in·​road | \ ˈin-ˌrōd How to pronounce inroad (audio) \

Definition of inroad

1 : an advance or penetration often at the expense of someone or something usually used in plural
2 : a sudden hostile incursion : raid

Keep scrolling for more

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 Moscow now appears to be making similar inroads in Libya. Nabih Bulos, Los Angeles Times, "Russian warplanes in Libya could open new phase in Middle East’s biggest proxy war," 29 May 2020 Unions in the United States have made few inroads after years of campaigns. New York Times, "U.S. Stock Futures Fall Ahead of Retail Sales Data: Live Updates," 15 May 2020 Whether gun control advocates can make new inroads with voters of faith remains an open question. Elana Schor, The Christian Science Monitor, "Gun-control group forms interfaith team ahead of 2020 elections," 12 May 2020 The animals are also making inroads into parts of western Oregon where they’ve been extirpated for decades, including a new pack in Lane and Douglas counties. oregonlive, "Oregon’s wolf count up to 158, but famous canid OR-7 likely dead," 16 Apr. 2020 The region, the Lehigh Valley, was traditionally a Democratic stronghold, but Mr. Trump made inroads there in 2016 while becoming the first Republican to carry Pennsylvania in 28 years. Trip Gabriel, New York Times, "G.O.P. Defiance of Pennsylvania’s Lockdown Has 2020 Implications," 14 May 2020 China has also made inroads into traditional US alliances, with a handful of European astronauts training to fly to the Chinese space station. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "China’s largest rocket takes flight with its next-generation spacecraft," 5 May 2020 Making inroads into Latino communities has been a priority among Democrats and Republicans alike — and Sanders’ big win in the Nevada caucuses Saturday demonstrated his progress toward that goal. Washington Post, "Sanders comments on Castro could pose hurdles in Florida," 25 Feb. 2020 Even within the tech campuses of Silicon Valley, machine learning automation may be making inroads. Time, "AI Is About to Spark a Radical Shift in White Collar Work. But There's Still 'Plenty of Work for People to Do'," 23 Jan. 2020

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.

See More

First Known Use of inroad

1548, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about inroad

Time Traveler for inroad

Time Traveler

The first known use of inroad was in 1548

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast about inroad

Statistics for inroad

Last Updated

4 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Inroad.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Jul. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for inroad


How to pronounce inroad (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of inroad

used to describe a situation in which someone or something becomes more successful or important often by making someone or something else less successful usually plural usually used with make

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on inroad

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for inroad

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with inroad

Spanish Central: Translation of inroad

Nglish: Translation of inroad for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of inroad for Arabic Speakers

Comments on inroad

What made you want to look up inroad? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

A More Exception(al) Quiz

  • hot dog  hot dog  hot dog  hot dog cat
  • Which of the following words is not a synonym for ‘a young person’?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!