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

The Syria crisis isn't the only thing preoccupying Trump. Tracy Wilkinson,, "Trump's first trip to Latin America was never going to be easy. Calling it off could deepen region's distrust," 10 Apr. 2018 The goalposts were accordingly moved, and the race to 5,000 has preoccupied Tesla leadership, and both its fans and detractors, every since. David Z. Morris, Fortune, "Tesla Seems to Have Finally Hit Its Goal of Producing 5,000 Model 3s in a Week," 1 July 2018 Fortunately, the camp’s antics keep Rebecca preoccupied. Ellen Emry Heltzel, The Seattle Times, "Heather Abel’s sly ‘The Optimistic Decade’ is an exceptional coming-of-age novel," 5 June 2018 Despite her diminished serve and preoccupying pain, Brengle, a clever counterpuncher, has managed several upset victories since her diagnosis. Ben Rothenberg, New York Times, "Madison Brengle Sues I.T.F. and WTA Over Injury From Blood Testing," 10 Apr. 2018 Internal agency deliberations have preoccupied environmental groups as well as many of the thousands who have come to work in our many environmental professions, swallowing up most attention and energy. Christopher Sellers, Vox, "How Republicans came to embrace anti-environmentalism," 6 July 2018 Kyrgios, a polarizing player who has long been supported by Murray, admitted after the match that he had been preoccupied with his opponent’s well-being throughout the match. Ben Rothenberg, New York Times, "After 342 Days, Andy Murray Returns to the Court (and Loses)," 19 June 2018 But that was exactly what Rikki did while Valentine was preoccupied. Chicago Tribune,, "Algren Award runner-up: "Am I Not Your Animal" by Matt Jones," 2 June 2018 Changing targets: Senate Democrats, who for the past several weeks have been preoccupied by Pruitt, began a series of speeches Monday evening targeting Charles and David Koch for their influence on Trump administration policies. Dino Grandoni, Washington Post, "The Energy 202: Why Scott Pruitt's decision on burning wood is so high stakes," 24 Apr. 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

6 Oct 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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