AskDefine | Define preoccupy

Dictionary Definition



1 engage or engross the interest or attention of beforehand or occupy urgently or obsessively; "His work preoccupies him"; "The matter preoccupies her completley--she cannot think of anything else"
2 occupy or take possession of beforehand or before another or appropriate for use in advance; "the army preoccupied the hills" [also: preoccupied]

User Contributed Dictionary



From pre- + occupy.


  • (UK) /pɹiˈɒkjupaɪ/, /pri"QkjupaI/
  • (US) /pɹiˈɑkjupaɪ/, /pri"AkjupaI/



  1. To distract; to occupy or draw attention elsewhere.
    The father tried to preoccupy the child with his keys.


Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

absorb, absorb the attention, adopt, appropriate, arrest, arrogate, assume, beset, catch, charm, colonize, come uppermost, compel, conquer, drive, enchant, engage, engage the attention, engage the mind, engage the thoughts, engross, engross the mind, engross the thoughts, enslave, enthrall, exercise, fascinate, fill the mind, grab, grip, hog, hold, hold spellbound, hold the interest, hypnotize, immerse, impel, indent, infatuate, involve, involve the interest, jump a claim, make free with, make use of, mesmerize, monopolize, monopolize the thoughts, not let go, obsess, obsess the mind, occupy, occupy the attention, occupy the mind, overrun, possess, preempt, preengage, prepossess, requisition, seize the mind, sit on, spellbind, squat on, subjugate, take all of, take it all, take over, take possession of, take up, usurp
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