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

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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 Rather than encroach on the primacy of the living, as dystopian fables like Terminator and The Matrix fret that sentient computers might someday do, Star Wars’s super-smart robots are extensions of humankind. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "The Mandalorian Knows Why Heroes Wear Masks," 30 Dec. 2019 The consensus is that once-skittish coyotes seem to be encroaching upon homesteads and attacking pets, even in the presence of their human owners. Sara Cardine, La Cañada Valley Sun, "Coyote encounters too close for some La Cañada residents, pet owners," 5 Sep. 2019 As urban development encroached upon the structures, the Corps made changes to minimize the risk of flooding. Scott Dalton, CNN, "Their neighborhood was flooded to save Houston," 25 Aug. 2019 That area is now technically inside a building of the Teutonic College, after expansion work on the building encroached onto the cemetery field. Nicole Winfield, Anchorage Daily News, "Vatican mystery over missing girl deepens as bones are found," 13 July 2019 Protesters fear that Beijing is further encroaching on the city and threatening the freedoms enjoyed in Hong Kong but not in mainland China. Joshua Berlinger, CNN, "Hong Kong police say they froze $9 million meant for protesters," 20 Dec. 2019 Now, archaeologists have discovered the earliest known defense against those rising seas: a 7000-year-old sea wall built to protect a farming village from worsening storm surges and encroaching saltwater from the Mediterranean Sea. Lizzie Wade, Science | AAAS, "This 7000-year-old wall was the earliest known defense against rising seas. It failed," 18 Dec. 2019 Part of the concern is that pigs are encroaching from Canada. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Feral Pigs Are Invasive, Voracious and Resilient. They’re Also Spreading.," 18 Dec. 2019 PayPal revolutionized online shopping with its payments system two decades ago, but lately more tech companies have been encroaching on its turf. Wired, "Why Did PayPal Pay $4 Billion for a Coupon Browser Extension?," 23 Nov. 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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Time Traveler for encroach

Time Traveler

The first known use of encroach was in 1528

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Last Updated

10 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Encroach.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/encroach. Accessed 21 January 2020.

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More Definitions for encroach

encroach

verb
How to pronounce encroach (audio)

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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