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

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 Also, Phil Purcell, the CEO and president of Marine Industries Association of South Florida, said possible designs show that the bridge could encroach on the north side of the river, which boats use to move out of each other’s way. Brittany Wallman, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Fort Lauderdale: We don't want New River bridge," 21 June 2018 Malaysian officials have said these landings would encroach on its airspace and stop parts of an industrial town from having tall buildings or even mobile cranes. Annabelle Liang, The Seattle Times, "Singapore, Malaysia move to cool airspace and sea disputes," 8 Jan. 2019 Index Ventures is quietly encroaching into the top tier of American investors. Recode Staff, Recode, "Recode Daily: Apple is the latest to remove Alex Jones and Infowars content," 6 Aug. 2018 Last month, the Lebanese army complained to UNIFIL, the U.N. peacekeeping force, saying Israeli bulldozers working on the barrier were encroaching on the Lebanese side. Fox News, "Israeli wall rising near border with Lebanon stokes tensions," 6 Sep. 2018 Thousands fled their homes as major wildfires encroached on a charred area of Northern California still recovering from severe blazes in recent years, sparking concern the state may be in for another destructive series of wildfires this summer. Paul Elias, The Seattle Times, "Drought-stricken West braces as wildfire season flares up," 26 June 2018 Attacks have become more common as people increasingly encroach on the animals’ territory. Gene Johnson, BostonGlobe.com, "Cyclists tried to scare cougar but it attacked, killing 1," 20 May 2018 Once the then Citrus Bowl expanded, encroaching on Tinker Field’s outfield, officials decided the ballpark wasn’t suitable for baseball. Ryan Gillespie, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Tinker Field History Plaza memorializes civil rights and baseball in Orlando," 2 May 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

16 May 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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