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[pree-ok-yuh-pey-shuh n, pree-ok-] /priˌɒk yəˈpeɪ ʃən, ˌpri ɒk-/
the state of being preoccupied.
an act of preoccupying.
Origin of preoccupation
1530-40; < Latin praeoccupātiōn- (stem of praeoccupātiō) a taking possession beforehand. See pre-, occupation
Related forms
overpreoccupation, noun
self-preoccupation, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for preoccupation
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He is the one thing that is hated, and the only preoccupation.

    The Dream Emile Zola
  • It was impossible for her to conceal her preoccupation and anxiety.

  • “No doubt it is the preoccupation of genius,” remarked Mrs. Dickens.

    Cap'n Warren's Wards Joseph C. Lincoln
  • The office force noticed his preoccupation and commented upon it.

    The Portygee Joseph Crosby Lincoln
  • Despite his preoccupation, Captain Zelotes could not help smiling.

    The Portygee Joseph Crosby Lincoln
British Dictionary definitions for preoccupation


the state of being preoccupied, esp mentally
something that holds the attention or preoccupies the mind
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for preoccupation

1550s, "state of occupying beforehand," from Latin praeoccupationem (nominative praeoccupatio) "a seizing beforehand, anticipation," noun of action from past participle stem of praeoccupare, from prae- "before" (see pre-) + occupare "seize" (see occupy). Meaning "mental absorption" is from 1854. Earlier its secondary sense was "bias, prejudice" (c.1600).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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