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preoccupy Syllabification: pre·oc·cu·py
Pronunciation: /prēˈäkyəˌpī/

Definition of preoccupy in English:

verb (preoccupies, preoccupying, preoccupied)

[with object]
(Of a matter or subject) dominate or engross the mind of (someone) to the exclusion of other thoughts: his mother was preoccupied with paying the bills (as adjective preoccupied) she seemed a bit preoccupied
More example sentences
  • Although he makes provision for his soul, it is only in general terms and he is not preoccupied with the matter.
  • Why do sectarian issues so preoccupy these young people?
  • The magistrate was preoccupied with other matters and was not listening closely.
obsessed, concerned, absorbed, engrossed, intent, involved, wrapped up
lost/deep in thought, in a brown study, pensive, absentminded, distracted, abstracted
engross, concern, absorb, take up someone's attention, distract, obsess, occupy, prey on someone's mind


Mid 16th century: from pre- + occupy, suggested by Latin praeoccupare 'seize beforehand'.

Definition of preoccupy in:

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