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

Silicon Valley’s giant tech companies have been encroaching on each other’s turf for years, creating rivalries such as the one between iOS and Google’s Android operating system. Kevin Kelleher, Fortune, "Apple Takes Aim at Facebook With Data Privacy Features in iOS and macOS," 4 June 2018 If lake levels are encroaching on a sandy shore and waves are moving farther up, a couple inches could have a profound impact. Tony Briscoe, chicagotribune.com, "What happens when Lake Superior has too much water? It dumps it into an already overflowing Lake Michigan," 13 July 2018 The result: Fresh water turned brackish, which turned to salt water, killing the marshes and eroding the land, creating more areas of open water that encroached farther and farther inland, allowing even more salt water to flow in. Gena Somra, CNN, "Louisiana's shrinking marshes signal the loss of a way of life," 6 June 2018 Many of the opposition members set fire to their cars and belongings to prevent them falling into the hands of the pro-government militias that were encroaching into the rebel neighborhoods. Carlotta Gall, New York Times, "For Survivors of Aleppo Siege, the News From Syria Is Especially Painful," 16 Apr. 2018 Jamie, who exercises his law license trying to prevent efforts to encroach on the Duttons’ massive holdings, needs to think more like a landowner, not just a lawyer, complains his father. Ellen Gray, Philly.com, "With Kevin Costner in 'Yellowstone,' Paramount Network finds home on the range," 15 June 2018 The video focuses on the Big Island's coastline, where the encroaching lava spilling from Fissure 8 has turned the beach into a pile of molten rock and waste. Temi Adebowale, Popular Mechanics, "Dramatic Video Shows What the Kilauea Volcano Has Done to Hawaii's Coastline," 15 June 2018 Attacks have become more common as people increasingly encroach on the animals' territory. CBS News, "Cougar attack victim, friend did what they were supposed to do, authorities say," 21 May 2018 Aster’s Hereditary is a dense, European-inspired work full of symbolism and an encroaching feeling of dread that slowly suffocates any hope that things might work out OK. Jacob Oller, The Hollywood Reporter, "How 'Hereditary' Flips Steven Spielberg's Trademark Shot," 10 June 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

14 Nov 2018

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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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