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

Though Selena never confirmed she and Samuel were actually dating, romance rumors were sparked after paparazzi captured photos of them holding hands on more than one occasion. Jasmine Gomez, Seventeen, "Everything You Need To Know About Selena Gomez's Love Life," 4 Apr. 2019 When the renovation was finally complete, the couple marked the occasion—naturally—with a big party that coincided with Rosena’s birthday. Gisela Williams, ELLE Decor, "A Marrakech Home is Transformed with a Modern New Layout Made for Entertaining," 18 Mar. 2019 On more than one occasion, Gus has hidden beneath a blanket, secretly indulging in Minecraft. Steve Brykman, Ars Technica, "Forget Fortnite—my son is still obsessed with Minecraft," 16 Dec. 2018 So let’s mark the occasion with a selection of quotes from both sides. Alan Murray, Fortune, "Happy Trade War, Pruitt Pruned, Cohen Blocked: CEO Daily for July 6, 2018," 6 July 2018 Only on one occasion did Roberts join with the liberal justices in a 5-4 decision, a ruling that said police generally must have warrants to get telecommunications companies' records showing where people have used their cellphones. CBS News, "Chief Justice Roberts, the new man in the middle?," 30 June 2018 Their photographer began snapping a few pictures of them in the hotel room to commemorate the occasion before pausing to switch lenses. Blair Donovan, Country Living, "'American Idol' Stars Gabby Barrett and Cade Foehner Are Engaged," 25 Mar. 2019 According to Us Weekly, the shopping trip was more for her daughter—still, J.Lo dressed for the occasion with her best high-low outfit. Glamour, "Jennifer Lopez Completed a $200K Outfit With $60 Sunglasses," 25 Mar. 2019 Ronald Sullivan, presumably an excellent lawyer, prefers claiming victimhood to using the occasion as a teaching moment and defending the constitutional right of anyone accused to competent legal counsel. WSJ, "Harvard Should Be Crimson With Chagrin," 24 Mar. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In my view, that critical national security need outweighs the impact on privacy occasioned by this program. Dan Sewell, The Seattle Times, "Kavanaugh’s support for surveilling Americans raises concern," 27 Aug. 2018 In my view, that critical national security need outweighs the impact on privacy occasioned by this program. Dan Sewell, The Seattle Times, "Kavanaugh’s support for surveilling Americans raises concern," 27 Aug. 2018 In my view, that critical national security need outweighs the impact on privacy occasioned by this program. Dan Sewell, The Seattle Times, "Kavanaugh’s support for surveilling Americans raises concern," 27 Aug. 2018 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

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

13 Apr 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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