pre·​oc·​cu·​py | \(ˌ)prē-ˈä-kyə-ˌpī \
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

Today Bella Hadid is getting her wings ready for tomorrow’s Victoria’s Secret show, but earlier in the week she was preoccupied with technology in Toronto. Vogue, "Bella Hadid and The Weeknd Celebrate Technology in Toronto With Google and Rémy Martin," 7 Nov. 2018 He is also preoccupied with the institutional standing of the Supreme Court, which may be nearing a legitimacy crisis with the American public. Dylan Scott, Vox, "Brett Kavanaugh is Jeff Flake’s most important test," 3 Oct. 2018 You'll be preoccupied worrying, waiting, and watching. Colleen Leahey Mckeegan, Marie Claire, "How to Stay Sane While Struggling to Get Pregnant," 1 Oct. 2018 As far as anyone could tell, I was preoccupied with my studies. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "Read Andrea Constand's Powerful Impact Statement About Bill Cosby," 25 Sep. 2018 The media is completely preoccupied by something less than 1% care about. Fox News, "Gutfeld: The media need to focus on reality instead of fear," 21 July 2018 Black women are owed apologies for our daily navigation of spaces that require us to be anxiously preoccupied with how our actions could be viewed by others. Candice Benbow, Glamour, "At the U.S. Open, Serena Williams Demanded the Apology All Black Women Deserve," 10 Sep. 2018 Few of these efforts have been tried by Arab governments, which are often preoccupied with other problems. The Economist, "Climate change is making the Arab world more miserable," 31 May 2018 Trump, current and former aides said, has been preoccupied with North Korea since his predecessor, Barack Obama, warned him in a closed-door meeting two days after he was elected that the reclusive state would be his No. Mark Landler, The Seattle Times, "Trump intrigued with solving threat from North Korea," 11 June 2018

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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Statistics for preoccupy

Last Updated

1 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for preoccupy

The first known use of preoccupy was in 1567

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English Language Learners Definition of preoccupy

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on preoccupy

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with preoccupy

Spanish Central: Translation of preoccupy

Nglish: Translation of preoccupy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of preoccupy for Arabic Speakers

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