Definition of occur in English:

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Pronunciation: /əˈkəː/

verb (occurs, occurring, occurred)

[no object, with adverbial]
1Happen; take place: the accident occurred at about 3.30 p.m.
More example sentences
  • An air bag is designed to protect a driver or passenger in the event that an accident occurs.
  • Hallucinations usually occur only at particular times and places, and are associated with the events hoped for.
  • The functional impairments secondary to osteoarthritis also occur more frequently in older adults.
North American informal go down
archaic hap
rare eventuate
1.1Exist or be found to be present in a place or under a particular set of conditions: radon occurs naturally in rocks such as granite
More example sentences
  • Anthrax is a naturally occurring bacterium that exists in the form of spores which allow it to survive in the environment.
  • It is probable that every naturally occurring element is present in the outer core at least at trace levels.
  • Silica is rare but when present occurs in vascular bundle sheath cells in both the leaf sheath and leaf blade.
be found, be present, exist, be met with, appear, prevail, present itself, show itself, manifest itself, turn up
formal obtain
1.2 (occur to) (Of a thought or idea) come into the mind of: [with clause]: it occurred to him that he hadn’t eaten
More example sentences
  • He would often get up from bed at night when an idea occurred to him and write it down.
  • She turned her eyes down to the paw she held, several ideas occurring to her simultaneously.
  • I leaned over again so that I could see it more clearly, then an idea occurred to me.
enter one's head/mind, cross one's mind, come to mind, spring to mind, come to one, strike one, hit one, dawn on one, suggest itself, present itself, come into one's consciousness


Late 15th century: from Latin occurrere 'go to meet, present itself', from ob- 'against' + currere 'to run'.

  • cursor from Middle English:

    Nowadays we call the movable indicator on our computer screen the cursor. In medieval English a cursor was a running messenger: it is a borrowing of the Latin word for ‘a runner’, and comes from currere ‘to run’. From the late 16th century cursor became the term for a sliding part of a slide rule or other instrument, marked with a line for pinpointing the position on a scale that you want, the forerunner of the computing sense. Currere is the source of very many English words including course (Middle English) something you run along; concourse (Late Middle English) originally a crowd who had ‘run together’; current (Middle English) originally meaning ‘running, flowing’; discursive (late 16th century) running away from the point; excursion (late 16th century) running out to see things; intercourse (Late Middle English) originally an exchange running between people; and precursor (Late Middle English) one who goes before; as well as supplying the cur part of concur (Late Middle English); incur (Late Middle English); occur (Late Middle English) (from ob- ‘against’); and recur (Middle English).

Words that rhyme with occur

à deux, agent provocateur, astir, auteur, aver, bestir, blur, bon viveur, burr, Chandigarh, coiffeur, concur, confer, connoisseur, cordon-bleu, cri de cœur, cur, danseur, Darfur, defer, demur, de rigueur, deter, entrepreneur, er, err, farceur, faute de mieux, fir, flâneur, Fleur, force majeure, fur, hauteur, her, infer, inter, jongleur, Kerr, littérateur, longueur, masseur, Monseigneur, monsieur, Montesquieu, Montreux, murre, myrrh, pas de deux, Pasteur, per, pisteur, poseur, pot-au-feu, prefer, prie-dieu, pudeur, purr, raconteur, rapporteur, refer, répétiteur, restaurateur, saboteur, sabreur, seigneur, Sher, shirr, sir, skirr, slur, souteneur, spur, stir, tant mieux, transfer, Ur, vieux jeu, voyageur, voyeur, were, whirr

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: occur

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