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 Ease of Installation Installation was made tough by the curves of our van’s roof and the way the fiberglass topper encroaches into the rain gutter. Drew Zieff, Outside Online, "11 Things to Take Your Van from Dirtbag to Dream Home," 16 Jan. 2020 The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum was placed under mandatory evacuation on Wednesday as fast-moving flames from a new wildfire encroached. Rachel Desantis, PEOPLE.com, "Ronald Reagan Presidential Library Evacuated: Firefighters 'Doing a Tremendous Job' Protecting It," 30 Oct. 2019 Trump instead imagines immigrants as criminals encroaching on the American border and on American women. Melissa Gira Grant, The New Republic, "White Mom’s Burden," 25 June 2019 In the middle, a woman in a red bathing suit is engaged in a futile battle against the sand encroaching on her towel. 1843, "The masochistic appeal of the British seaside," 25 June 2019 Plastic-straw bans have become a target in conservative circles where they are seen as evidence of an encroaching nanny state. Ryan Teague Beckwith, Bloomberg.com, "Biden Wants to Do Away With Plastic Straws: Campaign Update," 5 May 2020 In the cinematic footage, a war rages between England and the encroaching Vikings. Nick Romano, EW.com, "First Assassin's Creed Valhalla trailer brings Viking action to game series," 30 Apr. 2020 Tati’s international travels had given him a vision of an encroaching homogenization, in which local character and tradition would inevitably be paved over and replaced by a vast, indistinguishable shopping mall. Geoffrey O’brien, Harper's Magazine, "Constant Delighted Astonishment," 27 Apr. 2020 That kind of naive optimism in the face of encroaching disaster is a pitfall of owning a human brain, several experts on the psychology of risk perception told me recently. Olga Khazan, The Atlantic, "The American Mindset Was Unprepared for a Pandemic," 23 Apr. 2020

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

29 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Encroach.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/encroach. Accessed 4 Jun. 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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