There’s A Word for That: Oblication

atkins-bookshelf-wordsAn oblication is a bittersweet vacation that requires fulfilling an obligation (e.g. attending a wedding, or a 50th birthday) rather enjoying true recreational time off.

Oblication is a newly coined portmanteau (two words combined to form a new one): obligation + vacation. In a recent survey, Hotwire reported that 40% of adults booked oblications. Sociologist Jeffrey Alexander, interviewed for a story on, commented on the ambivalence surrounding this growing trend: “On the one hand, doing these rituals is a way of showing that you’re not a materialistic person and that you value your close friendships. At the same time, we do live in an economic world.” Clearly, for many Americans, oblications are not as fun as vacations, unencumbered by awkward or strained family get-togethers. Of course, these oblications provide rich fodder for very funny and memorable movies (e.g., Meet the Parents, Home for the Holidays, etc.).

For further reading: Words You Should Know: 2012 by Nicole Cammorata, Adams Media (2012)