[ 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.


Fend Off Sciolism With This Word Of The Day Quiz
Are you the Cinderella of this week’s quiz? Test your memory on the words and definitions from March 23–29.
Question 1 of 7

Origin of preoccupied

First recorded in 1835–45; preoccupy + -ed2

SYNONYMS FOR preoccupied

1 busy; concentrating.

OTHER WORDS FROM preoccupied

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


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. 2020

Example sentences 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