When you spend a lot of your free time reading tea leaves, you occupy yourself with that pastime, meaning it takes up your time and keeps you busy.

An army can invade another country and occupy its territory, and this use of the word reflects its original Latin meaning, which was "to seize." There are also less aggressive forms of occupation, as with the family of chipmunks who occupy your garden. If you are the mayor of your town, you occupy an important office. And if you're a fan of Andy Warhol, a series of Campbell's soup can paintings may occupy a prominent place on your walls.

Definitions of occupy
  1. verb
    live (in a certain place)
    “he occupies two rooms on the top floor”
    synonyms: lodge in, reside
    see moresee less
    show 4 types...
    hide 4 types...
    move in
    occupy a place
    stay at
    reside temporarily
    occupy (a dwelling) illegally
    occupy, usually uninvited
    type of:
    dwell, inhabit, live, populate
    inhabit or live in; be an inhabitant of
  2. verb
    occupy the whole of
    synonyms: fill
    see moresee less
    fill or occupy to the point of overflowing
    take up
    take up time or space
    type of:
    occupy a certain position or area; be somewhere
  3. verb
    require (time or space)
    “This event occupied a very short time”
    synonyms: take, use up
    consume, deplete, eat, eat up, exhaust, run through, use up, wipe out
    use up (resources or materials)
    see moresee less
    spend or use time
    type of:
    expend, use
    use up or consume fully
  4. verb
    assume, as of positions or roles
    “he occupies the position of manager”
    “the young prince will soon occupy the throne”
    synonyms: fill, take
    assume, strike, take, take up
    occupy or take on
    see moresee less
    type of:
    do work, work
    be employed
  5. verb
    keep busy with
    synonyms: busy
    see moresee less
    potter, putter
    work lightly
    dabble, play around, smatter
    work with in an amateurish manner
    type of:
    exert oneself by doing mental or physical work for a purpose or out of necessity
  6. verb
    consume all of one's attention or time
    synonyms: absorb, engage, engross
    see moresee less
    occupy or engage the interest of
    engage fully
    hold (someone's attention)
    type of:
    excite the curiosity of; engage the interest of
  7. verb
    be on the mind of
    synonyms: concern, interest, worry
  8. verb
    march aggressively into another's territory by military force for the purposes of conquest and occupation
    synonyms: invade
    see moresee less
    infest, overrun
    invade in great numbers
    type of:
    assail, attack
    launch an attack or assault on; begin hostilities or start warfare with
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by Vocabulary.com’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week