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


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

The Trump administration has been less preoccupied with helping companies invest in China and more worried about increasing exports of American goods to the country. Keith Bradsher, New York Times, "Li Keqiang, Chinese Premier, Reaches Out to Trump and Business," 2 July 2019 Amid all the noise at a network often preoccupied with bells and whistles, Ley stood apart from the cult of personality, digging into the toughest issues in our games in an even-handed, balanced way. Tara Sullivan,, "World Cup, Wimbledon: These are a few of my favorite things," 29 June 2019 Becoming overly preoccupied with them isn’t healthy, and a therapist may be able to help you reframe your thinking. Kimberly Truong, SELF, "8 Signs It’s Time to See a Therapist About Your Relationship With Food," 29 Jan. 2019 At a time in his life when some people his age are more preoccupied with tee times and early-bird specials, Gary Gorman defies chronology. Stephen Ruiz,, "Rollins worker, 69, pushes limits in open water, other events: 'I’m happy out there doing this’," 12 June 2019 These writers—Javier Marías, Antonio Muñoz Molina, Javier Cercas—are deeply preoccupied with the historical catastrophes of twentieth-century Europe and Spain’s ambiguous role in them. Christopher Beha, Harper's magazine, "Mallo My!," 10 Mar. 2019 But even though Randall and Beth's conflict took center stage, fans online seemed pretty preoccupied with Kevin, of all people. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "'This Is Us' Fans Are Furious With Kevin After the Latest Episode," 20 Mar. 2019 Luckily, the rest of the world was too preoccupied with the exciting news about the family's new addition to notice (read: care) about the mistake. Amanda Garrity, Good Housekeeping, "Everyone Missed This Major Mistake About Meghan and Harry's Baby on the Royal Family's Website," 8 May 2019 The streak indicates investors are increasingly preoccupied with broader risks in the equity market and less inclined to use selloffs as opportunities to load up on more shares. Gunjan Banerji, WSJ, "Fear Gauge Warns That This Selloff Is Different," 10 Dec. 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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Statistics for preoccupied

Last Updated

13 Jul 2019

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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 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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Comments on preoccupied

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