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休假 vs. 度假


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My sense was always that 休假 described it from the passive aspect of not being at work, while 度假 is a holiday in the active sense of going somewhere to spend some leisure time, hence 度假村 and so on.


ETA Reading that back passive and active might not be the right terms but hope you get the basic point

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假 is the vacation

休 means you’re taking leave from something, could be school or work

度 is to spend time doing something

放 is to be “off” or let out


休假 is to be taking a break from school/work/be away from your post, that kind of vacation


度假 is to spend a holiday/vacation, usually accompanied by details like where the holiday takes place or how it is spent or has emphasis on the more vacation-y aspects of a vacation, can be a family vacation to the Bahamas or similar


放假 is to be off work, to be on holiday, also can mean to begin a vacation/holiday period

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For my two cents, In Beijing I only ever hear 放假. Never 度假 or 休假.


Not that they’re not said, just I never hear them. 


When I asked I was told 很少用 but couldn’t get a reason. 

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I guess by some people you could just say ... Chinese people. 


For instance, everything here is a 外套. Regardless of whether, to me, it’s a hoody, jacket, coat, cardigan. If they put it on to go outside then it’s a 外套. Then in English you could get even more specific but here it’s still just a 外套. 

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OK, so here is what I have:


be on leave; take leave     休假
take a vacation    度假


I would also like to ask if these are correct:

national holiday      法定节假日
the holidays (American English)      圣诞节和新年一周休假
the holidays (British English)     夏天休假


The waitress at Pizza Hut told me she went 度假 to Thailand, so I can see how that means, “take a vacation”.


(By the way, at Pizza Hut in Mainland China, they have a great weekday-only lunch special for 30 RMB which includes a personal pan pizza, salad, and soup. It is NOT on the menu so you have to ask for it. It’s a great western-style lunch at a reasonable price.)


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  • 2 months later...

OK so this question really makes me interested and I've read other replies. Here is what I want to say:

In Chinese there're basically three so-called "vacation words": 放假,休假 and 度假. Let's start with the simplest one which is 放假. It just means schooldays/workdays are over and the break time comes, so technically it can be used for any kind of break (school holidays, national holidays, weekends etc.). But for 休假, which also means "to be in vacation or rest", it is mainly describing a state of being resting in holidays, so it is very uncommon to hear people using 休假 for weekends. There's also 度假, and this word add an emphasis on the fact that you've left for somewhere else to spend the vacation, travelling, in usual cases.

In short, we have:

放假; to have a period of break time between workdays/schooldays.

休假; to be in holiday time.

度假; to go somewhere else for vacation.

Hopefully this would be helpful.

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