encroach

verb
en·​croach | \ in-ˈkrōch How to pronounce encroach (audio) , en-\
encroached; encroaching; encroaches

Definition of encroach

intransitive verb

1 : to enter by gradual steps or by stealth into the possessions or rights of another
2 : to advance beyond the usual or proper limits the gradually encroaching sea

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Other Words from encroach

encroacher noun
encroachment \ in-​ˈkrōch-​mənt How to pronounce encroachment (audio) , en \ noun

Synonyms for encroach

Synonyms

creep, inch, worm

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Choose the Right Synonym for encroach

trespass, encroach, infringe, invade mean to make inroads upon the property, territory, or rights of another. trespass implies an unwarranted or unlawful intrusion. hunters trespassing on farmland encroach suggests gradual or stealthy entrance upon another's territory or usurpation of another's rights or possessions. the encroaching settlers displacing the native peoples infringe implies an encroachment clearly violating a right or prerogative. infringing a copyright invade implies a hostile and injurious entry into the territory or sphere of another. accused of invading their privacy

Did You Know?

The history behind "encroach" is likely to hook you in. First appearing in English in the 16th century, the word derives from the Middle English "encrochen," which means "to get or seize." The Anglo-French predecessor of "encrochen" is "encrocher," which was formed by combining the prefix en- ("in") with the noun "croche" ("hook"). "Croche" also gave us our word crochet, in reference to the hooked needle used in that craft. "Encroach" carries the meaning of "intrude" both in terms of privilege (as demonstrated in our first example sentence) or property (as in our second example sentence). The word can also hop over legal barriers to describe a general advancement beyond desirable or normal limits (such as a hurricane that encroaches on the mainland).

Examples of encroach in a Sentence

The suburbs encroach further into the rural areas each year. each year the sea continues to encroach upon the island's beaches

Recent Examples on the Web

But Wag is aggressively encroaching on Rover’s territory. Chavie Lieber, Vox, "The startup world’s cuddly, cutthroat battle to walk your dog," 12 Sep. 2018 As an endangered species, the animals face a number of hurdles to stay alive: the encroaching presence of humans, predators in certain parts of the park, and simply put, just not enough land. Gabe Bergado, Teen Vogue, "BBC Earth's "Dynasties" Pulls at Heartstrings With the Painted Wolves’ Fight for Survival," 12 Dec. 2018 Nor are most Democrats ardent antiglobalists wary of the growing interdependence and the encroaching economic integration of the world. James Bacchus, WSJ, "Democrats, Free Trade Is Your Destiny," 3 Dec. 2018 As cool outflow surged ahead of the encroaching storms, strong winds kicked up a curtain of dust high into the sky. Matthew Cappucci, Washington Post, "‘One of the most incredible sights’: Monster dust storm sweeps across Southern Arizona," 10 July 2018 It has been moved once (to keep its distance from the encroaching city), and the cars have been covered countless times by new layers of spray paint. Christopher Reynolds, latimes.com, "How 10 Cadillacs got nose-deep in Amarillo dirt — and why you should see them," 18 June 2018 The campers may not have had fans taking selfies in front of their coaches or stopping to gawk at their luxury lodging, but even here, the outside world occasionally encroached. Karen Crouse, New York Times, "By Land or by Sea, U.S. Open Golfers Got Creative About Their Lodging," 16 June 2018 Personal space is discussed in class as an often encroached-upon right. Katherine Rosman, New York Times, "Thank You for Asking," 24 Feb. 2018 Russia is expanding further into Europe and encroaching on NATO territory. Alex Ward, Vox, "This is exactly how a nuclear war would kill you," 19 Oct. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'encroach.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of encroach

1528, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for encroach

Middle English encrochen to get, seize, from Anglo-French encrocher, from en- + croc, croche hook — more at crochet

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Statistics for encroach

Last Updated

21 Feb 2019

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Time Traveler for encroach

The first known use of encroach was in 1528

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More Definitions for encroach

encroach

verb

English Language Learners Definition of encroach

: to gradually move or go into an area that is beyond the usual or desired limits
: to gradually take or begin to use or affect something that belongs to someone else or that someone else is using

encroach

verb
en·​croach | \ in-ˈkrōch How to pronounce encroach (audio) \
encroached; encroaching

Kids Definition of encroach

1 : to take over the rights or property of another little by little or in secret The prince encroached on the king's authority.
2 : to go beyond the usual or proper limits Cities have encroached upon wildlife habitats.
en·​croach | \ in-ˈkrōch How to pronounce encroach (audio) \

Legal Definition of encroach

: to enter especially gradually or stealthily into the possessions or rights of another encroaches on an adjoining property

History and Etymology for encroach

Anglo-French encrocher, probably alteration of acrocher to catch hold of, seize, usurp, from Old French, from a-, prefix stressing goal + croc hook

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More from Merriam-Webster on encroach

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with encroach

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for encroach

Spanish Central: Translation of encroach

Nglish: Translation of encroach for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of encroach for Arabic Speakers

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