occasion

1 of 2

noun

oc·​ca·​sion ə-ˈkā-zhən How to pronounce occasion (audio)
1
: a favorable opportunity or circumstance
did not have occasion to talk with them
2
a
: a state of affairs that provides a ground or reason
The occasion of the discord was their mutual intolerance.
b
: an occurrence or condition that brings something about
especially : the immediate inciting circumstance as distinguished from the fundamental cause
His insulting remark was the occasion of a bitter quarrel.
3
a
: happening, incident
Everybody has been terribly kind since my recent sad occasion. Thomas Kelly
b
: a time at which something happens : instance
on the occasion of his daughter's wedding
4
a
: a need arising from a particular circumstance
knowledge for which he will never have any occasion C. H. Grandgent
b
archaic : a personal want or need
usually used in plural
5
occasions plural : affairs, business
minded his own occasions and was content for other folk to mind theirs S. H. Adams
6
: a special event or ceremony : celebration
birthdays, anniversaries, and other special occasions

occasion

2 of 2

verb

occasioned; occasioning ə-ˈkā-zh(ə-)niŋ How to pronounce occasion (audio)
Phrases
on occasion
: from time to time
He lives in the country, though he visits the city on occasion.

Example Sentences

Noun When versatility is fashion's best justification, the idea of a beautiful lace blouse or dress that can step up to a special occasion and then look just as good under a man-tailored jacket or a fine-gauge long-line cardigan the next day is persuasive. S. Mower, Vogue, September 2008 On several occasions, people have observed dark, kilometer-wide bands on the ocean surface as tsunamis approached or passed by … S. Perkins, Science News, 21 Feb. 2004 Not so long ago, Rolling Stone's David Fricke asked the late Kurt Cobain whom he admired among "established" rock bands. Cobain unhesitatingly named R.E.M., using the occasion to send the band members a virtual mash note for remaining true to their muse and to themselves and for refusing to be swayed by the shifting winds of fashion and commerciality. Robert Palmer, Rolling Stone, 6 Oct. 1994 To publish a definitive collection of short stories in one's late 60s seems to me, as an American writer, a traditional and a dignified occasion, eclipsed in no way by the fact that a great many of the stories in my current collection were written in my underwear. John Cheever, in Ann Charters, The Story and Its Writer, 1987 birthdays, anniversaries, and other special occasions They marked the occasion with their families. She wrote a song especially for the occasion. Roses are the perfect flower for any occasion. On the occasion of their 25th wedding anniversary, they took a vacation to Paris. We had occasion to watch her perform last summer. The boys never had occasion to meet each other. She never found an occasion to suggest her ideas. He took the occasion to make an announcement. Verb It was that desire that occasioned a trip to Berlin this spring: a desire to wander through the city's arty demimonde and to eat beside its residents … Sam Sifton, New York Times, 22 June 2008 "I made bow ties," Sally says very assuredly, after the long silence occasioned by my unwanted kiss, during which we both realized we are not about to head upstairs for any fun. Richard Ford, Independence Day, 1996 the announcement concerning the change in scheduling occasioned much confusion See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
With a World Cup game hanging in the balance, Ochoa rose to the occasion and Lewandowski did not. Los Angeles Times, 23 Nov. 2022 The princess's look for the occasion actually paid tribute to three important royal women: Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth II, and Princess Diana. Rosa Sanchez, Harper's BAZAAR, 23 Nov. 2022 Decorative accompaniments such as apples, oranges, lemons, limes, and fresh herbs like parsley and chives add to the aesthetics and also help mark the meal and the occasion as something special. Morgan Hines, USA TODAY, 23 Nov. 2022 Dulles celebrated its 60th anniversary on Nov. 17 — two days after Silver Line service launched — marking the occasion with giveaways and promotions, including selling cups of coffee for 34 cents to match the price on the day the airport opened. Lori Aratani, Washington Post, 22 Nov. 2022 This coat can be dressed up or down to match the occasion. Kelsey Mulvey, Men's Health, 22 Nov. 2022 This diplomatic occasion has always called for members of the House of Windsor to dress in their most splendid regal finery, with tiaras, parures, sashes, badges, orders, and ribbons all de rigueur. Leena Kim, Town & Country, 22 Nov. 2022 If a more intimate occasion, maybe silver, brass, or gold. Jennifer Carmichael, Better Homes & Gardens, 22 Nov. 2022 Bring elegance to any occasion with this unique star shape. Alyssa Gautieri, Good Housekeeping, 22 Nov. 2022
Verb
The book is unlikely to occasion surprise for readers of Murray’s other books, including The Madness ... Peter Wood, National Review, 12 May 2022 Whatever Greene or Gosar is saying or doing at the moment doesn't occasion much chatter in their districts. Chris Cillizza, CNN, 31 Mar. 2022 Feldman’s thought-provoking case for a stark rupture in Union war aims will surely occasion lively debate. Washington Post, 12 Nov. 2021 Elliot shared my feeling that human composting’s greater promise is its potential to occasion a paradigm shift in our relationship to all life. Lisa Wells, Harper's Magazine, 28 Sep. 2021 The existence of Ross’s book and others like it — and the brutal events that occasion them — suggest the attainment of that goal is still more than 20 years away. BostonGlobe.com, 1 July 2021 The next step is a Senate floor vote, which may occasion Democrats’ first official challenge to the Senate filibuster. Patrick Gleason, Forbes, 13 May 2021 The ex-royal couple have enough wit to understand that their own hardships don’t occasion many tears outside their lachrymose celebrity friends. Gerard Baker, WSJ, 8 Mar. 2021 Most Democratic candidates have negotiated the problem reasonably well, although extreme anti-Israel outliers from safe districts, such as Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, can occasion some awkwardness for their congressional colleagues. Barton Swaim, WSJ, 16 Dec. 2020 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'occasion.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

Middle English occasioun "opportunity, inducement, grounds or justification, occurrence," borrowed from Anglo-French & Medieval Latin; Anglo-French occasion, borrowed from Medieval Latin occāsiōn-, occāsiō "opportunity, circumstance, cause, pretext," going back to Latin, "convenient circumstances, opportunity," from oc-cad-, base of occidere "to be struck down, die, sink below the horizon" + -tiōn- -tiō, suffix of verbal action — more at occident

Note: Though Latin occāsiō is formally a derivative of occidere, it does not reflect the meaning of that verb; for the sense cf. other derivatives of cadere "to fall," as accidere "to happen" (see accident) and cāsus "occurrence, chance" (see case entry 1). The verbal noun corresponding semantically to occidere is occāsus "sinking (of the sun), downfall, decline."

Verb

Middle English occasionen, borrowed from Medieval Latin occāsiōnāre, derivative of occāsiōn-, occāsiō occasion entry 1

First Known Use

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of occasion was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near occasion

Cite this Entry

“Occasion.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/occasion. Accessed 1 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

occasion 1 of 2

noun

oc·​ca·​sion ə-ˈkā-zhən How to pronounce occasion (audio)
1
: a favorable opportunity : a good chance
sorry not to have had occasion to meet them
2
: a situation that provides a reason
an occasion for rejoicing
3
: something that brings about an event
the remark was the occasion of a bitter quarrel
4
: a time at which something happens
on the occasion of the wedding
5
: a need that arises
have occasion to travel
6
: a special event or ceremony : celebration
a big occasion

occasion

2 of 2

verb

occasioned; occasioning
-ˈkāzh-(ə-)niŋ
: to give occasion to : cause

More from Merriam-Webster on occasion

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