occupy - definition and synonyms

verb [transitive] 

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present tense
present participleoccupying
past tenseoccupied
past participleoccupied
  1. 1
    if someone occupies a room, building, area of land, seat, bed, or other place during a period of time, they use it

    The Smith family have occupied this farm for over a hundred years.

    All the seats on the bus were occupied.

    1. a.
      if something occupies a space or a period of time, it is present in it or fills it

      Warehouses occupied most of the site.

      Commercial photography occupied much of his time.

  2. 2
    to be in control of a place that you have entered in a group using military force
    1. a.
      to move into a public place and stay there for a period of time in order to show that you strongly disagree with a policy, law etc

      I spoke at length with various religious folk during my time in Occupy London.

  3. 4
    to keep someone busy at an activity

    I need some way to occupy the kids for an hour.

    keep someone occupied:

    You keep him occupied down here while I check upstairs.

    be occupied with something:

    He’s still fully occupied with writing his report.

    occupy yourself (with something):

    You need to find something to occupy yourself with when you retire.

  4. 5
    formal if something occupies your mind, thoughts, or attention, or if it occupies you, you think about it a lot

    These thoughts occupied my mind, though I tried to sleep.

    The problem has been occupying me all week.

    be occupied with something:

    My mind’s been too occupied with moving house to think about a holiday.