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

Winning big games was a common occurrence for Smith in high school. James Weber, Cincinnati.com, "Notre Dame grad Haylee Smith helps University of Southern Indiana to national title," 22 June 2018 The start of the bottom of the eighth inning Friday night was delayed a couple minutes while head athletic trainer Kevin Harmon tended to Delino DeShields for what seems to be a common occurrence in the northern-most cities in baseball. Jeff Wilson, star-telegram, "Rangers Reaction: Kansas City night provided opening to reset Mendez's development," 22 June 2018 After all, the state’s whitetails, like the vegetation that grows on Texas’ landscape, have evolved to survive the rainless, blistering hot sieges that are common occurrences. Shannon Tompkins, Houston Chronicle, "Texas’ deer population would welcome good soaking," 16 June 2018 Words of encouragement were a more common occurrence as floats, marching bands and clowns lined the streets. Eder Campuzano, OregonLive.com, "Showers don't dampen spirit of Rose Festival's Grand Floral Parade," 9 June 2018 Anyone who has attended even a handful of Capitol Hill hearings learns that dumb questions or a lack of follow-up are common occurrences. Aaron Pressman, Fortune, "Make No Mistake, Mark Zuckerberg's Appearance Fanned the Flames for More Privacy Rules," 11 Apr. 2018 Lightning strikes are a common occurrence across the East African nation known for its many hills and mountains. Paula Rogo, Essence.com, "Lightning Strike At Rwandan Seventh Day Adventist Church Kills 16," 12 Mar. 2018 Because of this, starfish strandings are a common occurrence. Julissa Treviño, Smithsonian, "Tens of Thousands of Sea Creatures Wash Up on UK Shores Following Freezing Weather," 8 Mar. 2018 On social media, current and former players around Wisconsin called this a common occurrence. Michael Harriot, The Root, "Wisconsin High School Accused Of Racist Chants During Basketball Game ... Again," 24 Feb. 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

11 Oct 2018

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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

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


evasion of direct action or statement

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