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noun oc·ca·sion \ə-ˈkā-zhən\

Simple Definition of occasion

  • : a special event or time

  • : a particular time when something happens

  • : a chance or opportunity : a situation that allows something to happen

Full Definition of occasion

  1. 1 :  a favorable opportunity or circumstance <did not have occasion to talk with them>

  2. 2 a :  a state of affairs that provides a ground or reason <the occasion of the discord was their mutual intolerance> b :  an occurrence or condition that brings something about; especially :  the immediate inciting circumstance as distinguished from the fundamental cause <his insulting remark was the occasion of a bitter quarrel>

  3. 3 a :  happening, incident b :  a time at which something happens :  instance

  4. 4 a :  a need arising from a particular circumstance b archaic :  a personal want or need —usually used in plural

  5. 5 plural :  affairs, business

  6. 6 :  a special event or ceremony :  celebration

on occasion
  1. :  from time to time

Examples of occasion

  1. When versatility is fashion's best justification, the idea of a beautiful lace blouse or dress that can step up to a special occasion and then look just as good under a man-tailored jacket or a fine-gauge long-line cardigan the next day is persuasive. —S. Mower, Vogue, September 2008

  2. On several occasions, people have observed dark, kilometer-wide bands on the ocean surface as tsunamis approached or passed by … —S. Perkins, Science News, 21 Feb. 2004

  3. Not so long ago, Rolling Stone's David Fricke asked the late Kurt Cobain whom he admired among “established” rock bands. Cobain unhesitatingly named R.E.M., using the occasion to send the band members a virtual mash note for remaining true to their muse and to themselves and for refusing to be swayed by the shifting winds of fashion and commerciality. —Robert Palmer, Rolling Stone, 6 Oct. 1994

  4. To publish a definitive collection of short stories in one's late 60s seems to me, as an American writer, a traditional and a dignified occasion, eclipsed in no way by the fact that a great many of the stories in my current collection were written in my underwear. —John Cheever, in Ann Charters, The Story and Its Writer,1987

  5. birthdays, anniversaries, and other special occasions

  6. They marked the occasion with their families.

  7. She wrote a song especially for the occasion.

  8. Roses are the perfect flower for any occasion.

  9. On the occasion of their 25th wedding anniversary, they took a vacation to Paris.

  10. We had occasion to watch her perform last summer.

  11. The boys never had occasion to meet each other.

  12. She never found an occasion to suggest her ideas.

  13. He took the occasion to make an announcement.

Origin of occasion

Middle English, from Anglo-French or Latin; Anglo-French, from Latin occasion-, occasio, from occidere to fall, fall down, from ob- toward + cadere to fall — more at ob-, chance

First Known Use: 14th century



verb oc·ca·sion \ə-ˈkā-zhən\

Simple Definition of occasion

  • : to cause (something)

Full Definition of occasion

oc·ca·sionedoc·ca·sion·ing play \-ˈkāzh-niŋ, -ˈkā-zhə-\

  1. transitive verb
  2. :  bring about, cause

Examples of occasion

  1. It was that desire that occasioned a trip to Berlin this spring: a desire to wander through the city's arty demimonde and to eat beside its residents… —Sam Sifton, New York Times, 22 June 2008

  2. “I made bow ties,” Sally says very assuredly, after the long silence occasioned by my unwanted kiss, during which we both realized we are not about to head upstairs for any fun. —Richard Ford, Independence Day, 1996

  3. <the announcement concerning the change in scheduling occasioned much confusion>

Origin of occasion

(see 1occasion)

First Known Use: 15th century

OCCASION Defined for Kids



noun oc·ca·sion \ə-ˈkā-zhən\

Definition of occasion

  1. 1 :  a special event <The banquet was an elegant occasion.>

  2. 2 :  the time of an event <This has happened on more than one occasion.>

  3. 3 :  a suitable opportunity :  a good chance <Take the first occasion to write.>



verb oc·ca·sion

Definition of occasion


  1. :  to bring about <… I found the point of the rocks which occasioned this disaster … — Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe>

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February 7, 2016

a slight offense

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