1. An event or happening, or the time of an event or happening: On several occasions, we saw him riding a motorcycle.
2. A significant event, especially a large or important social gathering: The reception proved to be quite the occasion.
3. A favorable or appropriate time or juncture: saw the layoff as an occasion to change careers. See Synonyms at opportunity.
a. A cause of or reason for something: a trade disagreement that furnished the occasion for war. See Synonyms at cause.
b. A need created by a particular circumstance: "He must buy what he has little occasion for" (Laurence Sterne).
5. occasions Archaic Personal requirements or necessities.
tr.v. oc·ca·sioned, oc·ca·sion·ing, oc·ca·sionsIdioms:
To provide occasion for; cause: "The broadcast and its immediate aftermath occasioned a cascade of media commentary" (Lewis Sorley).
From time to time; now and then.
rise to the occasion
To find the ability to deal with an unexpected challenge.
take the occasion
To make use of the opportunity (to do something).
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.