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postman’s holiday

postman’s holiday n. a vacation or holiday spent in a pastime similar to one’s usual employment. Editorial Note: This is a synonym for the far more common “busman’s holiday,” which dates to at least 1893. Thanks to Al Rotches for suggesting it. The first citation, which is for sheet music, is marked as uncertain for two reasons. First, there are no lyrics to confirm that the meaning we are looking for was meant. Second, the French is odd. It probably should have been “le facteur en balade,” which would mean, “the postman on a walk,” which is directly related to our understanding of this expression. However, by spelling “balade,” which means “walk,” as “ballade,” which means “ballad or lyrical poem,” perhaps a play on words was intended. Etymological Note: This expression originates from the idea that a postman or mailman walks as part of the job, so a postman taking a walk as a form of relaxation is seen as ironic. (source: Double-Tongued Dictionary)

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