oc·​cur | \ ə-ˈkər How to pronounce occur (audio) \
occurred; occurring\ ə-​ˈkər-​iŋ How to pronounce occur (audio) , -​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

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 first batch of streets where speeds are newly lower are commercial strips where high numbers of injuries tend to occur. John King, San Francisco Chronicle, 16 Jan. 2022 There are many different ways for a buildup of carbon monoxide to occur, Cagann said. Gloria Casas, chicagotribune.com, 11 Jan. 2022 But Adams, already facing bad press over a series of mayoral appointments, downplayed institutional responsibility for the first disaster to occur under his watch. Molly Osberg, The New Republic, 11 Jan. 2022 Your body needs time in between challenging sessions for all those adaptations to occur. Cindy Kuzma, SELF, 11 Jan. 2022 Chris Vagasky, meteorologist and lightning applications manager at Vaisala, said a warming planet is charging up the Arctic's environment for more lightning to occur. Rachel Ramirez, CNN, 5 Jan. 2022 While no shampoo has been proven to actually stimulate hair regrowth, there are many shampoos on the market that create an optimal environment for hair growth to occur. Joseph Deacetis, Forbes, 28 Dec. 2021 For any meaningful development to occur on the Showcase site, the town must acquire the plaza site, Walsh said. Jesse Leavenworth, courant.com, 22 Dec. 2021 However, for this to occur in the first place, the Earth's atmosphere would already have to be warming up. Kate S. Petersen, USA TODAY, 6 Dec. 2021

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

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

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Time Traveler for occur

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for occur

Last Updated

19 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Occur.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/occur. Accessed 29 Jan. 2022.

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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 How to pronounce occur (audio) \
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.

More from Merriam-Webster on occur

Nglish: Translation of occur for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of occur for Arabic Speakers


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