Synonyms & Antonyms of preoccupied

(Entry 1 of 2)

lost in thought and unaware of one's surroundings or actions
  • too preoccupied with her worries to enjoy the meal

Synonyms for preoccupied

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Antonyms for preoccupied


past tense of preoccupy

Synonyms & Antonyms of preoccupied (Entry 2 of 2)

to be thought about or worried about by (someone) very often or constantly
  • The question of life after death has preoccupied many philosophers.

Synonyms & Near Synonyms for preoccupied

Antonyms & Near Antonyms for preoccupied

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Frequently Asked Questions About preoccupied

How is the word preoccupied distinct from other similar adjectives?

Some common synonyms of preoccupied are absentminded, absent, abstracted, and distracted. While all these words mean "inattentive to what claims or demands consideration," 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

When would absent be a good substitute for preoccupied?

Although the words absent and preoccupied have much in common, absent stresses inability to fix the mind on present concerns due more to mental wandering than to concentration on other matters.

an absent stare

In what contexts can absentminded take the place of preoccupied?

The meanings of absentminded and preoccupied largely overlap; however, 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

When is abstracted a more appropriate choice than preoccupied?

The words abstracted and preoccupied can be used in similar contexts, but 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

When is it sensible to use distracted instead of preoccupied?

While in some cases nearly identical to preoccupied, distracted may suggest an inability to concentrate caused by worry, sorrow, or anxiety.

was too distracted by grief to continue working

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Time Traveler for preoccupied

Time Traveler

The first known use of preoccupied was in 1790

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Cite this Entry

“Preoccupied.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 May. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on preoccupied

Nglish: Translation of preoccupied for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of preoccupied for Arabic Speakers


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