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

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web It’s now a mix of discount stores such as Burlington and Ross Dress for Less, Veterans Affairs clinics, medical offices and mom-and-pop stores that occupy an area called the Little Shops at Wonderland. Madison Iszler, San Antonio Express-News, 17 Nov. 2021 Kischer-Lepper said the city requested any business benefiting from this particular zoning change must occupy at least 1.125 million square feet within the city limits, while Amazon suggested 500,000 square feet. Steve Sadin, chicagotribune.com, 16 Nov. 2021 Nava said the new hospital — with more than 600 healthcare workers on staff — wants to be known for its women’s services, which occupy a full floor. Cindy Krischer Goodman, sun-sentinel.com, 15 Nov. 2021 Beyond the stunning rooms, the building will also be home to Working From_, which will occupy five floors of the building. Stacey Leasca, Travel + Leisure, 15 Nov. 2021 To the flinty salts who occupy these rusting tugboats and de-masted sloops, Richardson Bay is sacred, a last bastion of living free on the water in a Bay Area of Apple Stores and $3,000-a-month studio apartments. Jack Flemming, Los Angeles Times, 13 Nov. 2021 Unfortunately, that meant the batteries occupy most of the trunk space. Bryan Campbell, Forbes, 12 Nov. 2021 That is a sign that England’s current elite, perhaps, occupy rather too much conceptual space in soccer’s never-ending discourse. New York Times, 12 Nov. 2021 Another hundred or so family members, each carrying a single red rose, were last the enter the Faith Center and occupy the first three rows of seats. Eileen Kelley, Anchorage Daily News, 10 Nov. 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.

See More

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.

Learn More About occupy

Time Traveler for occupy

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near occupy

occupiable

occupy

occur

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for occupy

Last Updated

26 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Occupy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/occupy. Accessed 27 Nov. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for occupy

occupy

verb

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)

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.

More from Merriam-Webster on occupy

Nglish: Translation of occupy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of occupy for Arabic Speakers

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet pasta spelling help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!