occasion

1 of 2

noun

oc·​ca·​sion ə-ˈkā-zhən How to pronounce occasion (audio)
1
: a favorable opportunity or circumstance
did not have occasion to talk with them
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
a
: 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
4
a
: a need arising from a particular circumstance
knowledge for which he will never have any occasionC. 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 theirsS. H. Adams
6
: a special event or ceremony : celebration
birthdays, anniversaries, and other special occasions

occasion

2 of 2

verb

occasioned; occasioning ə-ˈkā-zh(ə-)niŋ How to pronounce occasion (audio)
Phrases
on occasion
: from time to time
He lives in the country, though he visits the city on occasion.

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 See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
There will also be a photo booth so diners can commemorate the occasion with their pup. Maura Fox, San Diego Union-Tribune, 6 Feb. 2024 While some players discussed the excitement and nerves that come with the occasion when asked about playing in a Super Bowl in Las Vegas, Kittle gave a typically casual answer. Sam Joseph, CNN, 6 Feb. 2024 The Institute is also proud to partner with LRY Media Group, a global event production company, to orchestrate this significant occasion. Miami Herald, 6 Feb. 2024 Dress up your special occasion cake stand by surrounding it with classic Easter decor. Sarah Martens, Better Homes & Gardens, 6 Feb. 2024 To mark the occasion, people head to church and organize family gatherings filled with good food and good fun. Melissa Locker, Southern Living, 5 Feb. 2024 Furphy rose to the occasion with 17 points, eight rebounds, and a team-leading plus-minus of plus-17. Shreyas Laddha, Kansas City Star, 4 Feb. 2024 Grainge also posted a photo from the occasion, in which the twosome are kissing. Hannah Sacks, Peoplemag, 26 Jan. 2024 Usually accessible only during the day and by ski, the bistro made an exception for the occasion. Vogue, 25 Jan. 2024
Verb
For Vulcan, the delays have been occasioned by the payload and the rocket's main engines. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, 3 Feb. 2023 The prospect of a visit by Suzanne Mubarak, then the first lady, occasions the installation of desktop computers, a fresh coat of paint, new flooring in the reading room, and an inspection visit by the minister of culture. Alan Mikhail, Foreign Affairs, 12 Dec. 2023 The clips have occasioned shock and delight from U.S. fans. Miles Klee, Rolling Stone, 19 Dec. 2023 In the wake of Roth’s death in 2018, alongside the triumphant hagiographies, further reconsiderations of misogyny in his writing were composed, and new ones were occasioned by the Bailey scandal. Hannah Gold, Harper's Magazine, 3 Nov. 2023 Throughout the poem flutter phrases that seem to have been occasioned by sightings of U.F.O.s. Kamran Javadizadeh, The New Yorker, 11 Sep. 2023 In recent years, the brand’s drumbeat of annual dolls, each immortalizing a different American place and time, has occasioned waves of American Girl history memes that ironically call for brand enshrinement of absurd or personal moments in history. Lizzie Feidelson, The New Yorker, 17 Nov. 2023 The series also occasioned a giddy reunion with Pinkett Smith. Emily Lordi, New York Times, 19 Oct. 2023 But the loss in Ohio does occasion a clear-eyed assessment of the challenges the pro-life movement faces now and what will likely be a long battle ahead. The Editors, National Review, 8 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'occasion.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near occasion

Cite this Entry

“Occasion.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/occasion. Accessed 20 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

occasion

1 of 2 noun
oc·​ca·​sion ə-ˈkā-zhən How to pronounce occasion (audio)
1
: a favorable opportunity : a good chance
sorry not to have had occasion to meet them
2
: a situation that provides a reason
an occasion for rejoicing
3
: something that brings about an event
the remark was the occasion of a bitter quarrel
4
: a time at which something happens
on the occasion of the wedding
5
: a need that arises
have occasion to travel
6
: a special event or ceremony : celebration
a big occasion

occasion

2 of 2 verb
occasioned; occasioning
-ˈkāzh-(ə-)niŋ
: to give occasion to : cause

More from Merriam-Webster on occasion

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