pre·​oc·​cu·​pied | \ (ˌ)prē-ˈä-kyə-ˌpīd How to pronounce preoccupied (audio) \

Definition of preoccupied

1 : previously applied to another group and unavailable for use in a new sense used of a biological generic or specific name
2a : lost in thought also : absorbed in some preoccupation
b : already occupied

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Synonyms & Antonyms for preoccupied



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abstracted, preoccupied, absent, absentminded, distracted mean inattentive to what claims or demands consideration. abstracted implies absorption of the mind in something other than one's surroundings, and often suggests reflection on weighty matters. walking about with an abstracted air preoccupied often implies having one's attention so taken up by thoughts as to neglect others. too preoccupied with her debts to enjoy the meal absent stresses inability to fix the mind on present concerns due more to mental wandering than to concentration on other matters. an absent stare absentminded implies that the mind is fixed elsewhere and often refers to a habit of abstractedness. so absentminded, he's been known to wear mismatched shoes distracted may suggest an inability to concentrate caused by worry, sorrow, or anxiety. was too distracted by grief to continue working

Examples of preoccupied in a Sentence

too preoccupied with her worries to enjoy the meal
Recent Examples on the Web Steinman became preoccupied with music at an early age., "Jim Steinman, composer of hit records for Meat Loaf, dies at 73," 21 Apr. 2021 Elsa is far too preoccupied trying to deal with the conflict in her own life to obsess about princes. Carol Dyhouse, Time, "What the Rise and Fall of the Cinderella Fairy Tale Means for Real Women Today," 19 Apr. 2021 The Dodgers and their fans are far more preoccupied with the San Francisco Giants. Sam Farmer, Los Angeles Times, "Almost famous? San Diego is ready for a defining moment from beloved Padres," 16 Apr. 2021 Others were more preoccupied with minimizing the risk to any single person. New York Times, "Possible Side Effects of AstraZeneca Vaccine Come Into Sharper Focus," 6 Apr. 2021 My late father had been more preoccupied with Nazis and Soviet Communists. Avi Shafran, WSJ, "My Father’s Passover—and Ours," 25 Mar. 2021 This isn't by conscious choice, more a product of being extremely preoccupied in my world and not living in close proximity to anyone. Dalton Ross,, "Survivor Quarantine Questionnaire: Karishma Patel regrets becoming a 'punching bag' on the show," 25 Mar. 2021 But Abdi Mohamed, who lost his mother Nadifa Mohamud in the fire, criticized the housing agency for being too preoccupied with renovations. Faiza Mahamud, Star Tribune, "Sprinklers coming to Minneapolis high-rise where five died in 2019 fire," 16 Mar. 2021 But Trump, who does not take part in the task force meetings, remains preoccupied with last week’s election results. Aamer Madhani And Zeke Miller,, "Trump, stewing over election loss, silent as COVID-19 surges across US at alarming pace," 12 Nov. 2020

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

1790, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for preoccupied

Time Traveler

The first known use of preoccupied was in 1790

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Statistics for preoccupied

Last Updated

30 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Preoccupied.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for preoccupied



English Language Learners Definition of preoccupied

: thinking about something a lot or too much


pre·​oc·​cu·​pied | \ prē-ˈä-kyə-ˌpīd How to pronounce preoccupied (audio) \

Kids Definition of preoccupied

: thinking about or worrying about one thing a great deal The kittens played right in front of him, but the Emperor was too preoccupied to notice.— Lloyd Alexander, Time Cat

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