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 encroach (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 As the new nanny deliberately starts to encroach on the happy lives of Hi-soo and Ji-young, the melodrama about a rich family’s greed takes on some elements of horror. Joan Macdonald, Forbes, "The Characters In ‘Mine’ Might Commit Murder To Protect What’s Theirs," 10 May 2021 When human populations encroach on rainforests, the risk of spillover skyrockets. Daniel Grossman, Science | AAAS, "Scientists scour the Amazon for pathogens that could spark the next pandemic," 29 Apr. 2021 This work does not encroach on many of these issues, with the embryos being grown in laboratories and for such a short time span. Robert Hart, Forbes, "Scientists Have Created Embryos That Are Part Human, Part Monkey," 15 Apr. 2021 Social distancing has been a key part of curbing the spread of the coronavirus, but when the pandemic is over, some people would prefer if others continue to not encroach on their space. Cameron Fields, cleveland, "What pandemic habits will we keep once COVID is over?," 16 Apr. 2021 But that serenity is getting harder to find these days, as swarms of tourists encroach ever further. Mary Ilyushina And Fred Pleitgen, CNN, "The bitter battle over tourism at Russia's 'Sacred Sea'," 9 Apr. 2021 And that interplay is evolving, as the companies increasingly encroach on one another’s turf to build and protect their dynasties. Katherine Riley, WSJ, "Tech Giants Cooperate While Competing, Frenemies for Life," 1 Apr. 2021 Having no intermission means that people have fewer opportunities to encroach on others’ spaces. David Lyman, The Enquirer, "Cincinnati Opera will perform at Summit Park in Blue Ash this summer," 31 Mar. 2021 The idea that a corporate overlord might police content on Github, or otherwise encroach on the open source community, caused major controversy during during Microsoft's acquisition of the service. Lily Hay Newman, Wired, "Security News This Week: Hackers Accessed Security Cameras Inside Tesla and Beyond," 13 Mar. 2021

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

18 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Encroach.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/encroach. Accessed 18 May. 2021.

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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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