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)

Keep scrolling for more

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 And on at least one occasion, effort appeared to be lacking. Kent Somers, azcentral, "Is Arizona Cardinals' Patrick Peterson ready for a big year after two tumultuous seasons?," 31 May 2020 In Einstein’s special theory of relativity, our precious unit of time was not the same on one occasion as in the next. Popular Science, "Time isn’t real. Here’s how people capitalized on that.," 30 May 2020 Images of mine have been featured in national publications on occasion. Marc Duvoisin, ExpressNews.com, "The story behind the viral photo of cars parked bumper-to-bumper for food from the San Antonio Food Bank during coronavirus shutdowns, shot by an Express-News photographer," 14 May 2020 Yet even Espinoza backslides, on one occasion disappearing for a time back into narcotics and then turning to rehab. Caroline Fraser, The New York Review of Books, "When Will We Care About Domestic Violence?," 13 May 2020 On at least one previous occasion Police Chief Thomas Poellot had to separate the two after a heated disagreement at a common council meeting. Erik S. Hanley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "A Cudahy alderman was cited for fighting with the city's mayor and throwing him against a car," 7 May 2020 His weapons were his voice, his defiance and, on occasion, his middle finger. Paul Schleis, cincinnati.com, "Kent State shootings: Jeffrey Miller despised violence. He died in a hail of gunfire," 4 May 2020 President Trump has been accused of worse than what Biden is alleged to have done, and on more than one occasion, yet largely skated from serious scrutiny. Ryan Cooper, TheWeek, "The angst over Joe Biden's assault allegation has an easy resolution," 2 May 2020 Bell could play Dietrich at second base and Moustakas at first base and use Votto to DH on occasion. John Fay, Cincinnati.com, "DH will likely be universal when baseball returns, and that's a good thing for the 2020 Cincinnati Reds," 29 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Well before the #MeToo era, Allen’s relationship with Previn occasioned a reevaluation of his work. Rumaan Alam, The New Republic, "Woody Allen’s Memoir Is Shrouded in Secrecy. Why?," 1 Apr. 2020 Some are still very much with us, like Thatcher’s growing anxiety over the impact that movement toward European integration would have on Britain’s sovereignty, an issue that split her party and cabinet and occasioned her downfall. Benjamin Schwarz, New York Times, "Seeing Margaret Thatcher Whole," 12 Nov. 2019 For lots of people, the coronavirus pandemic has occasioned a reconsideration of a former frenetic way of life and a re-embrace of simple satisfactions: making bread, noticing moments of quotidian beauty. Meghan Cox Gurdon, WSJ, "Children’s Books: Grazie Mille, Tomie dePaola," 10 Apr. 2020 My view is, Biden will occasion plenty of opportunities for criticism, mockery, and attack. Jay Nordlinger, National Review, "Wanted for genocide, &c.," 11 Mar. 2020 And so Trump’s victory in the Electoral College occasioned a moral and spiritual crisis among his rivals, who believe themselves and their class to be entitled to political power. Kevin D. Williamson, National Review, "Impeachment and the Broken Truce," 14 Nov. 2019 The chance, this time, is the legitimately unprecedented situation occasioned by the pandemic spread of the novel coronavirus. Bonnie Kristian, TheWeek, "Beware the emergency power grab," 23 Mar. 2020 One by-product of the newer emergency—the one occasioned by the pandemic—is that the anticipated demonstrations and rallies, which made the post-election moment seem so dangerous, feel contained, even if the virus is not. Bernard Avishai, The New Yorker, "In Israel, an Unprecedented Political Crisis Is Compounded by the Coronavirus—and Netanyahu Is Benefitting," 19 Mar. 2020 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

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about occasion

Time Traveler for occasion

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for occasion

Last Updated

7 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Occasion.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/occasion. Accessed 7 Jun. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on occasion

What made you want to look up occasion? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

May 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a blooming wisteria tree
  • Which is a synonym of exiguous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!