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 Here are five eateries worth taking a date to on Valentine’s Day, or any other date-worthy occasion. Anne Nickoloff, cleveland, "Valentine’s Day dinner: 5 romantic Cleveland restaurants for a perfect date," 13 Feb. 2020 On that occasion, parliament blocked the request, with 5-Star rallying to his support, arguing that the decision to keep the migrants at sea was a collective one. NBC News, "Italian Senate lifts immunity of defiant Salvini over migrant boat," 13 Feb. 2020 According to the charging documents, on three occasions between Nov. 19 and Dec. 2, 2019, Lopez was seen on video recorded on the bus assaulting the 13-year-old girl. Danny Hermosillo, Houston Chronicle, "Galena Park school bus attendant accused of assaulting disabled girl, released on $100 bond," 12 Feb. 2020 On this occasion, Gemini and the other telescopes saw nothing unexpected. Daniel Clery, Science | AAAS, "Big telescopes join hunt for things that go flash in the night," 12 Feb. 2020 Britain officially left the EU on Jan. 31 but was meant to have done so on previous occasions during 2019. Washington Post, "UK economy flat-lines in Q4 amid Brexit and election clouds," 11 Feb. 2020 Despite his busy schedule, Brad still makes time to visit his hometown and his family upon occasion. Heather Finn, Good Housekeeping, "No One Could Figure out Who Brad Pitt Was Sitting Next to at the Oscars," 10 Feb. 2020 Still, the wedding planning goes on—and will hopefully be a happy occasion for all. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "Princess Beatrice’s Royal Wedding: Everything We Know So Far," 6 Feb. 2020 Sanders addresses supporters at a rally in Ames on Jan. 26 Photograph by September Dawn Bottoms for TIME Trump and his allies took the occasion to gloat over the Democrats’ misfortune. Time, "Forget Iowa. The Democrats Now Have Bigger 2020 Problems," 6 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Matters become more sinister in Chapter II when Cassie returns to her old school for a confrontation with the dean (Connie Britton), who occasioned the girl’s departure from academia. Todd Mccarthy, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Promising Young Woman': Film Review | Sundance 2020," 26 Jan. 2020 Through quiet anomaly, Dashti’s still, silent and very deliberate pictures capture the desolation of displacement and the dismay occasioned by homecoming. Sebastian Smee, Washington Post, "It’s time we looked at Iran through the same lens as its best photographers," 15 Jan. 2020 Every visit to a friend's house, the market or workplace occasioned a walk. Dan Buettner, CNN, "A 'blue zones' diet: Live longer from what you eat," 3 Dec. 2019 The question that has occasioned the impeachment of Donald Trump is not whether the president is legitimate but whether his tribe is legitimate. Kevin D. Williamson, National Review, "Impeachment and the Broken Truce," 14 Nov. 2019 To what extent are his position on the sidewalk outside the museum and his blocked face an indication of residual bitterness at the shabby treatment by MoMA that occasioned his resignation in 1947? William Meyers, WSJ, "‘Eye to I: Self-Portraits From 1900 to Today’ Review: How Artists See Themselves," 19 Nov. 2018 Impeachment won’t occasion any significant new jurisprudence on executive privilege or the line between executive or legislative prerogatives. Rich Lowry, National Review, "The Unhistoric Impeachment," 13 Dec. 2019 The horoscope question in the poll was occasioned by the death of Don Larsen. The Washington Post, "Chatological Humor (Jan 7)," 7 Jan. 2020 The later chapters detail trips occasioned by literary and cultural conferences, of which Condé seems to have attended every one on earth. Julian Lucas, Harper's magazine, "New Books," 6 Jan. 2020

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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Time Traveler for occasion

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for occasion

Last Updated

16 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Occasion.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/occasioned. Accessed 20 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for occasion

occasion

noun
How to pronounce occasion (audio)

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
How to pronounce occasion (audio)

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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Comments on occasion

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