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

Because after all, special occasions call for special outfits. Nicola Fumo, Town & Country, "What to Pack for Every Type of Holiday Trip," 21 Dec. 2018 Beloved actor Kirk Douglas celebrated his 102nd birthday on Sunday, December 9, and received lots of love from his family and fans in honor of the special occasion. Jennifer Aldrich, Country Living, "Catherine Zeta-Jones Celebrates Kirk Douglas's 102 Birthday With an Emotional Tribute," 13 Dec. 2018 On two occasions last year, traffic to and from major US companies was suspiciously and intentionally routed through Russian service providers. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "Strange snafu misroutes domestic US Internet traffic through China Telecom," 6 Nov. 2018 Crowns are sparkly and beautiful, but the real conversation starters are the hats and fascinators the British royals don on special occasions. Blake Bakkila, Good Housekeeping, "QUIZ: Can You Match the Hat to the Royal?," 14 Sep. 2018 Over its first six-plus years in existence, Rent the Runway grew to do one thing very well: Rent out designer dresses to women for special occasions. Jason Del Rey, Recode, "Rent the Runway bet on the death of clothing ownership — and now it’s doubling down," 2 Aug. 2018 Loukoumades, which date back to ancient Greece, are made on special occasions. Gloria Casas, Elgin Courier-News, "Saint Sophia’s Greek Fest shares sounds, tastes and feel of Greece at Elgin church," 14 July 2018 His previous best PGA Tour round was 64 on two occasions. Scott Horner, Indianapolis Star, "IU's Steve Wheatcroft leads PGA Tour event after first round," 12 July 2018 Beelow’s wants to be more than a steakhouse for special occasions. Donald Liebenson, chicagotribune.com, "Guide to outdoor dining in Chicago suburbs: Beelow's NorthShore in Highland Park," 11 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

But much of the improvement comes from remixing afresh from the multitrack session masters, thereby eliminating tape hiss and other forms of degradation occasioned by tape copying during the original recording and mixing. Allan Kozinn, WSJ, "The Beatles’ Big Ideas Turn 50," 9 Nov. 2018 But according to Lorenzo Kristov, the rise of new energy technologies should occasion a step back and a fresh, holistic perspective — not just a reactive scramble on policy. David Roberts, Vox, "Clean energy technologies threaten to overwhelm the grid. Here’s how it can adapt.," 30 Nov. 2018 Meanwhile, excavations turned up a 13th-century Saracen wall fragment, occasioning another delay. Sarah Medford, WSJ, "Aby Rosen Creates New Hotel in Vibrant Tel Aviv," 20 Aug. 2018 In my view, that critical national security need outweighs the impact on privacy occasioned by this program. Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, "Trump’s Supreme Court pick: ISPs have 1st Amendment right to block websites," 10 July 2018 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

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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Last Updated

14 Jan 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

: 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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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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