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 His early preoccupation with initial cosmic conditions led Barrow to reinstate in physical science the ancient philosophical concept of teleology, which (in its various guises) takes into account final as well as initial states. Paul Davies, Scientific American, "In Memoriam: John D. Barrow," 10 Oct. 2020 However, her main preoccupation at the moment was preparing for Saturday's vigil marking the eighth anniversary of her son's death. Rafael Carranza, The Arizona Republic, "After Supreme Court rules against them, families in cross-border shootings turn to international watchdog," 10 Oct. 2020 Drawing Our Stories will explore identity — always a teenage preoccupation — with the writers and illustrators Mike Curato, Kiku Hughes and Gene Luen Yang. New York Times, "7 Things to Do This Weekend," 1 Oct. 2020 Finding the right definition for an object, at the right level of generality, is a major preoccupation of the mathematicians building mathlib. Quanta Magazine, "Building the Mathematical Library of the Future," 1 Oct. 2020 Smith’s self-portraits through the years evince a preoccupation with the constructs of femininity, the gaze, race, color, and beauty. Yxta Maya Murray, The New Yorker, "Ming Smith’s Pioneering Excavations of Black Femininity," 23 Sep. 2020 Dos, caring very little about his own reputation, turned from his old preoccupation with the contemporary scene to make a long and thorough study of the founding of the American Republic. John Chamberlain, National Review, "Dos Passos: Last of the Big Four," 28 Sep. 2020 As for Winslow, the preoccupation with being a leading man eventually rubbed too many the wrong way. Ira Winderman,, "Winderman: Pat Riley’s Heat vision proving (almost) crystal clear | Commentary," 26 Sep. 2020 That mutual preoccupation is not the only way these two creatives intersect. Nicole Phelps, Vogue, "Today on Good Morning Vogue: Behind the Scenes at Burberry," 21 Sep. 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

25 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Preoccupation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Oct. 2020.

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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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