oc·​cu·​pa·​tion | \ ˌä-kyə-ˈpā-shən How to pronounce occupation (audio) \

Definition of occupation

1a : an activity in which one engages Pursuing pleasure has been his major occupation.
b : the principal business of one's life : vocation Teaching was her occupation.
2a : the possession, use, or settlement of land : occupancy the last of the historic private houses in the metropolis … still in the occupation of its hereditary ownerSidney (Australia) Bull.
b : the holding of an office or position it is only … the occupation … of two offices at the same time that offends public policy— W. D. Miller
3a : the act or process of taking possession of a place or area : seizure Spain's occupation of the island
b : the holding and control of an area by a foreign military force the Roman occupation of Britain
c : the military force occupying a country or the policies carried out by it The occupation addressed the concerns of the local population.

Choose the Right Synonym for occupation

work, employment, occupation, calling, pursuit, métier, business mean a specific sustained activity engaged in especially in earning one's living. work may apply to any purposeful activity whether remunerative or not. her work as a hospital volunteer employment implies work for which one has been engaged and is being paid by an employer. your employment with this firm is hereby terminated occupation implies work in which one engages regularly especially as a result of training. his occupation as a trained auto mechanic calling applies to an occupation viewed as a vocation or profession. the ministry seemed my true calling pursuit suggests a trade, profession, or avocation followed with zeal or steady interest. her family considered medicine the only proper pursuit métier implies a calling or pursuit for which one believes oneself to be especially fitted. acting was my one and only métier business suggests activity in commerce or the management of money and affairs. the business of managing a hotel

Examples of occupation in a Sentence

He is thinking about changing occupations and becoming a police officer. “What's your occupation?” “I'm a stay-at-home mom.” Swimming was their main occupation at summer camp. Some evidence of human occupation was found in these caves. The offices are ready for occupation.
Recent Examples on the Web The 134 sites correspond to Indigenous settlements that date to Roman occupation. Ashley Strickland, CNN, 26 May 2022 While most local activists took the occupation as an unmitigated success, to Tubbs the victory felt empty. New York Times, 26 May 2022 After the fall of France and the German occupation of the capital, Benjamin had escaped south to the unoccupied zone. Adam Kirsch, The New York Review of Books, 25 May 2022 The tech industry trade group TIAComp reported that tech occupation job postings through the first four months of 2022 are up 40% year-over-year—a rate that will come down as hiring freezes take effect. Jacob Carpenter, Fortune, 25 May 2022 At an appearance with Ophuls in 2009, Jean-Luc Godard, in an unusually polite mood, paid him high praise for The Sorrow and the Pity, which explores the German occupation of France through a portrait of one city, Clermont-Ferrand. Rachel Kushner, Harper’s Magazine , 25 May 2022 Finicum was part of the group led by Ammon Bundy that staged an armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in 2016. Bryan Schott, The Salt Lake Tribune, 24 May 2022 Officials say some 1,000 civilians lost their lives in the Kyiv suburbs during the Russian onslaught and occupation. Los Angeles Times, 23 May 2022 The other would add a $500 occupation fee for businesses that sell tobacco products. The Arkansas Democrat-gazette, Arkansas Online, 22 May 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'occupation.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of occupation

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for occupation

Middle English occupacioun "possession of land, engagement in an activity, vocation, concern," borrowed from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French occupaciun, borrowed from Latin occupātiōn-, occupātiō "seizing possession, preoccupation," from occupāre "to grasp, take possession of, fill up (space, a position)" + -tiōn- -tiō, suffix of verbal action — more at occupy

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

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Last Updated

28 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Occupation.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/occupation. Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for occupation


oc·​cu·​pa·​tion | \ ˌä-kyə-ˈpā-shən How to pronounce occupation (audio) \

Kids Definition of occupation

1 : a person's business or profession His uncle was a tailor by occupation.
2 : the act of using or taking possession and control of a place Human occupation of this area began thousands of years ago.

More from Merriam-Webster on occupation

Nglish: Translation of occupation for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of occupation for Arabic Speakers


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