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

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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 The fear of unwittingly passing on the virus has become a major preoccupation for caregivers. Star Tribune, "AP-NORC poll: New angst for caregivers in time of COVID-19," 13 Oct. 2020 My right thigh, now my sole preoccupation, was overwhelmed with gratitude. Virginia Heffernan, Wired, "Something Was Wrong. My Nightgown Was in Flames," 10 Dec. 2020 Johnson made this proclamation as 184,300 American troops were serving in Vietnam, a conflict that already was becoming the preoccupation of the president — and the nation. David M. Shribman, Los Angeles Times, "Giving thanks, expressing hope: presidential wishes at Thanksgiving," 25 Nov. 2020 How long this generosity will last is a major preoccupation for owners and employees here. David Segal, New York Times, "To Survive the Pandemic, Savile Row Cuts a Bespoke Strategy," 15 Nov. 2020 Admiration for his talent as a musician and performer has always been accompanied by a preoccupation with his good looks and skin-care routine. Brennan Kilbane, Allure, "Pharrell Dives Into the Beauty Business," 12 Nov. 2020 Like Tarrant himself, David has a preoccupation with all things American. Talia Lavin, The New Republic, "My Life as an Anti-Fascist Catfisher," 14 Oct. 2020 Byrne, who was born in 1962, in Indiana, credits his father for his preoccupation with the possibility of societal collapse. Sheelah Kolhatkar, The New Yorker, "A Tycoon’s Deep-State Conspiracy Dive," 7 Dec. 2020 Callahan’s preoccupation with purses came after a week of receiving unsolicited comments about her handbags from friends and strangers. Lilah Ramzi, Vogue, "RBG’s B.A.G.s: In a New Short Film, the Late Ruth Bader Ginsburg Waxes Poetic About Her Purses," 19 Nov. 2020

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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Time Traveler for preoccupation

Time Traveler

The first known use of preoccupation was in 1572

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Statistics for preoccupation

Last Updated

11 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Preoccupation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for preoccupation


How to pronounce preoccupation (audio)

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

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