verb oc·cu·py \ ˈä-kyə-ˌpī \
|Updated on: 14 Aug 2018

Definition of occupy

occupied; occupying
1 : to engage the attention or energies of
  • They occupied themselves with video games.
2 a : 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
3 a : 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 chancellor
  • Current Biography
4 : to reside in as an owner or tenant
  • occupies an apartment on a two-year lease


play \ˈä-kyə-ˌpī(-ə)r\ noun

Examples of occupy in a Sentence

  1. They have occupied the apartment for three years.

  2. She occupies the house that her grandfather built 50 years ago.

  3. They own another house that they occupy only three months out of the year.

  4. They occupy the room next to ours.

  5. This region was once almost completely occupied by forests.

  6. Their house occupies a beautiful spot next to the ocean.

  7. Much of our time is occupied by answering questions from our customers.

  8. These questions have continued to occupy her mind.

Recent Examples of occupy from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of 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

occupy Synonyms

OCCUPY Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of occupy for English Language Learners

  • : 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 Defined for Kids


verb oc·cu·py \ ˈä-kyə-ˌpī \

Definition of occupy for Students

occupied; occupying
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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