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

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

Before being locked in a vault and before the bombs and before the endless stacks of books, Bemis was a man who viewed the world as encroaching upon his precious time. Mike Oliver | Moliver@al.com, al, "My Vinyl Countdown is all ears as it enters The Twighlight Zone," 17 Aug. 2019 About a decade ago, the family tried - in vain - to persuade residents to move away from the encroaching ocean. Anchorage Daily News, "Extreme climate change has arrived in America. Here are the fastest-warming places.," 13 Aug. 2019 Japan’s Defense Ministry said Wednesday’s missile launch had not encroached on its waters and did not immediately affect its security. Washington Post, "North Korea fires two more ballistic missiles, the South’s military says," 31 July 2019 But recently, as people like Barbara Brittingham of the New England Commission of Higher Education note, certain regions have witnessed this trend encroach on nonprofit colleges in noticeable ways. Alia Wong, The Atlantic, "The End of an American College," 18 June 2019 Grass encroaches on the streets and abandoned cars sit in empty plots of land. Lavendrick Smith, Dallas News, "After tragedy, a Dallas County community still holds out hope running water will one day come," 22 July 2019 Despite their ongoing work, Bialk said the gardens are easier to maintain now than in the past because most of their plants are mature and were put close together so weeds don’t encroach in the spaces between them. Joanne Kempinger Demski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Minutes from downtown, a garden wonderland — and you can see it in July," 20 June 2019 As development has continued to encroach upon the beaches, the young turtles will often follow city lights inland, rather than the stars, and perish. Greg Stanley, USA TODAY, "Loggerhead sea turtle tastes the freedom of the ocean," 8 May 2018 Maybe this is some kind of guerrilla marketing for Puma basketball shoes … maybe mankind has encroached upon nature too much, to the point of no return. Time, "Review: A Puma in the Airplane Bathroom, a Wikipedia Page Deleter and More in Chuck Klosterman's Latest," 11 July 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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Statistics for encroach

Last Updated

22 Aug 2019

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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 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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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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