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 Deterring China Within months of Duterte’s suspension of the VFA, China began to encroach on Philippines waters. Abraham Mahshie, Washington Examiner, "US strategic position eroding as Philippines cozies up to China," 4 Aug. 2020 Conservationists estimate that India has some 27,000 wild elephants, but their habitat is increasingly under pressure as human settlements encroach on nature reserves. Swati Gupta And Nectar Gan, CNN, "Elephant in Kerala dies after suspected firecrackers hidden in fruit exploded in her mouth," 4 June 2020 What if the disinterested machines that surround us and encroach on every aspect of our lives were sensitive to our emotional states? Adrian Woolfson, WSJ, "‘Girl Decoded’ Review: The Soulfulness of a New Machine," 2 June 2020 Ironically, her crusade to keep women in the home is started to encroach on her own family life. Anne Cohen, refinery29.com, "Mrs America Episode 5 Recap: Meet Brenda Feigen-Fasteau & Her Husband Marc," 29 Apr. 2020 The community energy providers said PG&E’s plans appeared to encroach on their legal right to provide electricity generation services to their customers. J.d. Morris, SFChronicle.com, "PG&E plan to limit blackouts clashes with clean energy groups," 22 Jan. 2020 Abuse is a given: Congress uses lawmaking power to encroach on the other branches’ prerogatives; judges legislate from the bench, presidents leverage their awesome powers for political advantage. Andrew C. Mccarthy, National Review, "The Hole in the Impeachment Case," 18 Jan. 2020 Meanwhile, Black Friday sales have continued to encroach on the time Thanksgiving dinner usually happens. Patrick Connolly, orlandosentinel.com, "Thanksgiving: Opportunities in Orlando to give back," 20 Nov. 2019 Concerns escalated earlier last week as the wave of sticky oil patches began to encroach on the Abrolhos Bank’s northern border, on the southern coast of Bahia state. Herton Escobar, Science | AAAS, "Mysterious oil spill threatens marine biodiversity haven in Brazil," 4 Nov. 2019

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

9 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Encroach.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/encroach. Accessed 15 Aug. 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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