What does occasion mean?

Definitions for occasion
əˈkeɪ ʒənoc·ca·sion

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word occasion.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. juncture, occasionnoun

    an event that occurs at a critical time

    "at such junctures he always had an impulse to leave"; "it was needed only on special occasions"

  2. affair, occasion, social occasion, function, social functionnoun

    a vaguely specified social event

    "the party was quite an affair"; "an occasion arranged to honor the president"; "a seemingly endless round of social functions"

  3. occasionnoun


    "there was no occasion for complaint"

  4. occasionnoun

    the time of a particular event

    "on the occasion of his 60th birthday"

  5. occasionverb

    an opportunity to do something

    "there was never an occasion for her to demonstrate her skill"

  6. occasionverb

    give occasion to


  1. occasionnoun

    A favorable opportunity; a convenient or timely chance.

    At this point, she seized the occasion to make her own observation.

  2. occasionnoun

    An occurrence or state of affairs which causes some event or reaction; a motive or reason.

    I had no occasion to feel offended, however.

  3. occasionnoun

    Something which causes something else; a cause.

  4. occasionnoun

    An occurrence or incident.

  5. occasionnoun

    A particular happening; an instance or time when something occurred.

    I could think of two separate occasions when she had deliberately lied to me.

  6. occasionnoun

    Need; requirement, necessity.

  7. occasionnoun

    A special event or function.

    Having people round for dinner was always quite an occasion at our house.

  8. occasionverb

    To give occasion to; to cause; to produce; to induce; as, to occasion anxiety.

    it is seen that the mental changes are occasioned by a change of polarity

  9. Etymology: From ocasion, from occasionem (accusative of occasio), noun of action from perfect passive participle occasus, from verb occado, from prefix ob- + verb cado.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. OCCASIONnoun

    Etymology: occasion, Fr. occasio, Lat.

    The laws of Christ we find rather mentioned by occasion in the writings of the Apostles, than any solemn thing directly written to comprehend them in legal sort. Richard Hooker.

    Unweeting, and unware of such mishap,
    She brought to mischief through occasion,
    Where this same wicked villain did me light upon. Fa. Q.

    That woman that cannot make her fault her husband’s occasion, let her never nurse her child herself, for she will breed it like a fool. William Shakespeare, As you like it.

    Because of the money returned in our sacks are we brought in, that he may seek occasion, fall upon us, and take us for bondmen. Gen. xliii. 18.

    Use not liberty for an occasion. Gal. v. 13.

    Let me not let pass
    Occasion which now smiles. John Milton, Par. Lost, b. ix.

    I’ll take th’ occasion which he gives to bring
    Him to his death. Edmund Waller.

    With a mind as great as theirs he came
    To find at home occasion for his fame,
    Where dark confusions did the nations hide. Edmund Waller.

    From this admonition they took only occasion to redouble their fault, and to sleep again. South.

    This one has occasion of observing more than once in several fragments of antiquity, that are still to be seen in Rome. Joseph Addison, on Italy.

    Have you ever heard what was the occasion and first beginning of this custom? Edmund Spenser, on Ireland.

    The fair for whom they strove,
    Nor thought, when she beheld the fight from far,
    Her beauty was th’ occasion of the war. Dryden.

    Your own business calls on you,
    And you embrace th’ occasion to depart. William Shakespeare.

    Concerning ideas lodged in the memory, and upon occasion revived by the mind, it takes notice of them as of a former impression. John Locke.

    Never master had
    A page so kind, so duteous, diligent,
    So tender over his occasions. William Shakespeare, Cymbeline.

    Antony will use his affection where it is:
    He married but his occasion here. William Shakespeare, Ant. and Cleop.

    My occasions have found time to use them toward a supply of money. William Shakespeare, Timon of Athens.

    They who are desirous of a name in painting, should read with diligence, and make their observations of such things as they find for their purpose, and of which they may have occasion. John Dryden, Dufresnoy.

    Syllogism is made use of on occasion to discover a fallacy hid in a rhetorical flourish. John Locke.

    The ancient canons were very well fitted for the occasions of the church in its purer ages. Thomas Baker, on Learning.

    God hath put us into an imperfect state, where we have perpetual occasion of each other’s assistance. Jonathan Swift.

    A prudent chief not always must display
    His pow’rs in equal ranks, and fair array,
    But with th’ occasion and the place comply,
    Conceal his force, nay, seem sometimes to fly. Alexander Pope.

  2. To Occasionverb

    Etymology: occasionner, Fr. from the noun.

    Who can find it reasonable that the soul should, in its retirement, during sleep, never light on any of those ideas it borrowed not from sensation, preserve the memory of no ideas but such, which being occasioned from the body, must needs be less natural to a spirit? John Locke.

    The good Psalmist condemns the foolish thoughts, which a reflection on the prosperous state of his affairs had sometimes occasioned in him. Francis Atterbury.

    I doubt not, whether the great encrease of that disease may not have been occasioned by the custom of much wine introduced into our common tables. William Temple.

    By its styptic quality it affects the nerves, very often occasioning tremors. John Arbuthnot, on Aliments.

    If we enquire what it is that occasions men to make several combinations of simple ideas into distinct modes, and neglect others which have as much an aptness to be combined, we shall find the reason to be the end of language. John Locke.


  1. occasion

    An occasion is a specific time or event, often of significance or importance, which can be marked or celebrated. It can also refer to the reason or cause of an event, as well as an opportunity or a suitable time for doing something.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Occasionnoun

    a falling out, happening, or coming to pass; hence, that which falls out or happens; occurrence; incident

  2. Occasionnoun

    a favorable opportunity; a convenient or timely chance; convenience

  3. Occasionnoun

    an occurrence or condition of affairs which brings with it some unlooked-for event; that which incidentally brings to pass an event, without being its efficient cause or sufficient reason; accidental or incidental cause

  4. Occasionnoun

    need; exigency; requirement; necessity; as, I have no occasion for firearms

  5. Occasionnoun

    a reason or excuse; a motive; a persuasion

  6. Occasionverb

    to give occasion to; to cause; to produce; to induce; as, to occasion anxiety

  7. Etymology: [Cf. F. occasionner.]

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Occasion

    o-kā′zhun, n. a case of something happening: a special time or season: a chance of bringing about something desired: an event which, although not the cause, determines the time at which another happens: a reason or excuse: opportunity: requirement, business: a special ceremony.—v.t. to cause indirectly: to influence.—adj. Occā′sional, falling in the way or happening: occurring only at times: resulting from accident: produced on some special event.—ns. Occā′sionalism, the philosophical system of the Cartesian school for explaining the action of mind upon matter, or the combined action of both by the direct intervention of God, who on the occasion of certain modifications in our minds, excites the corresponding movements of body, and on the occasion of certain changes in our body, awakens the corresponding feelings in the mind; Occā′sionalist; Occasional′ity.—adv. Occā′sionally.—n. Occā′sioner.—On occasion, in case of need: as opportunity offers, from time to time; Take occasion, to take advantage of an opportunity. [Fr.,—L. occasion-emoccidĕreob, in the way of, cadĕre, casum, to fall.]

Military Dictionary and Gazetteer

  1. occasion

    (Fr.). Has the same signification in military matters that affair bears among the French. Une occasion bien chaude, a warm contest, battle, or engagement; it further means, as with us, the source from whence consequences ensue. Les malheurs du peuple sont arrivés à l’occasion de la guerre, “the misfortunes of the people have been occasioned by the war,” or “the war has been the occasion of the people’s misfortunes.” The French make a nice distinction which may hold good in our language, between cause and occasion, viz.: Il n’en est pas la cause,—il n’en est que l’occasion, l’occasion innocente,—“He is not the cause, he is only the occasion, the innocent occasion of it.”

Editors Contribution

  1. occasion

    A moment of time or opportunity.

    They did have an occasion to wear their new clothes again and they were delighted.

    Submitted by MaryC on March 3, 2020  

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'occasion' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #1980

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'occasion' in Written Corpus Frequency: #2423

  3. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'occasion' in Nouns Frequency: #504

How to pronounce occasion?

How to say occasion in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of occasion in Chaldean Numerology is: 3

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of occasion in Pythagorean Numerology is: 7

Examples of occasion in a Sentence

  1. Mark McGwire:

    I remember trying steroids very briefly in the 1989/1990 offseason and then after I was injured in 1993, I used steroids again, i used them on occasion throughout the ‘90s, including during the 1998 season.

  2. Saudi Arabia:

    We have said on more than one occasion, we are willing to cooperate with anyone who can balance the market.

  3. Linda Parisi:

    This is not just a criminal justice issue, and it is narrow-sighted to say well all we have to do is address what happened on this occasion, have it processed through the criminal justice, it's bigger than that and we need to address that. People are suffering, all people. As I say, everyone is touched by gun violence.

  4. Erich Fromm:

    Sleep is often the only occasion in which man cannot silence his conscience; we forget what we knew in our dream.

  5. Niccolo Machiavelli:

    Whoever desires to found a state and give it laws, must start with assuming that all men are bad and ever ready to display their vicious nature, whenever they may find occasion for it.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for occasion

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

Get even more translations for occasion »


Find a translation for the occasion definition in other languages:

Select another language:

  • - Select -
  • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
  • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
  • Español (Spanish)
  • Esperanto (Esperanto)
  • 日本語 (Japanese)
  • Português (Portuguese)
  • Deutsch (German)
  • العربية (Arabic)
  • Français (French)
  • Русский (Russian)
  • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
  • 한국어 (Korean)
  • עברית (Hebrew)
  • Gaeilge (Irish)
  • Українська (Ukrainian)
  • اردو (Urdu)
  • Magyar (Hungarian)
  • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
  • Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Italiano (Italian)
  • தமிழ் (Tamil)
  • Türkçe (Turkish)
  • తెలుగు (Telugu)
  • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
  • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
  • Čeština (Czech)
  • Polski (Polish)
  • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Românește (Romanian)
  • Nederlands (Dutch)
  • Ελληνικά (Greek)
  • Latinum (Latin)
  • Svenska (Swedish)
  • Dansk (Danish)
  • Suomi (Finnish)
  • فارسی (Persian)
  • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
  • հայերեն (Armenian)
  • Norsk (Norwegian)
  • English (English)

Word of the Day

Would you like us to send you a FREE new word definition delivered to your inbox daily?

Please enter your email address:


Use the citation below to add this definition to your bibliography:


"occasion." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 18 Jun 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/occasion>.

Discuss these occasion definitions with the community:


    Are we missing a good definition for occasion? Don't keep it to yourself...

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Chrome

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Firefox

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Browse Definitions.net


    Are you a words master?

    restoring confidence and relieving anxiety
    A cosmopolitan
    B plush
    C reassuring
    D aligned

    Nearby & related entries:

    Alternative searches for occasion: