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

Asked what their first priority would be as president, many of the candidates focused on economic inequality or the encroaching threat of climate change. Tiffany Diane Tso, refinery29.com, "The Key Moments From The Second Presidential Primary Debate," 28 June 2019 Many residents learned about encroaching flames from neighbors and friends — frantic text messages or knocks on the door. Sarah Feldberg, SFChronicle.com, "Traveling in California during fire season? Here’s what you need to know," 19 June 2019 In 1862, one year before Black Elk’s birth, the Dakota in Minnesota had revolted and risen up against encroaching white settlers and corrupt Indian agents in what became known as the Dakota War of 1862. David Treuer, Harper's magazine, "2020 Vision," 10 Jan. 2019 Gundersen squeezed those costs and lowered prices, holding on to business against encroaching national laboratory chains, said Ms. Wied, who is now a vice president of operations for Gundersen Health System. Melanie Evans, WSJ, "What Does Knee Surgery Cost? Few Know, and That’s a Problem," 21 Aug. 2018 Buy Photo With the receding winter and encroaching spring fighting an annual war of the worlds, March weather in the midlatitudes is notoriously volatile, characterized by wild temperature swings. Anthony R. Wood, Philly.com, "March and the endless winter: Longest cool streak in 58 years. No, this is not 'normal'," 28 Mar. 2018 Another common concern: That the Legislature was encroaching on city turf. al.com, "How legislation addressing growth impact on schools collapsed in Baldwin County," 16 June 2019 Set in Montana, the series also straddles multiple worlds: of history and modernity, of nature and encroaching land development and of communities on and off the state's Native American reservations. Shannon L. Bowen, The Hollywood Reporter, "Emmys: 'Maniac,' 'Romanoffs,' 'Succession' Composers Reveals Unusual Inspirations," 7 June 2019 The former vice president was attacked Friday by a Bernie Sanders supporter for encroaching on her personal space at her 2014 campaign rally, smelling her hair and kissing the back of her head, leaving her uncomfortable. Karl Rove, WSJ, "Don’t Count Joe Biden Out," 3 Apr. 2019

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

11 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

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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