preoccupy

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From pre- +‎ occupy, after Middle French preoccuper, and its source, Latin praeoccupo, praeoccupare. Doublet of preoccupate, now obsolete.

Pronunciation[edit]

Verb[edit]

preoccupy (third-person singular simple present preoccupies, present participle preoccupying, simple past and past participle preoccupied)

  1. (transitive) To distract; to occupy or draw attention elsewhere. [from 16th c.]
    The father tried to preoccupy the child with his keys.
  2. (transitive, obsolete) To occupy or take possession of beforehand. [16th–19th c.]
    • 1751, Tobias Smollett, The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle, vol. III, ch. 91:
      Terrified at this uproar, [] she ran for shelter into the place which was pre-occupied by the other lady [] .

Related terms[edit]

Translations[edit]