preoccupied

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adjective 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
2 a :lost in thought; also :absorbed in some preoccupation
b :already occupied

Examples of preoccupied in a Sentence

  1. too preoccupied with her worries to enjoy the meal

Recent Examples of preoccupied from the Web

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.

First Known Use of preoccupied

1790

Synonym Discussion of 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

PREOCCUPIED Defined for English Language Learners

preoccupied

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adjective

Definition of preoccupied for English Language Learners

  • : thinking about something a lot or too much


PREOCCUPIED Defined for Kids

preoccupied

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adjective pre·oc·cu·pied \ prē-ˈä-kyə-ˌpīd \

Definition of preoccupied for Students

: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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