occur

verb

oc·​cur ə-ˈkər How to pronounce occur (audio)
occurred; occurring ə-ˈkər-iŋ How to pronounce occur (audio)
-ˈkə-riŋ

intransitive verb

1
: to be found or met with : appear
This bird occurs in New England in the spring.
2
: to come into existence : happen
The accident occurred at 5 p.m.
3
: to come to mind
an idea that has occurred to me

Did you know?

The Meaning of Occur and the Spelling of Its Forms

Occur has three meanings. It means "to be found or met with; appear," as in "a phenomenon that occurs around the world"; it means "to come into existence; happen," as in "an event that occurred on Friday"; and it means "to come to mind," as in "it occurs to me that the word is quite useful."

It's an unusual-looking word, being so small but with two c's up against each other, and then just a simple r at the end. The r is doubled, though, for the past tense: occurred. And the double r continues in the present participle: occurring.

Examples of occur in a Sentence

The event is scheduled to occur at noon tomorrow. No one was ready for what was about to occur. There's a chance that a similar event will occur in the future. The disease tends to occur in children under the age of five. The plant occurs naturally throughout South America.
Recent Examples on the Web Most miscarriages occur during the first trimester, says Dr. Woodall. Chaunie Brusie, Rn, Parents, 23 Feb. 2024 Both are scheduled to occur at 8:30 a.m. at the Maricopa County Superior Courthouse in Downtown Phoenix. Madeline Nguyen, The Arizona Republic, 23 Feb. 2024 Each year, the date on which the Lunar New Year occurs varies. Marina Johnson, The Indianapolis Star, 23 Feb. 2024 Plus, the fast charging will now allow for racing to occur on more permanent tracks along with street courses. Maury Brown, Forbes, 23 Feb. 2024 Investigators discovered that Smith, a South African immigrant, had allegedly stayed at the TownePlace Suites by Marriott where the murder occurred from Sept. 2 to Sept. 4, 2019. Christine Pelisek, Peoplemag, 23 Feb. 2024 There, the total eclipse will occur around 3:09 p.m. Grace Tucker, The Enquirer, 23 Feb. 2024 Beginning in July 2023, the store managers hatched a plan to have two other people commit fake armed robberies about once a month at their store, alternating who would be working when the robberies occurred, officials said. Irene Wright, Miami Herald, 23 Feb. 2024 Landslides generally occur during earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, or massive rainfall that make a sloped section of land like a cliff unstable. Laura Baisas, Popular Science, 22 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'occur.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

borrowed from Latin occurrere "to run to meet, confront in a hostile manner, be met, present itself (to the mind)," from oc-, assimilated variant of ob- ob- + currere "to run, roll, move swiftly" — more at current entry 1

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of occur was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near occur

Cite this Entry

“Occur.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/occur. Accessed 3 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

occur

verb
oc·​cur ə-ˈkər How to pronounce occur (audio)
occurred; occurring -ˈkər-iŋ How to pronounce occur (audio)
1
: to be found or met with : appear
plants that occur in meadows
2
: to come into existence : happen
an accident occurred on the way to school
success doesn't just occur, it is earned
3
: to come into the mind
it just occurred to me
Etymology

from Latin occurrere "to be found or met with, appear," literally, "to run up against," from oc-, ob- "in the way" and currere "to run" — related to current, incur

More from Merriam-Webster on occur

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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