pre·​oc·​cu·​py | \ (ˌ)prē-ˈä-kyə-ˌpī How to pronounce preoccupy (audio) \
preoccupied; preoccupying; preoccupies

Definition of preoccupy

transitive verb

1 : to engage or engross the interest or attention of beforehand or preferentially
2 : to take possession of or fill beforehand or before another

Examples of preoccupy in a Sentence

The question of life after death has preoccupied many philosophers.
Recent Examples on the Web When given the chance to preoccupy herself with interior design, Gigi Hadid lets her love for all things fun and bold run wild. Chelsey Sanchez, Harper's BAZAAR, "Gigi Hadid's Nursery Is a Bohemian-Decor Dream," 8 Dec. 2020 In Russian state media, coverage focused more on the split vote and predictions that America’s political fissures will continue to preoccupy the country and erode its global standing. Washington Post, "Russia gloated over U.S. election disarray. Now, it faces Biden’s tougher line.," 9 Nov. 2020 Negotiations concerning personal property, money, or resources may preoccupy you today. Tarot Astrologers,, "Daily horoscope for September 23, 2020," 23 Sep. 2020 Miller is luckier than most, but even an NFL star riding out the storm in a big, fancy house can only preoccupy himself by scratching vinyl like a wannabe DJ or working up a sweat in his home gym for so many hours at a time. Mark Kiszla, The Denver Post, "Kiszla: Why the Broncos need Von Miller, the team’s last Super Bowl hero standing, now more than ever," 6 Apr. 2020 The water garden would preoccupy the aging artist throughout the war, and his efforts would culminate in the installation of 22 huge panels depicting... Paul Hayes Tucker, WSJ, "Symbol of a Nation’s Plight," 19 June 2020 During the influenza pandemic of 1918, with Americans preoccupied by the Great War in Europe, the German Hospital on East 77th Street in New York was renamed Lenox Hill. John Anderson, WSJ, "‘Lenox Hill’ Review: The Hospital as Operating Theater," 9 June 2020 Since each is under a mandate that can be changed only by their political masters, who are preoccupied by covid-19, expectations of any progress next week are low. The Economist, "Brexit Deadlock looms at Brexit talks next week," 30 May 2020 The verbal dispute between a white woman with an unleashed dog and a black man bird-watching in Central Park might normally have gone unnoticed in a city preoccupied by the coronavirus pandemic. Tom Hays And Ryan Kryska, The Christian Science Monitor, "Bird-watching while black: What will end racist 911 calls?," 27 May 2020

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

1567, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for preoccupy

Latin praeoccupare, literally, to seize in advance, from prae- + occupare to seize, occupy

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Time Traveler for preoccupy

Time Traveler

The first known use of preoccupy was in 1567

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Statistics for preoccupy

Last Updated

14 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Preoccupy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Jan. 2021.

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How to pronounce preoccupy (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of preoccupy

: to be thought about or worried about by (someone) very often or constantly

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