• (RP) IPA: /ˈɒkjʊpaɪ/
  • (America) IPA: /ˈɑkjəpaɪ/


  1. (transitive, of time) To take or use.
    1. To fill.
      The film occupied three hours of my time.
    2. To possess or use the time or capacity of; to engage the service of.
      The film occupied me for three hours.
      I occupy myself with gardening for a few hours every day.
    3. To fill or hold (an official position or role).
      I occupy the post of deputy cat catcher.
    4. To hold the attention of.
      I occupied her friend while he made his proposal.
  2. (transitive) To take or use space.
    1. To fill space.
      The historic mansion occupied two city blocks.
    2. To live or reside in.
      • The better apartments were already occupied.
      • 1992, Rudolf M[athias] Schuster, The Hepaticae and Anthocerotae of North America: East of the Hundredth Meridian, volume V, New York, N.Y.: Columbia University Press, →ISBN, page vii:
        With fresh material, taxonomic conclusions are leavened by recognition that the material examined reflects the site it occupied; a herbarium packet gives one only a small fraction of the data desirable for sound conclusions. Herbarium material does not, indeed, allow one to extrapolate safely: what you see is what you get{{...}
    3. (military) To have, or to have taken, possession or control of (a territory).
      • 1940, in The China monthly review, volumes 94-95, page 370 :
        The Japanese can occupy but cannot hold, and what they can hold they cannot hold long, was the opinion of General Pai Chung-hsi, Chief of the General Staff of the Chinese Army, […]
      • 1975, Esmé Cecil Wingfield-Stratford, King Charles and King Pym, 1637-1643, page 330 :
        Rupert, with his usual untamable energy, was scouring the country — but at first in the wrong direction, that of Aylesbury, another keypoint in the outer ring of Oxford defences, which he occupied but could not hold.
      • 1983, Arthur Keppel-Jones, Rhodes and Rhodesia: The White Conquest of Zimbabwe, 1884-1902, page 462:
        One of the rebel marksmen, who had taken up position on a boulder, was knocked off it by the recoil of his weapon every time he fired. Again the attack achieved nothing. Positions were occupied, but could not be held.
      • 1991, Werner Spies, John William Gabriel, Max Ernst collages: the invention of the surrealist universe, page 333:
        Germany occupied France for three years while France struggled to make payments that were a condition of surrender.
      • 2006, John Michael Francis, Iberia and the Americas: Culture, Politics, and History, page 496:
        Spain occupied, but could not populate, and its failure to expand Florida led Britain to consider the peninsula a logical extension of its colonial holdings.
    4. (surveying) To place the theodolite or total station at (a point).
  3. (transitive, obsolete) To have sexual intercourse with.
    • 1590s, William Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part 2, [https://web.archive.org/web/20050213091755/http://www.web-books.com/Classics/Shakespeare/2HenryIV/2HenryIV2_7.htm II.iv]
      God's light, these villains will make the word as odious as the word 'occupy;' which was an excellent good word before it was ill sorted
    • 1867, Robert Nares A Glossary
      OCCUPY, [sensu obsc.] To possess, or enjoy.
      These villains will make the word captain, as odious as the word occupy. 2 Hen. IV, ii, 4.
      Groyne, come of age, his state sold out of hand
      For 's whore; Groyne still doth occupy his land. B. Jons. Epigr., 117.
      Many, out of their own obscene apprehensions, refuse proper and fit words, as occupy, nature, and the like. Ibid., Discoveries, vol. vii, p. 119.
      It is so used also in Rowley's New Wonder, Anc. Dr., v, 278.
  4. (obsolete) To do business in; to busy oneself with.
    • Bible, Book of Ezekiel xxvii. 9
      All the ships of the sea, with their mariners, were in thee to occupy the merchandise.
    • 1551, Ralph Robinson (humanist) (tr.), Sir Thomas More's Utopia (book) (in Latin), 1516
      not able to occupy their old crafts
  5. (obsolete) To use; to expend; to make use of.
    • Bible, Book of Exodus xxxviii. 24
      all the gold that was occupied for the work
    • 1551, Ralph Robinson (humanist) (tr.), Sir Thomas More's Utopia (book) (in Latin), 1516
      They occupy not money themselves.
Synonyms Related terms Translations Translations Translations Translations Translations Translations
  • French: occuper
  • Russian: занима́ть
Translations Translations
Proper noun
  1. Synonym of OWS (“"Occupy Wall Street" protest movement”)

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