Hiatus Meaning: What Does This Term Mean?

When learning English, understanding specific terms and their meanings is crucial to developing your language skills. One such term, “hiatus,” may be initially challenging, but once grasped, it can be beneficial in understanding the broader context of sentences. This article will shed light on the definition of the word and how we can use it in different contexts.

Key Takeaways

  • A hiatus is a temporary pause, gap, or interruption in an activity, event, or process.
  • The term “hiatus” has its roots in the Latin word “hiatus,” meaning “opening” or “gap.”
  • It’s necessary to be able to distinguish hiatus from other words such as sabbatical and pause.

Hiatus Meaning

Hiatus Meaning: What Does This Term Mean?

What Does Hiatus Mean?

A hiatus is a temporary pause, gap, or interruption in an activity, event, or process. It can be applied to various situations, such as work, conversations, or series of events. For instance, if someone decides to take a break from their job to travel, they are said to be on a hiatus. Additionally, a hiatus may refer to a gap in a sequence where something is missing or absent.


  • The television series went on hiatus for a few months before resuming production.

Origin of Hiatus

The term “hiatus” has its roots in the Latin word “hiatus,” meaning “opening” or “gap.” It was first used in the English language during the late 16th century. It has since become a commonly used word to describe breaks or interruptions in various contexts.

In English, it was originally used in the context of grammar and poetry to refer to a break or gap between two vowels, syllables, or words. Over time, its usage expanded to describe a pause or interruption in various contexts, such as in conversations, activities, or series.

Other Meanings of Hiatus

While the primary definition of hiatus refers to a pause or gap, the term may have additional meanings in specific contexts:

  1. Anatomical: In the field of anatomy, a hiatus can refer to an opening or gap in an organ or bodily structure, allowing the passage of another structure through it.
  2. Linguistics: In linguistics, hiatus refers to the occurrence of two adjacent vowel sounds in separate syllables, without a consonant sound between them. This mainly occurs when two words are juxtaposed or within words that have syllable breaks at the point of the vowel sounds.


  • Primary definition: pause, gap, interruption
  • Anatomical: opening or gap in an organ
  • Linguistics: occurrence of two adjacent vowel sounds

By understanding the term “hiatus” and its various meanings, you’ll be able to use it confidently and accurately in your everyday conversations and writing.

Commonly Confused Terms with Hiatus

In this section, we’ll explore the differences between “hiatus” and some similar terms you may come across. Knowing the distinctions between these terms will enhance your comprehension of the English language.

Hiatus vs. Sabbatical

A hiatus is generally a temporary break or pause in an activity, such as work or a television series. This break could be planned or unplanned, and the duration can vary. On the other hand, a sabbatical is a specific type of planned hiatus taken for personal or professional growth. Often, sabbaticals are taken by academics or professionals to work on research, explore new ideas, or pursue a creative project.


  • John is taking a hiatus from work to care for his sick father.
  • Mary is going on a sabbatical to complete her book.

Hiatus vs. Break

Both a hiatus and a break refer to a pause or interruption in an activity. However, a break is generally a more casual term, often implying a shorter duration. A hiatus, in contrast, typically suggests a longer and more deliberate pause.


  • The band is taking a break between their live performances.
  • The TV show has gone on hiatus until the next season.

Hiatus vs. Vacation

A hiatus can be taken for various reasons, including personal or professional growth, or to deal with unforeseen circumstances. A vacation, however, is specifically a period of leisure time taken for relaxation and enjoyment. While both involve taking time off from work or regular commitments, the key difference lies in the purpose of the time off.


  • After finishing a major project, Sarah is on a hiatus to ponder her next career move.
  • Tom is taking a vacation to Hawaii with his family.

Hiatus Examples

Examples of Hiatus in Conversations

Here are a few examples of how the word “hiatus” can be used in everyday conversations:

Conversation 1

  • Alice: I heard their band is taking a hiatus after their tour ends.
  • Bob: Yeah, they’ve been on the road for so long, I think they deserve a break.

Conversation 2

  • Sarah: Did you know that the TV show is on hiatus until next season?
  • John: Oh, that’s right. It’ll give us some time to catch up on other series.

Examples of Hiatus in Texting and Social Posts

The word “hiatus” is also commonly used in texting and social media posts. Check out these examples:

Text messages

  • Person 1: Yo, where you been at? You’ve been MIA from our group chat!
  • Person 2: Yeah, needed a break from all the messages. Taking a hiatus was much needed.
  • Person 1: Gotcha, glad you’re back now!

Social posts

  • Can’t believe my favorite podcast is going on a hiatus for a few months. I’ll miss their weekly episodes! ????
  • Taking a brief hiatus from social media to focus on my mental health. See you all in a few weeks! ????

Other Examples of Hiatus

Here are some additional ways to use the word “hiatus” in various contexts:

  • When discussing a gap in someone’s employment history: After working at the company for five years, Laura took a hiatus to travel the world and explore new cultures.
  • In the context of relationships: Sam and Alex decided to go on a hiatus to figure out their priorities and what they want in life.
  • As a pause in a creative project: The artist announced a hiatus from painting to gain new inspiration and explore different mediums.

Usage of Hiatus in Different Contexts

Hiatus is a versatile word that can be used in various contexts. In this section, we will explore a few instances where the term “hiatus” is commonly utilized.

When discussing time gaps or interruptions, “hiatus” is often used to describe a pause or a break in activity or continuity.

In an anatomical context, “hiatus” refers to a gap or passage in an organ or a part of the body.

“Hiatus” can also refer to a pause in speech, particularly between two vowels in adjacent words or syllables. This might be observed in a phrase such as the reality of it where there is a slight pause between the vowels ‘i’ and ‘o’.

In writing, a hiatus might refer to a gap, either intentional or accidental, where something is missing.

Here’s a summary of different contexts in which the word “hiatus” can be used with example sentences:

Context Example Sentence
Time gaps The company went on a two-month hiatus for restructuring.
Anatomy The aortic hiatus allows the aorta to pass through.
Speech Pay attention to the hiatus when pronouncing the phrase.
Writing The missing part of the text created a mysterious hiatus.

More About Hiatus Terminology

Terms Related to Hiatus

Here are terms that are related to the concept of “hiatus”:

  • Continuation: The act of resuming something after a hiatus.
  • Resumption: The action of beginning something again after a pause or interruption.
  • Adjournment: The formal act of postponing proceedings to another time or place, often used in legislative contexts.
  • Renewal: The process of extending the period of validity of a license, subscription, or contract, which may occur after a hiatus.
  • Transition: The process or period of changing from one state or condition to another, which can occur before or after a hiatus.
  • Recovery: The process of regaining a normal state after a period of difficulty, which may follow a hiatus.

Synonyms for Hiatus

Several synonyms for the word hiatus emphasize its different meanings, such as:

  • Break: A temporary interruption or cessation of an activity or process.
  • Gap: An empty space or interval; a break or opening in a continuous structure or series.
  • Interruption: A temporary stop or break in a process, activity, or conversation.
  • Pause: A temporary stop or rest in an activity or process; a brief period of inactivity.
  • Respite: A short period of rest or relief from something difficult or unpleasant.
  • Suspension: The temporary stopping or halting of something, such as an activity, process, or decision.

These synonyms can be used interchangeably based on the context in which the term hiatus is applied.

Antonyms for Hiatus

In contrast, antonyms for hiatus include:

  • Continuation: The act of carrying on or prolonging something that has already begun, without interruption or cessation.
  • Resumption: The action of starting something again after it has been paused or suspended.
  • Persistence: The quality of continuing steadily despite problems or difficulties; determination to keep going.

These antonyms describe a situation where there is a lack of interruption, pause, or gap.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can you describe the length and nature of a hiatus?

A hiatus can vary in length, from a brief pause to a more extended period of time. The nature of a hiatus depends on the context in which it is used. In everyday language, a hiatus can refer to a break or gap in a sequence of events or a pause in communication or activity. In phonetics, a hiatus is a slight pause or interruption in pronunciation that occurs between two successive vowels in adjacent words or syllables.

What are some common examples of hiatus in everyday language?

In everyday language, a hiatus can be used to describe various situations, such as:

  1. A television show going on a break for an uncertain amount of time (e.g., “the series is on hiatus”).
  2. A person taking a break from work or social media (e.g., “She’s taking a hiatus from Facebook to focus on her studies”).
  3. A pause in a conversation or discussion, indicating a moment of reflection or thought (e.g., “There was a brief hiatus in the conversation while everyone considered the proposal”).

Is there a difference between singular and plural forms of hiatus?

In English, the word “hiatus” can be used in both singular and plural forms. The singular form is simply “hiatus,” while the plural form is “hiatuses” (although “hiati” is occasionally used as well). However, the meaning remains the same regardless of the number: a pause or gap in something, whether it is in a sequence, conversation, or activity.