in·​road ˈin-ˌrōd How to pronounce inroad (audio)
plural inroads
: an advance or penetration often at the expense of someone or something
usually used in plural
: a sudden hostile incursion : raid

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, as well as inroad, has lost its violent connotation. 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 The issue could split off votes from the DFL, especially with the St. Louis County GOP attempting to make inroads with union members in the Iron Range. Mark Wasson, Twin Cities, 2 June 2024 The results indicate that efforts to politicize education through culture war issues have not gained strong inroads in Asian American communities, said Karthick Ramakrishnan, a public policy professor at the University of California, Riverside, and founder of AAPI Data. Annie Ma and Linley Sanders, The Christian Science Monitor, 29 May 2024 These four innovative healthcare companies are helping to create inroads in healthcare for Black women residing in the U.S. Essence Editors, Essence, 29 May 2024 By the same token, will Trump’s improved ratings among voters of color — especially Hispanic voters — translate into small but vital inroads with voters who backed Biden in 2020? Craig Gilbert, Journal Sentinel, 21 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for inroad 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'inroad.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1548, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of inroad was in 1548


Dictionary Entries Near inroad

Cite this Entry

“Inroad.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


in·​road ˈin-ˌrōd How to pronounce inroad (audio)
: a sudden hostile invasion : raid
: an important advance often at the expense of someone or something
making inroads against the competition

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