Sab·bati·cal (sə bat′i kəl), adjective
1. of or suited to the Sabbath
2. bringing a period of rest that recurs in regular cycles
Origin: < Fr sabbatique < LL(Ec) sabbaticus < Gr sabbatikos < sabbaton (see Sabbath) + -al
1. a recurring period of rest
2. sabbatical leave: a year or shorter period of absence for study, rest, or travel, given at intervals (orig. every seven years) as to some college teachers and now to people in other fields, at full or partial salary
3. sabbatical year: among the ancient Jews, every seventh year, in which, according to Mosaic law, the land and vineyards were to remain fallow and debtors were to be released
When I was a kid, how I envied my classmates who had a professor parent. They got to go live for a year in Europe , or Asia. Somewhere different, anyway. Even as late as my postdoc, I met senior professors, all men, who on sabbatical moved their entire families abroad. Their wives were either other academics, or had the sorts of jobs they could leave, if they had jobs at all.
Alas, for people married to those with "real" jobs, up-and-moving overseas for a year isn't feasible--not with the family anyway. And, most universities only give one semester off at full pay; going for a year means getting half a salary. And a scientist can't take a lab of 10 or 15 along. So my sabbatical this fall will be spent at home, focusing on doing lab work in my own lab, and free of teaching and administration for one semester. In my 17 years as a professor, it's my first one. It's quite freeing to answer all requests for university service with the holy words, "I'm sorry, I'm on sabbatical." I think I'll turn off my phone. But never fear: I'll still be blogging!