This term comes from the word "sabbath," and means seven or seventh. It means a period of rest and an intermission in labor. A sabbatical year is the seventh year. It is a time when persons are relieved from their duties for study and travel. It is now used for a period of leave that is not necessarily every seven years. Sometimes it is called a "sabbatical leave."
Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from "An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians," Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.