oc·​cu·​pa·​tion | \ˌä-kyə-ˈpā-shən \

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.

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Other Words from occupation

occupational \ ˌä-​kyə-​ˈpā-​shnəl , -​shə-​nᵊl \ adjective
occupationally adverb

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Many of them take time from their regular occupations to spend long days working for or at the Fair. The Aegis, "Really, 20 years? [Editorial]," 13 July 2018 Ammon Bundy — the son of one of the movement's leader, Cliven Bundy — cited it in his 2016 occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Gregory Korte, USA TODAY, "President Trump pardons Oregon cattle ranchers whose case inspired takeover of wildlife refuge," 10 July 2018 Buy Photo With electricity cut off and another heatwave coming, the ICE protestors who have taken up residence under tarps in front of City Hall are searching for ways to safely sustain their occupation. Philly.com, "ICE protestors outside City Hall battle heat, loss of electricity," 9 July 2018 The first Basques immigrated to Idaho in the late 19th century to work as miners but soon turned to sheep herding as their primary occupation. Joanne Dibona, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Boise trip is a capital idea," 5 July 2018 His Facebook pages, which have since been taken down, listed his occupation as a chef. NBC News, "Demetrius Pitts charged in Cleveland bomb plot after FBI sting," 2 July 2018 The arrest warrant listed his occupation as a jeweler. Paige Fry And Rosemary Sobol, chicagotribune.com, "How 2 diamonds worth nearly $160,000 were stolen in plain sight from Jewelers Row," 28 June 2018 Jail booking logs list his full name as Christian Hiran Camposesquivel and identify his occupation as a migrant worker. Sam Stanton, sacbee, "As wildfires empty out neighborhoods, strangers are found slipping in, authorities say," 26 June 2018 Trump suggested that Russia be allowed back into the global group despite their continued occupation of Crimea. Jennifer Hansler, CNN, "Trump again calls for readmitting Russia to G7, blames Obama for Crimea's annexation," 9 June 2018

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.

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First Known Use of occupation

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

History and Etymology for occupation

Middle English occupacioun, from Anglo-French occupaciun, from Latin occupation-, occupatio, from occupare

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Statistics for occupation

Last Updated

4 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for occupation

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

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More Definitions for occupation



English Language Learners Definition of occupation

: the work that a person does : a person's job or profession

: an activity that a person spends time doing

: the activity of living in or using a particular place


oc·​cu·​pa·​tion | \ˌä-kyə-ˈpā-shən \

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.

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


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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