in·road | \ˈin-ˌrōd \

Definition of inroad 

1 : a sudden hostile incursion : raid

2 : an advance or penetration often at the expense of someone or something usually used in plural

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Did You Know?

Inroad is a combination of in and road, both of which are pretty mundane, as far as words go. But the first-and oldest-meaning of inroad hints at a meaning of road other than the "way for traveling" one. Beginning back in the days of Old English, road referred to an armed hostile incursion made on horseback. (Raid comes from this use of road and also formerly specified incursions on horseback.) Road has lost all of its former violent connotations, and inroad is shedding its as well. While inroads are often made at the expense of someone or something, they are at times simply advances, as when an artist is said to be making inroads into a community.

Examples of inroad in a Sentence

the army is finally making inroads into enemy territory

Recent Examples on the Web

Hill-Burton, the first substantial inroads the US government made into health care, was designed to reinforce segregation, while enriching and empowering local political actors who were zealously invested in oppressing black people. Jamila Michener, Vox, "The politics and policy of racism in American health care," 24 May 2018 Despite bold headlines from the likes of Apple, Google sister company Waymo, and Uber, Stark puts on a brave face when discussing the odds of tech companies paving serious inroads into building cars. Nicolas Stecher, WIRED, "Mercedes-Benz's Plan for Surviving the Auto Revolution," 30 Apr. 2018 Tipirneni worked the district hard, making inroads rarely seen in an area that hadn’t elected a Democrat since the early 1980s. Bob Christie, Time, "Republican Debbie Lesko Wins Arizona Special Election, Keeping the House Seat in GOP Hands," 25 Apr. 2018 Blockchain technology has made inroads in industries from logistics to health care. Lara O’reilly, WSJ, "Big Advertisers Embrace Blockchain to Root Out Digital Spending Waste," 12 July 2018 Tencent’s growth in China also mirrors inroads by partner Spotify in the U.S., where streaming has helped music sales grow at their fastest rate since the 1990s. Carol Zhong And Bob Van Voris,, "Tencent streaming spinoff to list shares in U.S. amid music industry comeback," 8 July 2018 Barnett — and some Democrats — said those moves helped Trump and the Republicans make inroads among Haitian-American voters in 2016. Anthony Man,, "Haitian-American voters could turn on Trump," 5 July 2018 Firefighters made inroads thanks to cool, relatively wind-free conditions Wednesday morning, Cal Fire spokesman Jordan Motta said. Claire Morgan, sacbee, "County Fire grows to 88,000 acres, Cal Fire warns of warm weather to come," 5 July 2018 Black actors were also starting to make important inroads in Hollywood. Meagan Fredette,, "Quentin Tarantino Cast Every White Person He Could Find In His New Movie," 23 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'inroad.' 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 inroad

1548, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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in rough

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Last Updated

9 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for inroad

The first known use of inroad was in 1548

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a state of commotion or excitement

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