preoccupy

verb
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

But while art and antiquities are what draw millions of curious visitors to museums each year, that last matter has long preoccupied the people who work in them. Suyin Haynes, Time, "Why a Plan to Redefine the Meaning of 'Museum' Is Stirring Up Controversy," 9 Sep. 2019 One downside to SDSU’s run dominance since 2015 is that Aztecs receivers were preoccupied with blocking. San Diego Union-Tribune, "3 Thoughts on Aztecs’ 23-14 win over UCLA," 8 Sep. 2019 The potential threat from Iran bubbles beneath the main concern now preoccupying U.S. Jews and other minorities from white supremacists, who in the past year have committed massacres in El Paso and Pittsburgh, as well as deadly attacks elsewhere. Ron Kampeas, sun-sentinel.com, "As U.S.-Iran tensions escalate, Jews are warned they could be targeted," 27 Aug. 2019 Really, the exile preoccupying The Gift is mostly implied. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "Beyoncé Remixed the Meaning of The Lion King," 26 July 2019 There were moments when Mullin sensed that the Rockets were preoccupied with dribbling into the lane with the goal of kicking the ball to the perimeter for 3-pointers. Scott Cacciola, New York Times, "Courtside With Run TMC, Watching the Rockets Miss, Miss and Miss Some More," 21 May 2018 The Democratic party in particular, when it is not preoccupied with impeaching our current president, is just now stuck on radical reform. Joseph Epstein, National Review, "Our Fable of the Bees," 11 July 2019 Welker’s not preoccupied with who’s in front of him at the major league level, either, i.e. Nolan Arenado. Kyle Newman, The Denver Post, "As Colton Welker readies for Arizona Fall League, he’s not focused on the third baseman ahead of him," 30 Aug. 2019 He was preoccupied with the latter part, which involves getting students hired so the school can earn money from ISAs. Gregory Barber, WIRED, "Lambda School's For-Profit Plan to Solve Student Debt," 26 Aug. 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about preoccupy

Statistics for preoccupy

Last Updated

7 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for preoccupy

The first known use of preoccupy was in 1567

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for preoccupy

preoccupy

verb

English Language Learners Definition of preoccupy

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on preoccupy

What made you want to look up preoccupy? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

friendly or mild

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Where in the World? A Quiz

  • peter bruegel tower of babel painting
  • What language does pajama come from?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!