occasion

noun
oc·​ca·​sion | \ ə-ˈkā-zhən How to pronounce occasion (audio) \

Definition of occasion

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a favorable opportunity or circumstance did not have occasion to talk with them
2a : 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.
3a : happening, incident Everybody has been terribly kind since my recent sad occasion.— Thomas Kelly
b : a time at which something happens : instance on the occasion of his daughter's wedding
4a : a need arising from a particular circumstance knowledge for which he will never have any occasion— C. H. Grandgent
b archaic : a personal want or need usually used in plural
5 occasions plural : affairs, business minded his own occasions and was content for other folk to mind theirs— S. H. Adams
6 : a special event or ceremony : celebration birthdays, anniversaries, and other special occasions
on occasion
: from time to time He lives in the country, though he visits the city on occasion.

occasion

verb
oc·​ca·​sion | \ ə-ˈkā-zhən How to pronounce occasion (audio) \
occasioned; occasioning\ ə-​ˈkāzh-​niŋ How to pronounce occasioning (audio) , -​ˈkā-​zhə-​ \

Definition of occasion (Entry 2 of 2)

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Examples of occasion in a Sentence

Noun

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 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 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 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 birthdays, anniversaries, and other special occasions They marked the occasion with their families. She wrote a song especially for the occasion. Roses are the perfect flower for any occasion. On the occasion of their 25th wedding anniversary, they took a vacation to Paris. We had occasion to watch her perform last summer. The boys never had occasion to meet each other. She never found an occasion to suggest her ideas. He took the occasion to make an announcement.

Verb

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 "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 the announcement concerning the change in scheduling occasioned much confusion
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

For the week of the lunar landing anniversary, Chabot Space & Science Center in Oakland will host several events for those who want to mark the occasion. Valerie Stimac, SFChronicle.com, "5 ways to celebrate the Apollo 11 anniversary in California," 12 July 2019 To mark the occasion, a panel of executives opened the forum with a discussion about change and the importance of Black wealth. Chelsea Brasted, Essence, "Inaugural Global Black Economic Forum Launches With Messages Of Empowerment," 7 July 2019 Royal christening services have always been private, and Meghan and Harry will release images to mark the occasion afterwards. Victoria Murphy, Town & Country, "Why Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Chose Not Announce Archie's Godparents Publicly," 6 July 2019 To mark the occasion, his family traveled to Nashville. Peggy O’hare, ExpressNews.com, "San Antonio parents struggle with grief after son’s death in Iconic Village fire," 5 July 2019 To mark the occasion, the startup accelerator in Paris gathered hundreds of people in its underground amphitheater on June 27 to name its top 30 startups of the year, and preview an event on diversity and female entrepreneurship. Alison Griswold, Quartz, "Paris is pitching itself as the next-best thing for tech startups," 3 July 2019 In what will be the club's 125th anniversary season, City have worked with manufacturers Puma to create two new kits which will mark the momentous occasion for the club. SI.com, "Man City Launch New Kits for 2019/20 Season Inspired by Manchester's Industrial Heritage," 1 July 2019 Protesters had hoped to block or interrupt an official flag raising ceremony marking the occasion, attended by the city's embattled Chief Executive Carrie Lam. James Griffiths, CNN, "Hong Kong protesters clash with police as summer of discontent continues," 1 July 2019 To mark the occasion, officials at the Minneapolis-St. Zekriah Chaudhry, Twin Cities, "First Aer Lingus MSP to Dublin flight Monday," 28 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Outsiders to Rightworld, and even some insiders, were mystified by the explosion of conservative commentary occasioned by New York Post op-ed editor Sohrab Ahmari’s attack on our colleague David French. Ramesh Ponnuru, National Review, "The Right Liberalism," 11 July 2019 Pride has long occasioned debates about the extent to which queers should be celebrating or still rioting, and has exposed the divide between those in the community with more privilege and those with less. Gabriel Arana, The New Republic, "Fifty Years After Stonewall, Many States Still Lack LGBTQ Protections," 26 June 2019 The album grew out of two years Mandell spent teaching songwriting in Los Angeles-area women’s prisons; its songs resonate with those experiences and the reflections occasioned by them. BostonGlobe.com, "The Ticket: What’s happening in the local arts world," 21 June 2019 Has the uptick in these invitations been occasioned by some great elevation of my public profile or some meteoric increase in my expertise? Lionel Shriver, Harper's magazine, "Fifty-Fifty Follies," 10 June 2019 But the war has also occasioned one of the most intense disinformation campaigns. Muhammad Idrees Ahmad, The New York Review of Books, "Bellingcat and How Open Source Reinvented Investigative Journalism," 10 June 2019 Kavanaugh’s nomination occasioned a multimillion-dollar battle by dark-money groups, and ActBlue has allowed regular people to enter that fray. Eric Lach, The New Yorker, "Why Famous, Powerful Presidential Candidates Are Begging You for Five Dollars," 10 June 2019 But so great was America’s productive capacity that the great storm occasioned little more than a ripple in the development of our build-up. David Von Drehle, Twin Cities, "David Von Drehle: Everyone acts like America is in decline. Let’s look at the numbers.," 6 June 2019 Naturally the book has occasioned questions about my relationship to America. Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, "Are You, or Have You Ever Been, an American?," 4 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'occasion.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of occasion

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for occasion

Noun

Middle English occasioun "opportunity, inducement, grounds or justification, occurrence," borrowed from Anglo-French & Medieval Latin; Anglo-French occasion, borrowed from Medieval Latin occāsiōn-, occāsiō "opportunity, circumstance, cause, pretext," going back to Latin, "convenient circumstances, opportunity," from oc-cad-, base of occidere "to be struck down, die, sink below the horizon" + -tiōn- -tiō, suffix of verbal action — more at occident

Note: Though Latin occāsiō is formally a derivative of occidere, it does not reflect the meaning of that verb; for the sense cf. other derivatives of cadere "to fall," as accidere "to happen" (see accident) and cāsus "occurrence, chance" (see case entry 1). The verbal noun corresponding semantically to occidere is occāsus "sinking (of the sun), downfall, decline."

Verb

Middle English occasionen, borrowed from Medieval Latin occāsiōnāre, derivative of occāsiōn-, occāsiō occasion entry 1

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Statistics for occasion

Last Updated

20 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for occasion

The first known use of occasion was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for occasion

occasion

noun

English Language Learners Definition of occasion

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a special event or time
somewhat formal : a particular time when something happens
somewhat formal : a chance or opportunity : a situation that allows something to happen

occasion

verb

English Language Learners Definition of occasion (Entry 2 of 2)

formal : to cause (something)

occasion

noun
oc·​ca·​sion | \ ə-ˈkā-zhən How to pronounce occasion (audio) \

Kids Definition of occasion

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a special event The banquet was an elegant occasion.
2 : the time of an event This has happened on more than one occasion.
3 : a suitable opportunity : a good chance Take the first occasion to write.

occasion

verb
occasioned; occasioning

Kids Definition of occasion (Entry 2 of 2)

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on occasion

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with occasion

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for occasion

Spanish Central: Translation of occasion

Nglish: Translation of occasion for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of occasion for Arabic Speakers

Comments on occasion

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