oc·​cu·​pa·​tion | \ ˌä-kyə-ˈpā-shən How to pronounce occupation (audio) \

Definition of occupation

1a : an activity in which one engages Pursuing pleasure has been his major occupation.
b : the principal business of one's life : vocation Teaching was her occupation.
2a : the possession, use, or settlement of land : occupancy the last of the historic private houses in the metropolis … still in the occupation of its hereditary ownerSidney (Australia) Bull.
b : the holding of an office or position it is only … the occupation … of two offices at the same time that offends public policy— W. D. Miller
3a : the act or process of taking possession of a place or area : seizure Spain's occupation of the island
b : the holding and control of an area by a foreign military force the Roman occupation of Britain
c : the military force occupying a country or the policies carried out by it The occupation addressed the concerns of the local population.

Choose the Right Synonym for occupation

work, employment, occupation, calling, pursuit, métier, business mean a specific sustained activity engaged in especially in earning one's living. work may apply to any purposeful activity whether remunerative or not. her work as a hospital volunteer employment implies work for which one has been engaged and is being paid by an employer. your employment with this firm is hereby terminated occupation implies work in which one engages regularly especially as a result of training. his occupation as a trained auto mechanic calling applies to an occupation viewed as a vocation or profession. the ministry seemed my true calling pursuit suggests a trade, profession, or avocation followed with zeal or steady interest. her family considered medicine the only proper pursuit métier implies a calling or pursuit for which one believes oneself to be especially fitted. acting was my one and only métier business suggests activity in commerce or the management of money and affairs. the business of managing a hotel

Examples of occupation in a Sentence

He is thinking about changing occupations and becoming a police officer. “What's your occupation?” “I'm a stay-at-home mom.” Swimming was their main occupation at summer camp. Some evidence of human occupation was found in these caves. The offices are ready for occupation.
Recent Examples on the Web Alabama women are paid less than their male counterparts in every occupation and have the lowest workforce participation rate in the South, according to the report. Ruth Serven Smith | Rserven@al.com, al, 13 May 2022 The decimation of Mariupol has come to symbolize the worst of the tragedy inflicted on the Ukrainian people in the Russian occupation that began in February. Washington Post, 7 May 2022 Early in the occupation, Trostyanets’s police officers took off their uniforms and blended into the populace. New York Times, 3 Apr. 2022 Gaps persist even among men and women in the same occupation and with similar academic credentials, research shows. Tamar Hallerman, ajc, 25 Mar. 2022 Even more surprising, the American government seems to accept the occupation of Alaska as legitimate. David Reamer, Anchorage Daily News, 2 May 2022 In the suburbs of Kyiv, hundreds of civilians were found dead after Russia’s occupation of the area in what Ukrainian and Western allies have described as war crimes. Laura King, Los Angeles Times, 1 May 2022 Separate Guards Motor Rifle Brigade, one of the units that took part in the monthlong occupation of the Kyiv suburb. James Marson, WSJ, 29 Apr. 2022 As Russia’s 2014 occupation of parts of the Donbas and annexation of Crimea—regions where Russian ethnicity and Orthodoxy are robust—escalated the Russia-Ukraine fight, the conflict in Ukraine between Russian and Eastern Orthodoxy was also growing. Paul Elie, The New Yorker, 21 Apr. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of occupation

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for occupation

Middle English occupacioun "possession of land, engagement in an activity, vocation, concern," borrowed from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French occupaciun, borrowed from Latin occupātiōn-, occupātiō "seizing possession, preoccupation," from occupāre "to grasp, take possession of, fill up (space, a position)" + -tiōn- -tiō, suffix of verbal action — more at occupy

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The first known use of occupation was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

16 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Occupation.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/occupation. Accessed 24 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for occupation


oc·​cu·​pa·​tion | \ ˌä-kyə-ˈpā-shən How to pronounce occupation (audio) \

Kids Definition of occupation

1 : a person's business or profession His uncle was a tailor by occupation.
2 : the act of using or taking possession and control of a place Human occupation of this area began thousands of years ago.

More from Merriam-Webster on occupation

Nglish: Translation of occupation for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of occupation for Arabic Speakers


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