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

The small percentage of adoptions that occur across state lines are governed by the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children, a nearly 60-year-old agreement intended to ensure continuity of care. Joe Heim And Julie Tate, chicagotribune.com, "As children begged for help, adoption system failed them," 13 July 2018 The small percentage of adoptions that occur across state lines are governed by the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children, a nearly 60-year-old agreement intended to ensure continuity of care. Washington Post, "Abuse, neglect and a system that failed: The tragic lives of the Hart children," 12 July 2018 So begins a letter signed by seven members of Congress sent to President Donald Trump, the latest salvo in a campaign to indict Castro for deaths that occurred 22 years ago. Mimi Whitefield, miamiherald, "Seven members of Congress say now is the time to indict Raúl Castro," 12 July 2018 The immunity means lawmakers are protected from arrest for speech and debate that occurs in the course of doing their jobs, an Arizona legislative manual says. Rachel Leingang, azcentral, "Video: Arizona lawmaker caught speeding says he drives as fast as 140 mph, claims immunity," 12 July 2018 The video and sketch show a suspect in a separate carjacking that occurred Friday in Forest Park, Atlanta police Sgt. Campbell Lutz, ajc, "Cops say new video, sketch connected to shooting outside wedding reception," 12 July 2018 Hugin, who is challenging Sen. Bob Menendez (D) for his seat in New Jersey, has been criticized for price increases that occurred at Celgene under his leadership. Lev Facher, STAT, "Hugin comes under fire in New Jersey Senate campaign ad for hiking drug prices," 12 July 2018 Until that occurs, the facility is operating on temporary licenses issued by the commission, and the most recent of those technically expired Monday. Gregory Tejeda, Post-Tribune, "Gary recycling facility gets 6-month permit extension; protests continue," 12 July 2018 This total lunar eclipse will also be a blood moon, a phenomenon that occurs when the eclipse casts a shadow and causes the moon to look reddish or coppery in hue. Southern Living, "July's Blood Moon Will Be the Longest Lunar Eclipse in 100 Years," 11 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

12 Sep 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).


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