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 restaurant will take over the 6,700-square-foot building formerly occupied by Famous Dave’s. Anna Muckerman, baltimoresun.com, "New restaurant Jose Tequilas Mexican Grill and Cantina coming to Owings Mills Square," 13 July 2018 Keystone Bar and Grill's Mac Shack Work is underway at the new Keystone Bar and Grill's Mac Shack at 5655 Harrison Ave., the space formerly occupied by Tom and Chee. Jennie Key, Cincinnati.com, "Lots of options: West Siders have eat-out options and more are coming," 13 July 2018 New tenants such as the Hartford Healthcare Federal Credit Union and greenbox-is, an office designer, are filling some of space formerly occupied by CREC. Kenneth R. Gosselin, courant.com, "Renovations Begin In Last Major Structure At Hartford's Colt Complex," 11 July 2018 Brooklyn was the name of a historically African-American neighborhood in uptown that sat on land now largely occupied by local government buildings and a quiet park. Ely Portillo, charlotteobserver, "Massive redevelopment in uptown Charlotte takes a step closer to becoming reality," 10 July 2018 Rickover Naval Academy will move into the Portage Park building formerly occupied by Luther North College Prep high school, which closed last year, according to the plan. John Byrne, chicagotribune.com, "Emanuel wants to build new Near West Side high school, according to budget plan," 6 July 2018 Along Shanghai’s Huangpu River, the Bund waterfront features a long stretch of Chinese flags in an area once occupied by the British after the Opium Wars. Michael D. Breidenbach, The Atlantic, "Raising the American Flag Made in China," 4 July 2018 All existing library services at St. X will continue, but some areas currently occupied by books will be turned into a student group study spaces. Zahria Rogers, The Courier-Journal, "St. Xavier High School submits plans for $6 million library renovation," 3 July 2018 Shuttered stores once occupied by the company, now in bankruptcy proceedings, helped drive the national retail vacancy rate to 10.2 percent, up two-tenths of a percent from the first quarter and the highest level since 2014. BostonGlobe.com, "Barnes & Noble fires CEO for violating company policies," 3 July 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

25 Sep 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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