Definition of occasion in English:


Line breaks: oc¦ca|sion
Pronunciation: /əˈkeɪʒ(ə)n


  • 1A particular event, or the time at which it takes place: on one occasion I stayed up until two in the morning
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    • Holidays and other special occasions are marked with singing and dancing.
    • Theresa is already working on big celebrations to mark the special occasion in the history of the prominent Association.
    • Ceremonies marking many official occasions are held in the country's churches.
    instance, time, moment, juncture, point; event, happening, occurrence, affair, incident, episode, experience, situation, case, circumstance
  • 1.1A special or noteworthy event, ceremony, or celebration: she was presented with a gold watch to mark the occasion [mass noun]: Sunday lunch has a suitable sense of occasion about it
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    • The name-giving ceremony is a formal occasion celebrated by feasting and drinking.
    • Mass will be celebrated to mark the occasion and the dinner and party will be held in the Anglers Rest Hotel in Headford.
    • In 1974 he was invited to address the US Congress on the occasion of the celebrations marking the American bicentennial.
    social event, event, affair, function, celebration, party, ceremony, get-together, gathering
    informal do, bash
    British informal rave-up, thrash, knees-up, jolly, beanfeast, bunfight, beano, lig
  • 1.2A suitable or opportune time for doing something: by-elections are traditionally an occasion for registering protest votes
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    • Opportunity refers to the occasion suitable for or conducive to the behavior, including such factors as geography and time.
    • The occasion arose through the trip of the old people to Poppleton, given by Captain Grace, on the ‘River King’ a few weeks before.
    • Ms. Ayotte said she was prepared to issue a formal opinion to that effect if the occasion arose.
    opportunity, suitable/opportune time, right moment, chance, opening, window
  • 2 [mass noun] formal Reason; cause: [with infinitive]: it’s the first time that I’ve had occasion to complain
    More example sentences
    • Actually, there is no special occasion or reason to buy the stuff.
    • There may be occasion at work and reason at home, for you to lose your cool or balance but that's not helpful so avoid extremes of any kind.
    • For the first thirty years of my academic career, I had no occasion and no reason to worry about sports.
    reason, cause, call, grounds, justification, need, necessity, requirement, excuse, pretext, stimulus, inducement, provocation, motive


[with object] formal Back to top  


on occasion (or occasions)

Occasionally; from time to time: on occasion, the state was asked to intervene
More example sentences
  • The three journalists who interviewed Putin for this book are pleasingly sassy on occasion.
  • Once there, Joe's life became one of living in hostels or, on occasions, even sleeping rough.
  • My students used to ask on occasions whether they were different from my students in Czechoslovakia.

rise to the occasion

Perform better than usual in response to a special situation or event: when it comes to the finals, they can rise to the occasion
More example sentences
  • As the event unfolded, Samuel rose to the occasion.
  • Nadia rose to the occasion, performing almost flawlessly.
  • Australians who came into the game with a ‘must win’ situation rose to the occasion in fine style and outplayed the Kiwis.

take occasion

archaic Make use of an opportunity to do something: I shall here take occasion to propose a second observation
More example sentences
  • I took occasion from thence to speak strongly to her, concerning the hand of God, and his design in all afflictions.
  • For I am possessed of a cat, surpassing in beauty, from whom I take occasion to bless Almighty God.
  • But sin, taking occasion by the Commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence.


late Middle English: from Latin occasio(n-) 'juncture, reason', from occidere 'go down, set', from ob- 'towards' + cadere 'to fall'.

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