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 The North Carolina results are the occasion for a useful thought experiment. E.j. Dionne Jr., The Mercury News, "Dionne: ‘Trump 2024’ tweet, N. Carolina vote show extreme division," 12 Sep. 2019 There wasn't an occasion too formal or an event too dour that Joe didn't interrupt with his apnea and voluminous snoring. courant.com, "Joseph Heller," 12 Sep. 2019 And this could be the rare occasion when the Tick can't glean a pithy moral from the adventure. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Ars celebrates 25 years of The Tick by picking our top ten favorite episodes," 10 Sep. 2019 Combustion Introduction There are many occasions to light candles. Svenja Lohner, Scientific American, "Make a Candle Flame Jump," 5 Sep. 2019 If a wild theory recently floated in Biology Direct is correct, something like that might indeed happen on rare occasions: Cancers that learn how to roam between hosts may gradually evolve into their own multicellular species. Quanta Magazine, "Can New Species Evolve From Cancers? Maybe. Here’s How.," 19 Aug. 2019 As soon as those guys get competition, all of a sudden their game rises to the occasion. Dane Mizutani, Twin Cities, "Vikings still won’t say if Kaare Vedvik is a kicker, a punter … or both," 15 Aug. 2019 Election campaigns, especially those that begin as prematurely as this one, are rarely the optimal occasions for intelligently original use of language. Conrad Black, National Review, "Today’s Campaign Rhetoric Is Not Exactly Cicero," 13 Aug. 2019 The occasion was also — given the troubled politics, the troubled economy and the shooting on Tuesday of a U.S. citizen and human rights advocate in the Philippines — just a little apprehensive. Steve Rubenstein, SFChronicle.com, "Filipinos celebrate annual Pistahan festival in SF," 10 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb And in 2016, Hillary Clinton’s campaign occasioned a vast wave of celebrity content. New York Times, "What Can a Star Like Cardi B Do for a Politician Like Sanders?," 11 Sep. 2019 Despite its flaws, the 20th anniversary of Friends occasioned a flurry of positive reminiscences. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "The Mysteriously Enduring Appeal of Friends," 10 Sep. 2019 Assorted independent movements and personal goals converged to occasion the arrival of young black filmmakers outside the Hollywood system, but Ugwu’s advocacy journalism caters to a generational ignorance that is superficial and uninformed. Armond White, National Review, "The New York Times’ Black-Film Roundtable Ignores Black American Excellence," 10 July 2019 That has occasioned drama in several AfD state associations. The Economist, "Germany’s far right: strong in the east, weak in the west," 18 July 2019 The article occasioned a slight back-and-forth between policy gurus on Twitter. Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, "Service Jobs and Democracy," 16 Aug. 2019 The fifth shot always occasioned the strangest of the reactions. Arna Bontemps Hemenway, The Atlantic, "Wolves of Karelia," 19 July 2019 But so great was America’s productive capacity that the great storm occasioned little more than a ripple in the development of our build-up. David Von Drehle, The Denver Post, "Guest Commentary: United States lifted the world without losing ground," 5 June 2019 Outsiders to Rightworld, and even some insiders, were mystified by the explosion of conservative commentary occasioned by New York Post op-ed editor Sohrab Ahmari’s attack on our colleague David French. Ramesh Ponnuru, National Review, "The Right Liberalism," 11 July 2019

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

26 Oct 2019

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
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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