[ pree-ok-yuh-pahyd ]
/ priˈɒk yəˌpaɪd /


completely engrossed in thought; absorbed.
previously occupied; taken; filled.
Biology. already used as a name for some species, genus, etc., and not available as a designation for any other.

Origin of preoccupied

First recorded in 1835–45; preoccupy + -ed2

SYNONYMS FOR preoccupied

1 busy; concentrating.

Related forms

pre·oc·cu·pied·ly, adverbpre·oc·cu·pied·ness, nounun·pre·oc·cu·pied, adjective

Definition for preoccupied (2 of 2)


[ pree-ok-yuh-pahy ]
/ priˈɒk yəˌpaɪ /

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

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

pre·oc·cu·pi·er, nouno·ver·pre·oc·cu·py, verb (used with object), o·ver·pre·oc·cu·pied, o·ver·pre·oc·cu·py·ing. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for preoccupied

British Dictionary definitions for preoccupied (1 of 2)


/ (priːˈɒkjʊˌpaɪd) /


engrossed or absorbed in something, esp one's own thoughts
already or previously occupied
biology (of a taxonomic name) already used to designate a genus, species, etc

British Dictionary definitions for preoccupied (2 of 2)


/ (priːˈɒkjʊˌpaɪ) /

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

to engross the thoughts or mind of
to occupy before or in advance of another

Word Origin for preoccupy

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