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For lessons on the topic of Rest, follow this link.


  • I. 1. A bed or couch. Obs. (OE. only.)
2. a. The natural repose or relief from daily activity which is obtained by sleep.
b. In phr. to go to (one's) rest, to betake oneself to repose for the night. Also transf. of the sun (sometimes with other verbs), etc.
c. In phr. to take (one's) rest.
d. In phrases wishing one good repose. Obs.
3. a. Intermission of labour or exertion of any kind; repose obtained by ceasing to exert oneself. day of rest, the Sabbath. In later use also with a and pl.
b. transf. in various applications.
c. In phr. without (or but) rest, without intermission or delay.
d. Restored vigour or strength. rare.
e. A year's imprisonment. Austral. slang (rare).
f. In colloq. phr. to give (something or someone) a rest: to stop thinking or talking about.
4. a. Freedom from or absence of labour, exertion, or activity of any kind.
b. The freedom from toil or care associated with the future life.
c. Freedom from distress, trouble, molestation, or aggression.
d. Spiritual or mental peace; quiet or tranquillity of mind.
e. Quietness, peacefulness, tranquillity in nature.
5. a. Place of resting or residing; residence, abode. Also, abiding, stay.
b. A landing on a staircase. Obs. rare.
c. An establishment for the purpose of providing shelter or lodging for persons belonging to certain classes during their spare time or when not following their usual occupation.
6. a. The repose of death or of the grave. Chiefly in phrases, as to go, be laid, to rest.
b. at rest (cf. 9a).
7. a. Mus. An interval of silence occurring in one or more parts during a movement, frequently of all the parts together; a pause; also, the character or sign by which this is denoted.
b. Rhet. (See later quots.)
8. Absence, privation, or cessation of motion; continuance in the same position or place.
9. at rest. a. In a state of (physical or mental) repose, quiescence, or inactivity. (See also 6b.)
b. to rest, to satisfy, assure; to settle, decide finally. at rest, settled. Also, to rest, to allay completely.
  • II. 10. Some part of the iron-work of a gate. Obs. rare.
11. a. A support for a fire-arm, employed in steadying the barrel to ensure accuracy of aim, esp. that used for the old heavy musket, which was forked at the upper end, and provided with a spike to fix it in the ground.
b. (See quot.) Obs. rare1.
c. A support for a cue in billiards.
12. a. A thing upon which something else rests, in various specific uses (see quots.). The rest of a lance belongs to REST n.3
b. That part of a lathe on which the cutting-tool is supported in the operation of turning.
c. A support or hook for a telephone receiver when not in use, incorporating a switch that is automatically closed when the receiver is lifted.
d. A projecting part of a removable denture that gives it support by lying against a tooth.
13. a. Something upon which one rests. rare.
b. A projection for the foot to rest on.


Rest, leisure or free time, is a period of time spent out of work and essential domestic activity. It is also the period of recreational and discretionary time before or after compulsory activities such as eating and sleeping, going to work or running a business, attending school and doing homework, household chores, and day-to-day stress. The distinction between leisure and compulsory activities is loosely applied, i.e. people sometimes do work-oriented tasks for pleasure as well as for long-term utility.[1] Leisure studies is the academic discipline concerned with the study and analysis of leisure.


The word leisure comes from the Latin word licere, meaning “to be permitted” or “to be free,” via Old French leisir, and first appeared in the early fourteenth century.[2] The notions of leisure and leisure time are thought to have emerged in Victorian Britain in the late nineteenth century, late in the Industrial Revolution. Early factories required workers to perform long shifts, often up to eighteen hours per day, with only Sundays off work. By the 1870s though, more efficient machinery and the emergence of trade unions resulted in decreases in working hours per day, and allowed industrialists to give their workers Saturdays as well as Sundays off work.

Affordable and reliable transport in the form of railways allowed urban workers to travel on their days off, with the first package holidays to seaside resorts appearing in the 1870s, a trend which spread to industrial nations in Europe and North America. As workers channeled their wages into leisure activities, the modern entertainment industry (beginning with the film industry) emerged in industrialized nations, catering to entertain workers on their days off. This Victorian concept—the weekend—heralded the beginning of leisure time as it is known today.


There are many different definitions of leisure. One popular social psychological theory of leisure was put forward by psychology professor John Neulinger in the early 1970s. Neulinger defined leisure using three criteria:[3]

  • The experience is a state of mind.
  • It must be entered into voluntarily.
  • It must be intrinsically motivating of its own merit.

Other theories abound. Sebastian de Grazia portrayed leisure as a form of contemplation. Seppo Iso-Ahola adapted a form of optimal arousal to explain leisure. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's flow theory is another popular definition of leisure.


  1. Goodin, Robert E.; Rice, James Mahmud; Bittman, Michael; & Saunders, Peter. (2005). "The time-pressure illusion: Discretionary time vs free time". Social Indicators Research 73 (1), 43–70. (PDF file)
  2. The “u” first appeared in the early sixteenth century, probably by analogy with words such as pleasure.[1]
  3. Neulinger, John. 1981. The Psychology of Leisure. 2nd Ed. C.C. Thomas. ISBN 0398044929
  4. Farb, Peter (1968). Man's Rise to Civilization As Shown by the Indians of North America from Primeval Times to the Coming of the Industrial State. New York City: E. P. Dutton. pp. 28. LCC E77.F36. "Most people assume that the members of the Shoshone band worked ceaselessly in an unremitting search for sustenance. Such a dramatic picture might appear confirmed by an erroneous theory almost everyone recalls from schooldays: A high culture emerges only when the people have the leisure to build pyramids or to create art. The fact is that high civilization is hectic, and that primitive hunters and collectors of wild food, like the Shoshone, are among the most leisured people on earth."

Further reading

  • Peter Borsay, A History of Leisure: The British Experience since 1500, Palgrave Macmillan, 2006, ISBN 0333930827
  • Cross, Gary S. 2004. Encyclopedia of recreation and leisure in America. The Scribner American civilization series. Farmington *Hills, Michigan: Charles Scribner's Sons.
  • Harris, David. 2005. Key concepts in leisure studies. London: Sage. ISBN 0761970576.
  • Jenkins, John M., and J. J. J. Pigram. 2003. Encyclopedia of leisure and outdoor recreation. London: Routledge. ISBN 0415252261.
  • Rojek, Chris, Susan M. Shaw, and A.J. Veal (Eds.) (2006) A Handbook of Leisure Studies. Houndmills, UK: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 139781403902788.
  • Stebbins, Robert A. 2007. Serious leisure: A perspective for our time. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction. ISBN 0765803631.

External links

See Also