occasion

noun
oc·ca·sion | \ ə-ˈkā-zhən \

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 \
occasioned; occasioning\ə-ˈkāzh-niŋ, -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

The first lady wore a pale pink two-piece ensemble with her hair pulled back for the occasion; the queen was in a blue coat. Jill Colvin, BostonGlobe.com, "After Trump’s tumult, time for tea with the queen," 13 July 2018 And, just the night before at a Glencairn House reception, the couple also opted for some of their typical shy PDA by arriving holding hands for the occasion. Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Haven't Been Afraid of PDA on Their Trip to Dublin," 11 July 2018 In years past, the chain has created a new flavor just for the occasion. Susan Selasky, Detroit Free Press, "Free small Slurpees today honor 7-Eleven’s birthday," 10 July 2018 The royal family is gathering to celebrate Prince Louis's christening today, and Uncle Harry reportedly bought little Louis the perfect gift for the occasion. Maggie Maloney, Town & Country, "Prince Harry Reportedly Bought the Sweetest Christening Gift for Prince Louis," 9 July 2018 The couple scheduled their eldest daughter's christening for their first wedding anniversary — February 10, 1841 — and commissioned a garment from a coal miner's daughter for the occasion. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "Why Prince Louis and Prince George Wore a Different Christening Gown Than Prince William," 9 July 2018 On the 4th of July, Kylie posted a celebratory pic, dressed for the occasion in a cherry red moto jacket and white tee. Kelsey Stiegman, Seventeen, "Kylie Jenner and Selena Gomez Wore the Same Outfit on the 4th of July," 5 July 2018 The Metro Sports production truck at a Friday night football game ensured large crowds and students who came dressed for the occasion. Blair Kerkhoff, kansascity, "Changes at Spectrum Sports cloud future of KC's all-sports cable station," 29 June 2018 Colbert said that Trump's jacket was insensitive for the occasion of visiting children separated from their families at the border. Katherine Schaffstall, The Hollywood Reporter, "Laura Benanti Brings Back Melania Trump Impression to Discuss "I Really Don't Care" Jacket," 27 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Following the menswear shows, where Virgil Abloh’s debut at Louis Vuitton occasioned much discussion about streetwear’s role in fashion, Couture Week was a salve for those who turn their noses up at luxury T-shirts. Emilia Petrarca, The Cut, "What Paris Couture and Jonathan Franzen Have in Common," 6 July 2018 His naked corruption and overt authoritarian tendencies do not occasion any oversight or even objection, because they are deployed on behalf of the tribe. David Roberts, Vox, "Tribalism fueled Scott Pruitt’s rise to power — and the scandals that came with it," 5 July 2018 Unfortunately, what ought to occasion a healthy debate over a contentious issue once again looks to be clouded by a handful of dubious orthodoxies. William Mcgurn, WSJ, "Abortion, Roe—and Trump," 2 July 2018 His naked corruption and overt authoritarian tendencies do not occasion any oversight or even objection, because they are deployed on behalf of the tribe. David Roberts, Vox, "Tribalism fueled Scott Pruitt’s rise to power — and the scandals that came with it," 5 July 2018 The casting of Noma Dumezweni, a black actress, to play Hermione occasioned some discussion in Britain. New York Times, "How ‘Cursed Child’ Puts Parenting at the Center of the Potterverse," 24 May 2018 First, Nikita Kucherov scored on a power-play occasioned by a curious call on Washington’s Lars Eller for closing his hand on the puck. Charles P. Pierce, SI.com, "Even After a Loss, Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals Remain Calm," 16 May 2018 Agis falls in love with Léonide right through her boy disguise, which occasions a rather awkward embrace. John Timpane, Philly.com, "'Triumph of Love' at Bristol Riverside: Goofy, bawdy romp," 11 May 2018 A year into a sustained charm offensive, Mr. Macron has won a trip to Washington, occasioned by an invitation from Mr. Trump for a formal state visit, the first the American leader has extended during his presidency. Alissa J. Rubin And Adam Nossiter, New York Times, "Macron Takes a Risk in Courting Trump, but Has Little to Show for It," 22 Apr. 2018

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, 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

Verb

see occasion entry 1

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Phrases Related to occasion

rise to the occasion/challenge

Statistics for occasion

Last Updated

14 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

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

: a particular time when something happens

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

occasion

verb

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

: to cause (something)

occasion

noun
oc·ca·sion | \ ə-ˈkā-zhən \

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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