pre·oc·cu·pied | \(ˌ)prē-ˈä-kyə-ˌpīd \

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


absent, absentminded, abstracted, distracted



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Choose the Right Synonym for preoccupied

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

Ultimately, advocates say, many people in poverty are too preoccupied trying to survive to worry about nutrition. Alfred Lubrano,, "Attacking people in poverty for buying birthday cakes and other treats with food stamps," 17 June 2018 In this country, USA Track & Field, the sport's national governing body seemingly has been too preoccupied with messes of its own making to do much about marketing its athletes. Ken Goe,, "What if you held a meet and nobody outside the stadium noticed? Oregon track & field rundown," 22 May 2018 Clubs became preoccupied with crowd control, often herding groups of spectators into large metal pens, and in 1989, at Hillsborough, in Sheffield, ninety-six Liverpool fans were crushed to death. Leo Robson, The New Yorker, "How We Watch Soccer Now," 5 Dec. 2016 The father of two and reality star is a little preoccupied with other projects. Danielle Tullo, House Beautiful, "Sorry, But, Tarek El Moussa Isn't Dating Right Now," 15 June 2018 With a Dominican trip on the horizon, Williams didn’t seem too preoccupied with contract talks on the final day of minicamp. Joseph Person, charlotteobserver, "Next Panthers lineman set to get high-dollar, long-term deal? He's focused on vacation," 14 June 2018 In his mind these sorts of gods did not answer Monday, perhaps too preoccupied watching that breathless track meet like everyone else (including the referees who missed Ryan Reaves’ obvious cross-check on the game-winning goal). Alex Prewitt,, "Braden Holtby Delivers a Resilient Game 2 Performance to Secure Washington's Win," 31 May 2018 The meditative, seemingly preoccupied woman, her ornate clothes and the interior décor blur into a nearly monochromatic canvas. WSJ, "When Flower Arranging Meets Art History: A Pastel June Bouquet," 31 May 2018 Mary’s father, William Godwin (Stephen Dillane), is a loving but preoccupied Enlightenment thinker, eminent, admired, and poor. Ty Burr,, "Mary Shelley’s monster hit," 30 May 2018

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

The first known use of preoccupied was in 1790

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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 \

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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Comments on preoccupied

What made you want to look up preoccupied? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


one that holds something together

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