1984, David took a short sabbatical to the University of Siena where he worked with other scientists interested in the application of biomarkers to wildlife toxicology.’
    • ‘Larrinaga plans to take a year's sabbatical to travel and study.’
    • ‘If they choose to go on sabbatical for a full semester, they will receive full pay.’
    • ‘A stint as a teaching assistant for an accounting class led him to substitute for the same professor the next year when that professor went on sabbatical.’
    • ‘The paper was written whilst on sabbatical at Pennsylvania State University, where much logistical support and scientific stimulus was given by D. W. Burbank and colleagues.’
    • ‘In 1990 Bellcore created the idea of a Fellow who would spend a sabbatical at a university.’
    • ‘Metcalf, 47, is on sabbatical from Lawrence University, in Wisconsin.’
    • ‘For starters, he not only negotiated full professorship and the Jackman Chair in Philosophy, plus a paid sabbatical.’
    • ‘She has been recalled from her sabbatical at the University of California to serve as the senior civilian on a Pentagon taskforce.’
    • ‘This includes scientists and researchers working on government grants or on sabbatical.’
    • ‘Many of the most resource-intensive types of activities, such as conference travel and sabbaticals, were available only to full-time instructors.’
    • ‘The project started because I was on sabbatical from the University of California at Davis.’
    • ‘C. W. Woodworth spent his sabbatical from the University of California, Berkeley, at the University of Nanking in 1918.’
    break, rest, period of leave, day off, week off, month off, recess, school holiday, half-term
    View synonyms


  • 1Relating to a sabbatical.

    • ‘Only two of the paid sabbatical positions were contested, adding to concerns raised during the hustings that OUSU was failing to display its relevancy to the student body.’
    • ‘He added: ‘We can run more sabbatical courses for priests and that would allow us to maintain the facility.’’
    • ‘A Mellon sabbatical grant allowed me to develop and add to the course a laboratory section focused on survey research and participant observation.’
    • ‘However, the dean has been on sabbatical leave since resigning and will officially depart at the end of the year.’
    • ‘Anbar decided to take some R&R through his company's sabbatical program, which allows consultants to take one or two months off per year - in addition to vacation time.’
    • ‘Julie Jones, a 26-year-old consultant at Accenture's Chicago office, was among one of the first to sign up for the company's sabbatical program.’
    • ‘She was studying in an English school where all the teachers are Americans who are on a sabbatical leave from a different elementary school.’
    • ‘But, I also needed a sabbatical experience that would be beneficial for both SFU and myself.’
    • ‘For instance, during a sabbatical stay in Scotland, a Scotsman kidded me good-naturedly about Americans worshiping cars.’
    • ‘Stephen Stokes is currently on sabbatical leave.’
    • ‘As scholar in residence, he will implement the sabbatical program.’
    • ‘During a sabbatical term at the Institut des Hautes Études Scientifique in Paris in 1985 she studied Gromov's work on elliptic methods which became the basis for much of her later work.’
    • ‘Faculty often bounce ideas off each other about potential sabbatical plans, and I certainly was no different in planning mine.’
    • ‘Many pastors find a new creative outlet during their sabbatical time through painting, pottery, music, or some other previously undiscovered or underdeveloped talent.’
    • ‘Dean Methuen, 57, who was appointed to Ripon in October 1995, will go on sabbatical leave until he officially leaves Ripon Cathedral at the end of the year.’
    • ‘I have a male friend who spent a post-tenure sabbatical leave writing his second book as well as caring for his newborn, while his wife returned to her law practice.’
    • ‘For the next academic year, the author was on sabbatical leave and hence no data are available for the 1994-1995 year.’
    • ‘Continuing research initiated during the sabbatical leave of Professor Hildebrand, a series of research projects are exploring the issue of bus safety in Australia.’
    • ‘Most of this book was written in a sabbatical semester in the autumn of 2001, and I would like to thank my Head of Department, Professor Noel Thompson, for granting me this leave.’
    • ‘His studies in a small town in Kansas during two sabbatical leaves at Wichita State University confirmed the structural differences he expected from the literature.’
  • 2archaic Of or appropriate to the sabbath.

    • ‘What makes the eschatological future available is God's sabbatical celebration, which has been taking place since the foundation of the world.’
    • ‘But I have noticed what at least appears to be a disconnect in dietary and Sabbatical laws from the past til now.’


Late 16th century: via late Latin from Greek sabbatikos ‘of the sabbath’ + -al.