Definition of occasion in English:

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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
More example sentences
  • 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;
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
More example sentences
  • 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
More example sentences
  • 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
Cause (something): something vital must have occasioned this visit [with two objects]: his death occasioned her much grief
More example sentences
  • Much sadness was occasioned by the sudden death of well known Claremorris chemist Sean O'Brien at the weekend.
  • Patrick was a popular and esteemed member of the local rural community and much sadness was occasioned by his death.
  • These rites control the pollution occasioned by death, and also usher the soul from one life to another.



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'.

  • accident from Late Middle English:

    An accident was originally ‘an event, something that happens’, not necessarily a mishap. It came into English via Old French, ultimately from Latin cadere, meaning ‘to fall’, which also gave us words such as cadaver (Late Middle English) ‘someone fallen’, chance, decay (Late Middle English) ‘fall away’, incident (Late Middle English) ‘fall upon’ so ‘happen’; and occasion (Late Middle English). The idea of an event ‘falling’ remains in the English word befall (Old English). Later the meaning of accident evolved into ‘something that happens by chance’, as in the phrase a happy accident. By the 17th century the modern meaning had become established in the language. The full form of the proverb accidents will happen, which dates from the early 19th century, is accidents will happen in the best-regulated families. According to Mr Micawber in Charles Dickens's David Copperfield (1850): ‘Accidents will occur in the best-regulated families; and in families not regulated by…the influence of Woman, in the lofty character of Wife, they must be expected with confidence, and must be borne with philosophy.’ See also adventure

Words that rhyme with occasion

abrasion, Australasian, equation, Eurasian, evasion, invasion, persuasion, pervasion, suasion, Vespasian

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: oc¦ca|sion

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