oc·​cu·​py | \ˈä-kyə-ˌpī \
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 \ 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

The organization is leaving its building after a dispute with the city over whether or not the building was safe to be occupied. Steve Lord, Aurora Beacon-News, "Culture Stock leaves downtown Aurora building with future site unknown," 13 July 2018 Continued monitoring then further limits the closure to the dates when the nest is occupied. Ula Chrobak, Outside Online, "We're Overprotecting Birds at the Expense of Climbers," 12 July 2018 Arsenal fans showed some excitement over the signing of Greenwood, but the vast majority of Gunners fans are more occupied with the signing of Lucas Torreira. SI.com, "16-Year-Old Sam Greenwood Confirms Move to Arsenal From Sunderland on Instagram," 11 July 2018 Even when Latvia was occupied by foreign powers and not allowed to fly its flag, the tradition continued. Marc Santora, New York Times, "Trump Derides NATO as ‘Obsolete.’ Baltic Nations See It Much Differently.," 10 July 2018 The home, in a neighborhood northeast of Center Street and University Drive in Mesa, was heavily damaged and could not be occupied, Smith said. Perry Vandell, azcentral, "Mesa woman rescued after tree crashes onto home during storm," 9 July 2018 There are no signs, nothing to indicate the building is occupied. Washington Post, "2 cities share name, but 1 is in big trouble," 6 July 2018 The historic Sadie Upton Vineyard is off to one side, and his house was occupied by such valley winemakers as Jeff Runquist and Jeff Myers (Terra d’Oro) before Sobon bought it in 1983. Mike Dunne, sacbee, "Shenandoah Valley’s newest winery Paul J. Wines recognizes the old," 4 July 2018 About a third of the units have been leased, and a fourth are already occupied, says community manager Nicole Neely. Sarah Gish, kansascity, "Saltwater pool, gym, dog spa: Tour downtown KC's new Crossroads Westside Apartments," 27 June 2018

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, occupy, from Anglo-French occupier, occuper, from Latin occupare, from ob- toward + -cupare (akin to capere to seize) — more at ob-, heave

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Statistics for occupy

Last Updated

6 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for occupy

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

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More Definitions for occupy



English Language Learners Definition of occupy

: to live in (a house, apartment, etc.)

: to fill or be in (a place or space)

: to fill or use (an amount of time)


oc·​cu·​py | \ˈä-kyə-ˌpī \
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.

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Comments on occupy

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