encroach

verb
en·​croach | \in-ˈkrōch, 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, 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

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 Yet those big players in the health care industry may see themselves on the defense as big tech companies, including Amazon, encroach on their turf. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "DOJ approves $69B CVS-Aetna merger as healthcare industry restructures," 11 Oct. 2018 That means the violence that has played at the edges of Saul's first three seasons is encroaching, making the show feel more and more like Breaking Bad. Taylor Antrim, Vogue, "Better Call Saul," 3 Aug. 2018 In the Sierra Nevada mountains to the south, the Ferguson Fire has burned for roughly two weeks and encroached on the western boundary of the park, sending smoke into the Yosemite Valley where many of the park’s most famous attractions are located. Marc Vartabedian, WSJ, "Wildfire Drives Tourists From Yosemite, Takes Local Economy With It," 27 July 2018 Native to the forested mountains of central China, panda populations suffered in the late 20th century from poaching, deforestation and encroaching human development. Maya Wei-haas, Smithsonian, "Why Photographing Pandas Is More Challenging Than You Might Think," 21 May 2018 Though in line with Amazon's playbook, encroaching further into users' private lives is a bold move at a time when consumers are particularly focused on security and privacy issues in the wake of the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal. David Pierson, latimes.com, "With in-car delivery, Amazon is testing how much privacy you'll give up — even as backlash rocks Facebook," 25 Apr. 2018 Shares of Ahold Delhaize have dropped 12 percent since the merger as Amazon encroaches into the grocery industry. Bloomberg.com, "Ahold's New CEO Faces Investor Pressure to Drop Takeover Defense," 5 Apr. 2018 But rivals and fans alike have noticed the year that Index Ventures, an investing firm born in Europe that has gradually encroached on the prestige of its top American competitors, has had in 2018. Theodore Schleifer, Recode, "One investing firm is behind a string of this year’s big money-making moments in Silicon Valley," 5 Aug. 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

12 Dec 2018

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 \
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 \

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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