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past tense of preoccupy

Synonym Chooser

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

Thesaurus Entries Near preoccupied

Cite this Entry

“Preoccupied.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Sep. 2023.

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