View synonyms for occupation


[ ok-yuh-pey-shuhn ]


  1. a person's usual or principal work or business, especially as a means of earning a living; vocation:

    Her occupation was dentistry.

    Synonyms: métier, craft, pursuit, employment

  2. any activity in which a person is engaged.
  3. possession, settlement, or use of land or property.

    Synonyms: occupancy

  4. the act of occupying, possessing, or settling.
  5. the state of being occupied, taken over, or settled.
  6. the state of being busy:

    His constant occupation with his writing has cut severely into his social life.

  7. the seizure and control of an area by military forces, especially foreign territory.
  8. the term of control of a territory by foreign military forces:

    Danish resistance during the German occupation.

  9. tenure or the holding of an office or official function:

    during his occupation of the vice presidency.

  10. the act of going into and taking control of a public or private space, as a park or building, especially as an act of protest:

    The students' week-long occupation of the dean's office brought about a change in the university's curfew policy.

  11. the state or condition of living or working in a given place:

    The landlord will not allow occupation of any of his apartments by families with children or pets.


/ ˌɒkjʊˈpeɪʃən /


  1. a person's regular work or profession; job or principal activity
  2. any activity on which time is spent by a person
  3. the act of occupying or the state of being occupied
  4. the control of a country by a foreign military power
  5. the period of time that a nation, place, or position is occupied
  6. modifier for the use of the occupier of a particular property

    occupation bridge

    occupation road

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Other Words From

  • occu·pation·less adjective
  • occu·pative adjective
  • nonoc·cu·pation noun
  • reoc·cu·pation noun
  • self-occu·pation noun

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Word History and Origins

Origin of occupation1

First recorded in 1250–1300; Middle English occupacioun, from Middle French occupation, from Latin occupātiōn-, stem of occupātiō “employment, seizure,” from occupāt(us) “seized” (past participle of occupāre “to seize, take hold”; occupy ) + -iō -ion

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Synonym Study

Occupation, business, profession, trade refer to the activity to which one regularly devotes oneself, especially one's regular work, or means of getting a living. Occupation is the general word: a pleasant or congenial occupation. Business especially suggests a commercial or mercantile occupation: the printing business. Profession implies an occupation requiring special knowledge and training in some field of science or learning: the profession of teaching. Trade suggests an occupation involving manual training and skill: one of the building trades.

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Example Sentences

Throughout the war period, service members had to leave their occupations and families, travel to one of 32 training camps scattered across the country and face the prospect of deploying overseas, perhaps never to return.

Those numbers come from a new report out of California that shines a light on the shocking risk to covid-19 by occupation.

He subsequently joined the British civil service — later joking that he “thought it would be a nice quiet occupation” — and served in India and Malaysia before he was posted in Canada.

Some states’ vaccine distribution plans are based entirely on age, occupation and other factors such as race or residential setting.

The resulting occupation of the Capitol was horrifying enough, but if MAGA paramilitaries had reached Congress before it was safely evacuated the day could easily have turned out incalculably worse.

From Time

He was born in a barn to penniless parents who were part of a people under occupation.

They have endured intifadas and an often cruel military occupation.

In reality, the Iraqi borders had been arbitrarily drawn and disregarded 2,000 years of tribal, sectarian, and nomadic occupation.

Tatar control—part occupation and part suzerainty over impotent, tribute-paying Russian principalities—lasted more than 200 years.

His writings usually identify an enemy, such as the U.S. government, minorities, or the chimeric Zionist Occupation Government.

At an early hour next morning the train of wagons got into motion, and the hunters went out to their usual occupation.

But, fortunately, they had scant time for repining, and there is nothing like active occupation to banish useless brooding.

Everywhere there was a sense of recent occupation, an impression of sadness and gloom.

Let the wags laugh on; but a far pleasanter occupation is to sleep until breakfast-time, or near it.

The proportion of the population engaged in gainful occupation at the present time is significant.


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