verb (used with object), oc·cu·pied, oc·cu·py·ing.

verb (used without object), oc·cu·pied, oc·cu·py·ing.

to take or hold possession.
(usually initial capital letter) to participate in a protest about a social or political issue.


(usually initial capital letter) of or relating to a protest about a social or political issue, as in Occupy movement; Occupy protest; Occupy candidate: the Occupy movement for social justice.

Origin of occupy

1300–50; Middle English occupien < Middle French occuper < Latin occupāre to seize, take hold, take up, make one's own, equivalent to oc- oc- + -cup-, combining form of capere to take, seize + -āre infinitive suffix
Related formsoc·cu·pi·a·ble, adjectiveoc·cu·pi·er, nounmis·oc·cu·py, verb, mis·oc·cu·pied, mis·oc·cu·py·ing.o·ver·oc·cu·pied, adjectivere·oc·cu·py, verb (used with object), re·oc·cu·pied, re·oc·cu·py·ing.self-oc·cu·pied, adjectiveun·der·oc·cu·pied, adjectivewell-oc·cu·pied, adjective

Synonyms for occupy

2. use, busy. 5. capture, seize.

Synonym study

1, 3–5. See have.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for occupying

Contemporary Examples of occupying

Historical Examples of occupying

  • The woman had consented to our occupying an out-house, and had agreed to buy the provisions.

    Ned Myers

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • It was a beautiful morning, and Gloria and the cat were occupying the broad piazza.

    Gloria and Treeless Street

    Annie Hamilton Donnell

  • Will this be excuse enough for occupying a few sentences with the rhyming of this poem?

    A Dish Of Orts

    George MacDonald

  • The subgleba broad, occupying about one-third of the cavity.

  • Instead of occupying the rear seat she climbed to that beside me.

    Kent Knowles: Quahaug

    Joseph C. Lincoln

British Dictionary definitions for occupying


verb -pies, -pying or -pied (tr)

to live or be established in (a house, flat, office, etc)
(often passive) to keep (a person) busy or engrossed; engage the attention of
(often passive) to take up (a certain amount of time or space)
to take and hold possession of, esp as a demonstrationstudents occupied the college buildings
to fill or hold (a position or rank)

Word Origin for occupy

C14: from Old French occuper, from Latin occupāre to seize hold of, from ob- (intensive) + capere to take
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

Word Origin and History for occupying



mid-14c., "to take possession of," also "to take up space or time, employ (someone)," irregularly borrowed from Old French occuper "occupy (a person or place), hold, seize" (13c.) or directly from Latin occupare "take over, seize, take into possession, possess, occupy," from ob "over" (see ob-) + intensive form of capere "to grasp, seize" (see capable). The final syllable of the English word is difficult to explain, but it is as old as the record; perhaps from a modification made in Anglo-French. During 16c.-17c. a common euphemism for "have sexual intercourse with" (sense attested from early 15c.), which caused it to fall from polite usage.

"A captaine? Gods light these villaines wil make the word as odious as the word occupy, which was an excellent good worde before it was il sorted." [Doll Tearsheet in "2 Henry IV"]

Related: Occupied; occupying.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper