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

For years, the island chain has been slowly shifting west, toward the mainland, beaten back by the encroaching sea. Fenit Nirappil, Washington Post, "Hurricane Dorian rips through Outer Banks, causing tsunami-like surge as it heads out to sea," 6 Sep. 2019 If the French Quarter is mythologized as New World sophistication, then New Orleans East is the encroaching wilderness. Sarah M. Broom, The New Yorker, "Who Stays Gone, and Who Can Afford to Return," 12 Aug. 2019 For starters, President Jonathan Gueverra said, the college already has shifted its campus so most of it lies above the floodplain, in addition to building high enough off the ground to keep out encroaching water. Max Cohen, USA TODAY, "'Let's double down.' Climate change could put these colleges underwater. Why they're staying put," 1 July 2019 Go on an overnight camping trek to the towering dunes of the Kumtag Desert, and learn about local efforts to prevent encroaching desertification. National Geographic, "China High School Expedition," 12 June 2019 Powerful settlers have incessantly encroached their land, livelihoods, and lifestyles, pushing them further and further to the margins. K A Shaji, Quartz India, "In a tribal corner of India, two worlds are clashing over an elephant—and his name," 28 Aug. 2019 The Mat-Su Borough and Kenai Peninsula Borough, where several other fires are also encroaching on residents, have both declared disaster emergencies and urged the governor to do the same. Madeline Mcgee, Anchorage Daily News, "51 homes and 3 businesses lost in McKinley fire, Mat-Su officials say," 24 Aug. 2019 The tweet tapped into a powerful fear that underlies the ongoing political crisis -- that Beijing is encroaching on the unique freedoms of this semi-autonomous Chinese city. Jessie Yeung, CNN, "Hong Kong isn't just battling on the streets: There is also a war on misinformation online," 11 Aug. 2019 Western wildfires have grown more lethal because of extreme drought and heat associated with climate change and by housing developments encroaching on the most fire-prone grasslands and brushy canyons. Brady Mccombs, The Denver Post, "Trump administration’s plan to slow Western wildfires would clear large strips of land," 19 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

19 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

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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