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.

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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

Hintz, whose main occupation was at Milwaukee Plate Glass, was looking for something a little different to do. Jim Riccioli, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Boomerangs Bar & Grill, a new sports bar, opens in downtown Waukesha," 3 Sep. 2019 But there’s one category of labor that tends to get overlooked — the uncompensated labor of moms and dads whose primary occupation is child-rearing and managing their households. Christopher Ingraham, Washington Post, "A Labor Day tribute to unpaid labor," 3 Sep. 2019 The occupation of France and Poland was incomparable. Marc Santora, New York Times, "In Poland, Where History Is a Weapon, Leaders Commemorate World War II," 1 Sep. 2019 The purpose of the airport occupation was both to disrupt the day-to-day functioning of one of the world’s most important financial centers, and to raise the visibility of the protests to an international level. Ian Bremmer, Time, "What Happens Next in the Hong Kong Protests," 16 Aug. 2019 The occupation of hundreds of demonstrators was carried off with little incident and flights in and out continued to operate as normal. Eamon Barrett, Fortune, "Protesters Return to Hong Kong Airport to Apologize for Flight Chaos," 14 Aug. 2019 The lonely gravedigging job was also altered, with Liv assigned the white-collar, plot-friendly and equally brain-accessible occupation of assistant medical examiner for the Seattle PD. Tribune News Service, cleveland.com, "Captain Comics: Farewell ‘iZombie’ and ‘Swamp Thing’," 9 Aug. 2019 Faust had worthy political causes, too: to improve the schools, to defeat the occupations of foreign tyrants, to Build That Wall! Kevin D. Williamson, National Review, "The Infernal Art of the Deal," 6 Aug. 2019 January 1948: India takes the Kashmir issue to the United Nations (UN), raising concerns over Pakistan’s forced occupation of parts of Kashmir. Manavi Kapur, Quartz India, "A timeline of key events that shaped the unique identity of Kashmir within India," 5 Aug. 2019

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 "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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Statistics for occupation

Last Updated

9 Sep 2019

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 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.

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Comments on occupation

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miscellaneous remnants or debris

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