Home > Unit 3: Introduction > Definitions and Travel Quotes


Introduction: Read the definitions below (from the Oxford English Dictionary) to get a better understanding of what we mean when we talk about tourists, tourism, and vacation. Notice the number of negatative attributes for tourist!


[f. TOUR n. + -IST]

1. One who makes a tour or tours; esp. one who does this for recreation; one who travels for pleasure or culture, visiting a number of places for their objects of interest, scenery, or the like; spec. a member of a touring sports team (usu. pl.).

  • 1780 Ode to Genius of Lakes in North of England 3 (Advt.), He throws the piece only into the way of actual tourists.
  • c. 1800 Pegge Anecd. Eng. Lang. (1814) 313 A traveller is now-a-days called a Tour-ist.
  • 1803 Syd. Smith Wks. (1850) 34 An agricultural tourist wil faithfully detail the average crop per acre.
  • 1824 Scott St. Romans i. It provoked the pencil of every passing tourist.
  • 1855 H. Spencer Princ. Psychol. 66. 246 The Swiss tourist whose inquiries respecting distances are answered in 'stunden', or hours.
  • 1873 Smiles Huguenots Fr. III. i. (1881) 383 Dauphiny . . . lying completely out of the track of ordinary tourists.
  • 1975 Cricketer May 11/2 On the fourth day Julien joined the feast, hitting a scintillating 101 and helping the tourists to an 87-run first-innings lead.

2. attrib. and Comb., as a tourist agency, agent, attraction, board, bureau, bus, camp, circuit, country, hotel, industry, office, rendezvous, resort, route, season,shop, tax, ticket, trade, traffic, visa, tourist-crammed, -crowded, -haunted, -laden, -mobbed, -ridden, -trodden

  • 1895 P. Hemingway Out of Egypt It was no good applying to the hotels or tourist agencies
  • 1918 E. Pound Pavannnes & Divisions I knew a tourist agent, one whose art is to run such tours.
  • 1948 Wales (Tourist & Holidays Board Wales) 3 The Tourist and Holidays Board for Wales and Monmouthshire has pleasure in presenting its second Annual National Holiday Guide.
  • 1928 H. Crane Let. I have been the only native American in the whole tourist cabin. The rest being Britishers, Canadians, Australians, [etc.]
  • 1898 Edin. Rev. The beautiful but now . . . hackneyed and tourist-mobbed route to Chamonix
  • 1906 'Mark Twain' Autobiography Mr. Richmond had become possessed of Tom Sawyer's cave in the hills three miles from town, and had made a tourist resort of it.
  • 1905 E. Candler Unveiling of Lhasa Just as one is dragged into a church in some tourist-ridden land.
  • 1912 'Saki' Chron. Clovis Continental travel . . . away from the great tourist tracks, was a favoured hobby.
  • 1939 G. Greene Lawless Roads Different stations had their different tourist traps—at Apizaco hideous hand-painted clubs . . . at Rinconada little grey stone mortars.

cruise shipsvacation, n.

1. a. Freedom, release, or rest from some occupation, business or activity

  • 1386 Chaucer Wife's Prol. Whan he hadde leyser and vacacioun From oother worldly occupacioun.
  • 1531 Elyot Gov. What vacacion had they from the warres?
  • 1690 R. Lucas Humane Life The life of the sluggish is but a waking dream, a vacation from all business.

2. a period during which there is a formal suspension of activity; one or other part of the year during which law-courts, universities, or schools are suspended or closed; holidays

  • 1600 Shakespeare, As You Like It [Time stays] With lawiers in the vacation: for they sleepe between terme and terme.
  • 1796 Burke Let. Noble Lord Every honest father of a family . . . will pray that there may be a very long vacation in all such schools.
  • 1904 L. Creighton Life Bp. Creighton In the Easter Vacation we went for a short walking tour in Norfolk.

3. a state or period characterized by the intermission or absence of something; a cessation from something

  • Temple Let. to Hyde We have had since Monday last, a perfect vacation of all affairs.
  • 1711 Ken Preparatives (Poet.) Sleep's a Vacation of our Pow'rs, And innocently wastes our Hours.


vacation, v.

to take a vacation or holiday; va'cationing

  • 1896 Advance (Chicago) Despite hard times, people will go vacationing
  • 1926 Scribner's Mag. Advice to vacationing young folks: In the dog days, don't be too Sirius.
  • 1967 Idle Moments The vacationer's body also will have reduced metabolic needs which may take two or three weeks for adjustment.

Travel Quotations (my favorites)

Li River, China“Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.” – Maya Angelou

“Remember what Bilbo used to say: It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” – JRR Tolkien

“The traveler was active; he went strenuously in search of people, of adventure, of experience. The tourist is passive; he expects interesting things to happen to him. He goes “sight-seeing.” – Daniel J. Boorstin

“When you travel, remember that a foreign country is not designed to make you comfortable. It is designed to make its own people comfortable.” – Clifton Fadiman

Travel is glamorous only in retrospect.” – Paul Theroux

“The first condition of understanding a foreign country is to smell it.” – Rudyard Kipling

“Adventure without risk is Disneyland.” – Doug Coupland

“Thanks to the Interstate Highway System, it is now possible to travel across the country from coast to coast without seeing anything.” – Charles Kuralt

“Without new experiences, something inside of us sleeps. The sleeper must awaken.” – Frank Herbert


*Tourists at Pisa photo by John Fowler, Flickr Creative Commons
*Cruise ships photo by Dave R., Flickr Creative Commons
*Li River, China photo by Dennis Jarvis, Flickr Creative Commons