oc·​cur·​rence | \ə-ˈkər-ən(t)s, -ˈkə-rən(t)s\

Definition of occurrence 

1 : something that occurs a startling occurrence Lightning is a natural occurrence.

2 : the action or fact of happening or occurring often used with of the repeated occurrence of petty theft in the locker room

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Choose the Right Synonym for occurrence

occurrence, event, incident, episode, circumstance mean something that happens or takes place. occurrence may apply to a happening without intent, volition, or plan. an encounter that was a chance occurrence event usually implies an occurrence of some importance and frequently one having antecedent cause. the events following the assassination incident suggests an occurrence of brief duration or secondary importance. a minor wartime incident episode stresses the distinctiveness or apartness of an incident. a brief romantic episode in a life devoted to work circumstance implies a specific detail attending an action or event as part of its setting or background. couldn't recall the exact circumstances

Examples of occurrence in a Sentence

Getting headaches has become a common occurrence for her. the recent occurrences of the disease Lightning is a natural occurrence.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The real danger doesn’t come from just one instance of oxygen deprivation, but from the fact that this is becoming an annual occurrence. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Annual 'Suffocations' Are the Forest Fires of the Ocean," 30 Oct. 2018 An in-law at an official appearance isn’t exactly an everyday occurrence. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "Is Meghan Markle’s Mother, Doria Ragland, Moving to London?," 20 Sep. 2018 Calls for his release using the hashtag #freeariel spread on social media, an unusual occurrence in a country where many Cubans often worry about publicly challenging the government. Nelson Acosta And Sarah Marsh, The Christian Science Monitor, "Cuba releases environmental activist on parole after hunger strike," 5 July 2018 For DTE Energy, short-term power outages are an everyday occurrence, inevitably pouncing somewhere, according to the giant utility, Michigan’s biggest energy supplier. Bill Laitner, Detroit Free Press, "History of power outages riles metro Detroiters, DTE promises fixes," 28 June 2018 The Wayne Carse Athletic Event is an annual occurrence, and Carse Fitness Hall is a permanent facility at Simpson. Orlando Sentinel, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Deaths in Central Florida: 5/27," 27 May 2018 That's too bad, because a sitcom about two hapless cops investigating weird supernatural occurrences has to be worth watching. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Vampires navigate NYC in first teasers for What We Do in the Shadows," 1 Nov. 2018 Thankfully for the technicians who perform this work, human cell samples aren’t an everyday occurrence. Jacqueline Detwiler, Popular Mechanics, "The Heroes of Science Who Are Unlocking the Brain," 3 Oct. 2018 In Englewood, this wasn’t an uncommon occurrence; according to WGN9, bait trucks were used by authorities until viral videos and new stories triggered a backlash against the policy. Caitlin Wolper, Teen Vogue, "Vic Mensa Gave Away 10,000 Shoes During an Anti-Bait Truck Event in Chicago," 28 Aug. 2018

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

1539, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

6 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for occurrence

The first known use of occurrence was in 1539

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More Definitions for occurrence



English Language Learners Definition of occurrence

: something that happens

: the fact of happening or occurring


oc·​cur·​rence | \ə-ˈkər-əns \

Kids Definition of occurrence

1 : something that happens Lightning is a natural occurrence.

2 : the action or process of happening There's been a lower occurrence of the disease.



Legal Definition of occurrence 

: something that takes place especially : an accident, event, or continuing condition that causes personal or property damage that is unintended or unexpected from the standpoint of an insured party making a claim

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Comments on occurrence

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