Definition of encroach
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
encroachmentplay \in-ˈkrōch-mənt, en\ noun
encroach was our Word of the Day on 06/24/2013. Hear the podcast!
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP
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 of encroach from the Web
The Gulf Coast would face major risks from hurricanes and encroaching seas.
When the flames began to encroach on several residences, the Burbank Police Department called for a mandatory evacuation of homes along Viewcrest Drive and Howard Court.
Dance floors are being encroached upon by the explosion of a high school drama department’s prop closet.
Same goes for firms already here that must relocate because their facilities are in the pathway of encroaching real estate developers.
To that end, Amazon is encroaching on territory long dominated by the likes of UPS, FedEx, and the U.S. Postal Service.
The encroaching threat of Nazism is communicated overtly in Masteroff’s book and in Marshall’s choreography, like when a chorus kick line seamlessly transitions into a goose step.
The report underscores the increasing pressure nuclear power generators are facing even as cheap natural gas and renewable resources encroach on their share of the U.S. power market.
High water in the nearby Western Hills mobile home park in Davie encroached residents' front doors, prompting the Davie Fire Department to call in the Red Cross.
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.
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).
Synonym Discussion of encroach
ENCROACH Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of encroach for English Language Learners
: 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 Defined for Kids
Definition of encroach for Students
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.
Legal Definition of encroach
: to enter especially gradually or stealthily into the possessions or rights of another encroaches on an adjoining property
Origin and Etymology of encroach
Anglo-French encrocher, probably alteration of acrocher to catch hold of, seize, usurp, from Old French, from a-, prefix stressing goal + croc hook
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up encroach? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).