from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To fill up (time or space): a lecture that occupied three hours.
  • transitive v. To dwell or reside in.
  • transitive v. To hold or fill (an office or position).
  • transitive v. To seize possession of and maintain control over by or as if by conquest.
  • transitive v. To engage or employ the attention or concentration of: occupied the children with coloring books.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To fill (time).
  • v. To fill (space).
  • v. To live or reside in.
  • v. To have, or to have taken, possession or control of (a territory).
  • v. To fill or hold (an official position or role).
  • v. To possess or use the time or capacity of; to engage the service of.
  • v. To hold the attention of.
  • v. To place the theodolite or total station at (a point).

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • intransitive v. To hold possession; to be an occupant.
  • intransitive v. To follow business; to traffic.
  • transitive v. To take or hold possession of; to hold or keep for use; to possess.
  • transitive v. To hold, or fill, the dimensions of; to take up the room or space of; to cover or fill.
  • transitive v. To possess or use the time or capacity of; to engage the service of; to employ; to busy.
  • transitive v. To do business in; to busy one's self with.
  • transitive v. To use; to expend; to make use of.
  • transitive v. To have sexual intercourse with.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To take possession of and retain or keep; enter upon the possession and use of; hold and use; especially, to take possession of (a place as a place of residence, or in warfare a town or country) and become established in it.
  • To take up, as room or space, or attention, interest, etc.; cover or fill; engross: as, to occupy too much space; to occupy the time with reading; to occupy the attention.
  • To hold, as an office; fill.
  • To take up and follow as a business or employment; be employed about; ply.
  • To employ; give occupation to; engage; busy: often used reflexively: as, to occupy one's self about something.
  • To use; make use of.
  • To possess; enjoy (with an obscene double meaning).
  • Synonyms 1-3. Hold, Own, etc. See possess.
  • To be in possession or occupation; hold possession; be an occupant; have possession and use.
  • To trade; traffic; carry on business.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. require (time or space)
  • v. consume all of one's attention or time
  • v. live (in a certain place)
  • v. occupy the whole of
  • v. be on the mind of
  • v. march aggressively into another's territory by military force for the purposes of conquest and occupation
  • v. keep busy with
  • v. assume, as of positions or roles


Middle English occupien, alteration of Old French occuper, from Latin occupāre, to seize : ob-, intensive pref.; see ob- + capere, to take.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Middle English, from Old French occuper, from Latin occupare ("to take possession of, seize, occupy, take up, employ"), from ob ("to, on") + capere ("to take"). (Wiktionary)



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  • "To possess; enjoy (with an obscene double meaning)." -CD&C

    But, also: "v. To place the theodolite or total station at (a point)." -Wiktionary

    May 12, 2012