pre·oc·cu·pa·tion | \(ˌ)prē-ˌä-kyə-ˈpā-shən \

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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Synonyms for preoccupation


fetish (also fetich), fixation, mania, obsession, prepossession

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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

This preoccupation with race as part of biology teaches us that race is an integral part of diagnosis and treatment, a characteristic that becomes indelible from pathology. Jennifer W. Tsai, STAT, "You can’t tell a book by its cover — or a disease by Drake’s race," 11 July 2018 Probably the most famous and frequently referenced example of this in literary history is Proust’s preoccupation with madeleines, the taste of which sends the narrator of Swann’s Way down a lengthy path of reverie. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "The delectable possibility and bland reality of Sweetbitter," 25 May 2018 Zinke has also adopted the White House’s preoccupation with quashing unflattering information. Evan Osnos, The New Yorker, "Trump vs. the “Deep State”," 14 May 2018 Exile, homesickness, lust, love: Homer’s preoccupations are the central themes of many, perhaps most lives as they are lived now. The Economist, "In times of crisis, writers turn to Homer," 26 Apr. 2018 Properly presenting the White House to visitors is one of Trump’s preoccupations, said her chief of staff, Lindsay Reynolds, who was the associate director of the White House Visitors Office in the George W. Bush administration. Emily Heil,, "‘She has a design background:’ Melania Trump prepares to host state dinner," 24 Apr. 2018 For another, the challengers in Maryland (who lost at the district-court level) were offering a First Amendment rationale against partisan gerrymandering which might be attractive to Kennedy’s First Amendment preoccupations. Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, "The Clock Is Ticking on SCOTUS’s Decision about Partisan Gerrymandering," 28 Mar. 2018 Hence the paralysis—and the preoccupation with damage-limiting fudges. The Economist, "The monarchy is at its strongest in years, unlike the government," 19 May 2018 The major preoccupation a day after leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador was elected president of Mexico was not politics. Patrick J. Mcdonnell,, "Big gains in Congress, governorships for Mexico's president-elect," 3 July 2018

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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Last Updated

4 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for preoccupation

The first known use of preoccupation was in 1572

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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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Comments on preoccupation

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one that holds something together

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