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From Middle French occasion, from Old French occasiun, from Latin occasionem (accusative of occasio), noun of action from perfect passive participle occasus, from verb occido, from prefix ob- (down", "away) + verb cado (fall).



occasion (plural occasions)

  1. A favorable opportunity; a convenient or timely chance. [from 14th c.]
    • Bible, Rom. vii. 11
      Sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me.
    • Waller
      I'll take the occasion which he gives to bring / Him to his death.
  2. The time when something happens.
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 13, The Mirror and the Lamp:
      And Vickers launched forth into a tirade very different from his platform utterances. He spoke with extreme contempt of the dense stupidity exhibited on all occasions by the working classes. He said that if you wanted to do anything for them, you must rule them, not pamper them.
    At this point, she seized the occasion to make her own observation.
  3. An occurrence or state of affairs which causes some event or reaction; a motive or reason. [from 14th c.]
    I had no occasion to feel offended, however.
  4. Something which causes something else; a cause. [from 14th c.]
    • 1624, John Smith, Generall Historie, in Kupperman 1988, p. 130:
      it were too vile to say, and scarce to be beleeved, what we endured: but the occasion was our owne, for want of providence, industrie and government [...].
  5. (obsolete) An occurrence or incident. [14th-18th c.]
  6. A particular happening; an instance or time when something occurred. [from 15th c.]
    • 2013 April 9, Andrei Lankov, “Stay Cool. Call North Korea’s Bluff.”, New York Times:
      In the last two decades, North Korea has on various occasions conducted highly provocative missile and nuclear tests and promised to turn Seoul into a sea of fire.
    I could think of two separate occasions when she had deliberately lied to me.
  7. Need; requirement, necessity. [from 16th c.]
    • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 2, The Celebrity:
      I had occasion […] to make a somewhat long business trip to Chicago, and on my return […] I found Farrar awaiting me in the railway station. He smiled his wonted fraction by way of greeting, […], and finally leading me to his buggy, turned and drove out of town. I was completely mystified at such an unusual proceeding.
    I have no occasion for firearms.
    • Jeremy Taylor
      after we have served ourselves and our own occasions
    • Burke
      when my occasions took me into France
  8. A special event or function. [from 19th c.]
    Having people round for dinner was always quite an occasion at our house.
  9. A reason or excuse; a motive; a persuasion.
    • Spenser
      Whose manner was, all passengers to stay, / And entertain with her occasions sly.


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occasion (third-person singular simple present occasions, present participle occasioning, simple past and past participle occasioned)

  1. (transitive) To give occasion to; to cause; to produce; to induce; as, to occasion anxiety.
    it is seen that the mental changes are occasioned by a change of polarity


Related terms[edit]




Borrowed from Latin occāsiōnem (accusative of occāsiō). Compare the inherited Old French ochoison, achaison (the latter being influenced by Latin accūsātiō).


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occasion f (plural occasions)

  1. occasion, opportunity
  2. cause
  3. bargain, good deal

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