occupy

verb
oc·​cu·​py | \ ˈä-kyə-ˌpī How to pronounce occupy (audio) \
occupied; occupying

Definition of occupy

transitive verb

1 : to engage the attention or energies of They occupied themselves with video games.
2a : to take up (a place or extent in space) this chair is occupied the fireplace will occupy this corner of the room
b : to take or fill (an extent in time) the hobby occupies all of my free time
3a : to take or hold possession or control of enemy troops occupied the ridge
b : to fill or perform the functions of (an office or position) will occupy the newly created office of chancellorCurrent Biography
4 : to reside in as an owner or tenant occupies an apartment on a two-year lease

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Other Words from occupy

occupier \ ˈä-​kyə-​ˌpī(-​ə)r How to pronounce occupy (audio) \ noun

Examples of occupy in a Sentence

They have occupied the apartment for three years. She occupies the house that her grandfather built 50 years ago. They own another house that they occupy only three months out of the year. They occupy the room next to ours. This region was once almost completely occupied by forests. Their house occupies a beautiful spot next to the ocean. Much of our time is occupied by answering questions from our customers. These questions have continued to occupy her mind.
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Recent Examples on the Web Goldenthal feels jazz is the foundation of the genres that now occupy a much larger swath of the cultural spotlight. Ed Masley, The Arizona Republic, "'It's really a model for living': Why jazz is as relevant as ever on International Jazz Day," 29 Apr. 2021 While this rethink was occurring, lab science was achieving the tools to characterize the microbiome, the films of bacteria and fungi that occupy the external and internal surfaces of everything in the world, including us. Maryn Mckenna, Wired, "Covid Lockdowns Prevented Other Infections. Is That Good?," 26 Apr. 2021 Starting a friendship that will occupy our hearts and minds until Zola comes out on June 30? Zoe Haylock, Vulture, "Zoë Kravitz and Taylour Paige Are ‘A Thing,’ Whatever That Means," 19 Apr. 2021 Many people who live nearby are essential workers who continued to commute to work, providing foot traffic to the businesses that occupy 175 storefronts between Jerome and Washington Avenues, the core of the district. New York Times, "Midtown Has Been Empty, but Other Retail Zones Have Bounced Back," 13 Apr. 2021 Those tanks that occupy a large space at the plant complex interfere with the safe and steady progress of the decommissioning, Economy and Industry Minister Hiroshi Kajiyama said. Author: Mari Yamaguchi, Anchorage Daily News, "Japan to start releasing Fukushima water into sea in 2 years," 13 Apr. 2021 The stock of a potential discount outlet would likely be similar to 4-Star, emphasizing smaller items that don’t occupy a lot of floor space, such as home goods, electronics, toys, baby products and kitchen items, the people said. Bloomberg Wire, Dallas News, "Amazon is considering home goods and electronics discount stores," 5 Apr. 2021 The stock of a potential discount outlet would likely be similar to 4-Star, emphasizing smaller items that don’t occupy a lot of floor space, such as home goods, electronics, toys, baby products and kitchen items, the people said. Fortune, "Amazon exploring opening outlets selling home goods, electronics," 1 Apr. 2021 In contrast, larger animals that occupy greater geographic ranges are more likely to be discovered, the researchers explain in a statement. Elizabeth Gamillo, Smithsonian Magazine, "This Map Shows You the Odds of Finding a New Species in Your Neighborhood," 24 Mar. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'occupy.' 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 occupy

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for occupy

Middle English occupien "to take possession of, hold, inhabit, take up space in, fill, keep (oneself) busy," borrowed from Anglo-French occuper, occupier, borrowed from Latin occupāre "to grasp, appropriate to oneself, take possession of, fill up (space, a position), forestall," from oc-, assimilated variant of ob- ob- + -cupāre, intensive derivative of capere "to take, seize, catch" — more at heave entry 1

Note: The source of the -i- in Anglo-French occupier and Middle English occupien, retained in Modern English, is unclear, as continental French has only occuper. The verb occupy, common in later Middle and early Modern English, was very infrequently used in the 17th and first two thirds of the 18th century; it has been suggested that this was due to the sense "to have sexual intercourse with (a woman)," which impinged by connotation on the less charged meanings and led to a taboo on any use of the word. When the socially unacceptable sense fell out of circulation occupy once more became a generally used word.

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Time Traveler for occupy

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for occupy

Last Updated

18 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Occupy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/occupy. Accessed 18 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for occupy

occupy

verb

English Language Learners Definition of occupy

somewhat formal : to live in (a house, apartment, etc.)
: to fill or be in (a place or space)
: to fill or use (an amount of time)

occupy

verb
oc·​cu·​py | \ ˈä-kyə-ˌpī How to pronounce occupy (audio) \
occupied; occupying

Kids Definition of occupy

1 : to fill up (an extent of time or space) Sports occupy our spare time. A liter of water occupies 1000 cubic centimeters of space.
2 : to take up the attention or energies of Reading occupied me most of the summer.
3 : to live in as an owner or tenant Her sisters occupied the house for three years.
4 : to take or hold possession of Enemy troops occupied the town.
5 : to perform the functions of She occupies a position of authority.

Comments on occupy

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