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 occupier (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

Detergent-eating lizards take up residence behind the washing machines, laying eggs in foam and nesting in lint, while a swarm of Hitchcockian birds occupies the south side of the factory. Julian Lucas, Harper's magazine, "New Books," 16 Sep. 2019 The show will air Monday through Friday, at 2 p.m. ET on NBC, in the slot previously occupied by Steve Harvey's program. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "'The Kelly Clarkson Show' Premieres Today—Here's How to Watch the First Episode," 9 Sep. 2019 But what of comments or behavior that, while insulting, arguably occupy a grey zone? Sarah Todd, Quartz at Work, "Is it ever okay to express your anger by emailing someone else’s boss?," 27 Aug. 2019 Anna Sage, the landlord of the northside Chicago apartment building occupied by Dillinger and his girlfriend, tipped off Chicago FBI Chief Melvin Purvis that Dillinger would be taking her and Hamilton to see a movie at the Biograph Theater. Dawn Mitchell, Indianapolis Star, "John Dillinger's last meal included red peppers. What we know about the outlaw's autopsy and burial.," 2 Aug. 2019 The new store is an upgrade on the old awkwardly shaped unit Primark had occupied in the city since 2002. Washington Post, "Department Stores Are Dead? Nobody Told Primark," 18 Sep. 2019 That period came on the heels of a strong Aug. 24, which saw 82.8% of all hotel rooms in Orlando occupied. Marco Santana, orlandosentinel.com, "Hurricane Dorian prompts 40% drop in Orlando hotel stays," 16 Sep. 2019 The roster spot Stick occupies isn’t insignificant for a playoff contender that’s dealing with several injuries (which can make roster spots more valuable). San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: TD catch by cancer survivor Quessenberry tops Week 2 NFL-San Diego highlights," 16 Sep. 2019 The upstairs-downstairs dynamic in an Arab-Israeli context is, of course, already familiar from superior works such as Saverio Costanzo’s Locarno-winning debut, Private, in which Israeli soldiers occupied the second floor of a Palestinian home. Boyd Van Hoeij, The Hollywood Reporter, "'All This Victory' ('Jeedar El Sot'): Film Review | Venice 2019," 15 Sep. 2019

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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Statistics for occupy

Last Updated

9 Oct 2019

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

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.

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More from Merriam-Webster on occupy

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with occupy

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for occupy

Spanish Central: Translation of occupy

Nglish: Translation of occupy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of occupy for Arabic Speakers

Comments on occupy

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