occur

verb
oc·​cur | \ ə-ˈkər How to pronounce occur (audio) \
occurred; occurring\ ə-​ˈkər-​iŋ How to pronounce occur (audio) , -​ˈkə-​riŋ \

Definition of occur

intransitive verb

1 : to be found or met with : appear This bird occurs in New England in the spring.
2 : to come into existence : happen The accident occurred at 5 p.m.
3 : to come to mind an idea that has occurred to me

The Meaning of Occur and the Spelling of Its Forms

Occur has three meanings. It means "to be found or met with; appear," as in "a phenomenon that occurs around the world"; it means "to come into existence; happen," as in "an event that occurred on Friday"; and it means "to come to mind," as in "it occurs to me that the word is quite useful."

It's an unusual-looking word, being so small but with two c's up against each other, and then just a simple r at the end. The r is doubled, though, for the past tense: occurred. And the double r continues in the present participle: occurring.

Examples of occur in a Sentence

The event is scheduled to occur at noon tomorrow. No one was ready for what was about to occur. There's a chance that a similar event will occur in the future. The disease tends to occur in children under the age of five. The plant occurs naturally throughout South America.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web The collision will occur about 6.8 million miles from Earth. Arkansas Online, 25 Nov. 2021 The collision will occur about 6.8 million miles (11 million kilometers) from Earth. John Antczak, USA TODAY, 25 Nov. 2021 Most of Wednesday's sunniness will occur mid to late afternoon with a high of 75 degrees. The Arizona Republic, 24 Nov. 2021 The collision will occur about 6.8 million miles from Earth. Fox News, 24 Nov. 2021 The contact will occur about 6.7 million miles from Earth, roughly 28 times the distance between the Earth and the moon. Washington Post, 21 Nov. 2021 Two more public readings will occur before a final council vote is taken on the ordinance. Beth Mlady, cleveland, 19 Nov. 2021 Snow and rain showers will occur in areas of Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, and western Colorado. Judson Jones, CNN, 19 Nov. 2021 Your hearing will occur within two business days of the request. Madalyn Amato, Los Angeles Times, 19 Nov. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'occur.' 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 occur

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for occur

borrowed from Latin occurrere "to run to meet, confront in a hostile manner, be met, present itself (to the mind)," from oc-, assimilated variant of ob- ob- + currere "to run, roll, move swiftly" — more at current entry 1

Learn More About occur

Time Traveler for occur

Time Traveler

The first known use of occur was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near occur

occupy

occur

occurrence

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for occur

Last Updated

27 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Occur.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/occur. Accessed 8 Dec. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for occur

occur

verb

English Language Learners Definition of occur

: to happen
: to appear or exist : to be found

occur

verb
oc·​cur | \ ə-ˈkər How to pronounce occur (audio) \
occurred; occurring

Kids Definition of occur

1 : to come by or as if by chance : happen Success doesn't just occur, it is earned.
2 : to come into the mind It never occurred to me to ask.
3 : to be found or met with : appear It's a disease that occurs among cows.

More from Merriam-Webster on occur

Nglish: Translation of occur for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of occur for Arabic Speakers

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Flower Edition

Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

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!