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[pree-ok-yuh-pahy] /priˈɒk yəˌpaɪ/
verb (used with object), preoccupied, preoccupying.
to absorb or engross to the exclusion of other things.
to occupy beforehand or before others.
Origin of preoccupy
First recorded in 1560-70; pre- + occupy
Related forms
preoccupier, noun
overpreoccupy, verb (used with object), overpreoccupied, overpreoccupying. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for preoccupy
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • To preoccupy this ground, therefore, seemed an important step.

    Xerxes Jacob Abbott
  • And certainly he had enough to excite and preoccupy him just now.

    The Clique of Gold Emile Gaboriau
  • We should forget our successes if they cause pride or preoccupy the mind.

  • Other friends would come in and preoccupy her mind and heart.

    The Major Ralph Connor
  • We should not preoccupy the audience with our own personality.

  • A wise woman would not have brought Irene Lauderdale down here, to preoccupy her.

    The Celebrity at Home Violet Hunt
  • He refers, for proof of his statements, mostly to English documents, and does not try to preoccupy your mind.

  • The Government should preoccupy itself largely with this matter of assimilation: for the process is not complete.

  • She expostulated earnestly with him on the folly of allowing money cares and ambitions to preoccupy him.

    Mary Wollstonecraft Elizabeth Robins Pennell
British Dictionary definitions for preoccupy


verb (transitive) -pies, -pying, -pied
to engross the thoughts or mind of
to occupy before or in advance of another
Word Origin
C16: from Latin praeoccupāre to capture in advance, from prae before + occupāre to seize, take possession of
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 preoccupy

1560s, from pre- + occupy. Related: Preoccupied; preoccupying.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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