pre·​oc·​cu·​pa·​tion | \ (ˌ)prē-ˌä-kyə-ˈpā-shən How to pronounce preoccupation (audio) \

Definition of preoccupation

1 : an act of preoccupying : the state of being preoccupied
2a : extreme or excessive concern with something
b : something that preoccupies one

Examples of preoccupation in a Sentence

We need to better understand the problems and preoccupations of our clients. the future entomologist's preoccupation with insects from a very early age
Recent Examples on the Web In that sense, his preoccupation with performance and artifice feels more like an examination of the conditions of everyday life than a retreat from them. Lidija Haas, The New Republic, 23 Dec. 2021 With the Downing Street inner circle dominated by hardliners of the Vote Leave campaign, the response to the crisis was botched and negligently slow—the Brexit preoccupation diverting resources from pandemic planning. Rachel Shabi, The New York Review of Books, 8 July 2020 By the mid-2000s, Amy had begun to develop a preoccupation with New Age spiritual thought. Christopher Moyer, Rolling Stone, 26 Nov. 2021 And globally, after 2001, the War on Terror became an all-consuming preoccupation. New York Times, 21 Nov. 2021 Below the clever surface of her prose runs a preoccupation with human occupations. Washington Post, 24 Sep. 2021 There's also concern that an unhealthy preoccupation with food will strike a wider and more diverse group. Kevyn Burger Special To The Star Tribune, Star Tribune, 18 Jan. 2021 In the last election, well before Covid-19 became a main preoccupation of voters, the Liberals appeared to be punished for a series of scandals that had made their campaign promises of clean and ethical government almost laughable. Michael Bociurkiw, CNN, 22 Sep. 2021 Viewers are brought to the place, not to a facsimile of the place—that would never do, given that land, and who can claim ownership of it, is a central preoccupation. The New Yorker, 20 Sep. 2021

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

1572, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of preoccupation was in 1572

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Last Updated

11 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Preoccupation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for preoccupation



English Language Learners Definition of preoccupation

: a state in which you give all your attention to something
: something that you give all or most of your attention to

More from Merriam-Webster on preoccupation

Nglish: Translation of preoccupation for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of preoccupation for Arabic Speakers


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