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See more synonyms for preoccupy on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object), pre·oc·cu·pied, pre·oc·cu·py·ing.
  1. to absorb or engross to the exclusion of other things.
  2. to occupy beforehand or before others.
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Origin of preoccupy

First recorded in 1560–70; pre- + occupy
Related formspre·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.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Examples from the Web for preoccupy

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • To preoccupy this ground, therefore, seemed an important step.


    Jacob Abbott

  • And certainly he had enough to excite and preoccupy him just now.

    The Clique of Gold

    Emile Gaboriau

  • We should forget our successes if they cause pride or preoccupy the mind.

  • Other friends would come in and preoccupy her mind and heart.

    The Major

    Ralph Connor

  • We should not preoccupy the audience with our own personality.

British Dictionary definitions for preoccupy


verb -pies, -pying or -pied (tr)
  1. to engross the thoughts or mind of
  2. to occupy before or in advance of another
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Word Origin

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

Word Origin and History for preoccupy


1560s, from pre- + occupy. Related: Preoccupied; preoccupying.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper