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 Commissioner Tommy Calvert took the occasion to express alarm over the resignation last week of Dawn Emerick, director of the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District. Scott Huddleston, ExpressNews.com, "Bexar County commissioner says ‘government has failed’ in pandemic response," 30 June 2020 On Monday, owner Charles Colthurst was the first person to kiss the famous block of limestone, marking the occasion by wearing the jersey of Liverpool Football Club, which last week won its first English league title in 30 years. Washington Post, "Kissing of Blarney Stone resumes as Ireland eases lockdown," 29 June 2020 Ronnie Crocker, who spent years writing about beer for the Houston Chronicle and now is the editor of the Beaumont Enterprise, remembers the stampede on the rare occasion an Astro came through with a timely homer. Matt Young, Houston Chronicle, "The legend of the Astros' free beer 'Foamer Nights'," 29 June 2020 Even Kate Middleton's floral dress perfectly suited the occasion as the brand is know for its sustainable fashion. Natasha Reda, Glamour, "Kate Middleton Got Her Hands Dirty Planting Sunflowers for a Great Cause," 28 June 2020 Mam-Luft has taken the occasion of the merger to restructure the administrative and artistic management of the company. David Lyman, The Enquirer, "Contemporary Dance Theater to merge with MamLuft&Co. Dance," 25 June 2020 The special occasion comes after Joe celebrated his first Father's Day in Italy following his release from ICE custody late last year. Robyn Merrett, PEOPLE.com, "Teresa Giudice Celebrates Daughter Audriana’s 5th Grade Graduation: 'You Are Absolutely Perfect'," 23 June 2020 The couple had been planning their big day since late 2018, and Genny spent most of last year handcrafting blue-and-white ceramic coasters as favors to commemorate the occasion. Matt Villano, CNN, "Virtual weddings done right by couples undeterred by the pandemic," 22 June 2020 Saturday’s rally was significant first as a dangerous stunt given the coronavirus’ spread in Oklahoma, and second as the occasion for the first major speech of Trump’s re-election campaign. Osita Nwanevu, The New Republic, "This Is How Trump Plans to Beat Biden," 21 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The pandemic is occasioning a reassessment of the fundamental importance of fandom to sports. Danny Chau, The Atlantic, "Athletes During the Pandemic Are Learning What Fans Have Always Known," 20 May 2020 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

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

3 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Occasion.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/occasion. Accessed 5 Jul. 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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