See more synonyms for occasion on Thesaurus.com
  1. a particular time, especially as marked by certain circumstances or occurrences: They met on three occasions.
  2. a special or important time, event, ceremony, celebration, etc.: His birthday will be quite an occasion.
  3. a convenient or favorable time, opportunity, or juncture: This slack period would be a good occasion to take inventory.
  4. the immediate or incidental cause or reason for some action or result: What is the occasion for this uproar?
  5. (in the philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead) the coincidence of the eternal objects forming a specific point-event.
  6. occasions, Obsolete.
    1. needs or necessities.
    2. necessary business matters: to go about one's lawful occasions.
verb (used with object)
  1. to give occasion or cause for; bring about.
  1. on occasion, now and then; from time to time; occasionally: She visits New York on occasion.

Origin of occasion

1350–1400; Middle English occasioun < Old French occasion < Latin occāsiōn- (stem of occāsiō), equivalent to oc- oc- + cās(us) (past participle of cadere to fall, befall) + -iōn- -ion
Related formspre·oc·ca·sioned, adjective

Synonyms for occasion

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Synonym study

4. See cause.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for on occasion


  1. (sometimes foll by of) the time of a particular happening or event
  2. (sometimes foll by for) a reason or cause (to do or be something); groundsthere was no occasion to complain
  3. an opportunity (to do something); chance
  4. a special event, time, or celebrationthe party was quite an occasion
  5. on occasion every so often
  6. rise to the occasion to have the courage, wit, etc, to meet the special demands of a situation
  7. take occasion to avail oneself of an opportunity (to do something)
  1. (tr) to bring about, esp incidentally or by chance
See also occasions

Word Origin for occasion

C14: from Latin occāsiō a falling down, from occidere, from ob- down + cadere to fall
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 on occasion



late 14c., "opportunity; grounds for action, state of affairs that makes something else possible; a happening, occurrence," from Old French ochaison, ocasion "cause, reason, excuse, pretext; opportunity" (13c.) or directly from Latin occasionem (nominative occasio) "opportunity, appropriate time," in Late Latin "cause," from occasum, occasus, past participle of occidere "fall down, go down," from ob "down, away" (see ob-) + cadere "to fall" (see case (n.1)). The notion is of a "falling together," or juncture, of circumstances.



mid-15c., "to bring (something) about," from occasion (n.), or else from Old French occasionner "to cause," from Medieval Latin occasionare, from Latin occasionem (see occasion (n.)). Related: Occasioned; occasioning.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with on occasion

on occasion

From time to time, now and then, as in Nell has been known to eat meat on occasion. This usage, first in the form of upon occasion, replaced by occasion about 1600.


see on occasion; rise to the occasion.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.