oc·cur | \ə-ˈkər \
occurred; occurring\ə-ˈkər-iŋ, -ˈkə-riŋ \

Definition of occur 

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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Angela Kerr, 51, was outside of the Dollar Tree talking with a security guard when the crashed occurred. Claire Morgan And Daniel Wilson, sacbee, "Six people injured after woman drives through south Sacramento storefront," 12 July 2018 Investigators said the girls’ mother was guiding the horse when the incident occurred. Char Adams, PEOPLE.com, "12-Year-Old California Girl Crushed to Death by Fallen Horse as Sister, 4, Fights for Her Life," 12 July 2018 John Paladino, 73, and Carole Paladino, 72, were the only occupants of the Newfield home when the blast occurred at 6:15 a.m. Saturday, the Gloucester County prosecutor's office said. Fox News, "Prosecutor: 2 dead in house blast, no foul play suspected," 7 July 2018 Back in February 2012, when the match occurred, the two Italian sides were competing for the Scudetto, and met at the San Siro for what was to be a crucial match in the title race. SI.com, "Italian Referee Says He Wanted to Award Sulley Muntari's Infamous AC Milan 'Ghost Goal'," 4 July 2018 Winslow, who started working at the facility April 26, was on the clock when those three thefts occurred. Elliot Hughes, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Woman accused from stealing from assisted living facility residents," 3 July 2018 The pair was in a parked car near Locust and Cypress around 6 a.m. when the shooting occurred, a sergeant said. Samantha Ketterer, Houston Chronicle, "Two injured in shooting outside house in Crosby," 29 June 2018 When a vacancy occurs because of a resignation, the governor has the power to fill that seat for the remainder of the term, according to state law. Morgan Watkins, The Courier-Journal, "Bevin gets to pick John Schnatter's replacement on U of L board," 13 July 2018 On average, this occurred once every eight weeks or so in the nineteen months before this particular neutrino was detected. Eoin O'carroll, The Christian Science Monitor, "Neutrino demonstration heralds a new way of observing the cosmos," 12 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'occur.' 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 occur

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for occur

Latin occurrere, from ob- in the way + currere to run — more at ob-, car

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Phrases Related to occur

occur to

Statistics for occur

Last Updated

10 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for occur

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

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More Definitions for occur



English Language Learners Definition of occur

: to happen

: to appear or exist : to be found


oc·cur | \ə-ˈkər \
occurred; occurring

Kids Definition of occur

1 : to come by or as if by chance : happen Success doesn't just occur, it is earned.

2 : to come into the mind It never occurred to me to ask.

3 : to be found or met with : appear It's a disease that occurs among cows.

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Comments on occur

What made you want to look up occur? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

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