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

  1. to take or fill up (space, time, etc.): I occupied my evenings reading novels.
  2. to engage or employ the mind, energy, or attention of: Occupy the children with a game while I prepare dinner.
  3. to be a resident or tenant of; dwell in: We occupied the same house for 20 years.
  4. to hold (a position, office, etc.).
  5. to take possession and control of (a place), as by military invasion.
  6. (usually initial capital letter) to participate in a protest about (a social or political issue), as by taking possession or control of buildings or public places that are symbolic of the issue: Let’s Occupy our voting rights! The Occupy Wall Street movement of late 2011 was a protest against economic inequality.

verb (used without object), oc·cu·pied, oc·cu·py·ing.

  1. to take or hold possession.
  2. (usually initial capital letter) to participate in a protest about a social or political issue.


  1. (usually initial capital letter) of or relating to a protest about a social or political issue, as in Occupy movement; Occupy protest; Occupy candidate: the Occupy movement for social justice.

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

  1. to live or be established in (a house, flat, office, etc)
  2. (often passive) to keep (a person) busy or engrossed; engage the attention of
  3. (often passive) to take up (a certain amount of time or space)
  4. to take and hold possession of, esp as a demonstrationstudents occupied the college buildings
  5. to fill or hold (a position or rank)

v.mid-14c., “to take possession of,” also “to take up space or time, employ (someone),” irregularly borrowed from Old French occuper “occupy (a person or place), hold, seize” (13c.) or directly from Latin occupare “take over, seize, take into possession, possess, occupy,” from ob “over” (see ob-) + intensive form of capere “to grasp, seize” (see capable). The final syllable of the English word is difficult to explain, but it is as old as the record; perhaps from a modification made in Anglo-French. During 16c.-17c. a common euphemism for “have sexual intercourse with” (sense attested from early 15c.), which caused it to fall from polite usage. “A captaine? Gods light these villaines wil make the word as odious as the word occupy, which was an excellent good worde before it was il sorted.” [Doll Tearsheet in “2 Henry IV”] Related: Occupied; occupying.

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