in·​ter·​lop·​er | \ ˌin-tər-ˈlō-pər How to pronounce interloper (audio) , ˈin-tər-ˌlō- \

Definition of interloper

: one that interlopes: such as
a : one that intrudes in a place or sphere of activity
b : an illegal or unlicensed trader

Synonyms for interloper


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The History of Interloper

The -loper part of interloper is believed to be either from an English dialectal word meaning "leap" or from a Dutch word meaning "to run." (The prefix inter- means "between" or "among.") An interloper is essentially one that jumps into the midst of things without an invitation to do so.

Examples of interloper in a Sentence

I had hoped to help my neighbors, but they regarded me as an interloper. summer residents were regarded as interlopers who had no deep commitment to the town's welfare
Recent Examples on the Web Before, he was viewed as something of an interloper. The New Yorker, 3 May 2022 Indeed, some calculate that its close approaches to Jupiter and Venus in future will mean that Halley’s Comet will one day be ejected from the Solar System altogether ... perhaps to become an interstellar interloper like ‘Oumuamua. Jamie Carter, Forbes, 22 Apr. 2022 Allen plays the mysterious Mooney, an interloper in the life of Harry Wade (David Threfall) and his family. Maureen Lee Lenker,, 19 Apr. 2022 From the start, the McDonald’s in Moscow accepted rubles, which made the fast-food interloper even more attractive to everyday Russians. Washington Post, 8 Mar. 2022 Only a few dominant males actually breed with the females, and if a young interloper tried to move in, there could be trouble. Tara Duggan, San Francisco Chronicle, 4 Feb. 2022 The Ring trains its users to view everyone who approaches the door as a potential interloper in the central relationship between the customer and the box. New York Times, 11 Feb. 2022 In a video clip similar to those used to promote Ring doorbell security systems, a would-be thief is scared away by an owner who sees the interloper via cellphone and yells at him. Caleb Miller, Car and Driver, 18 Jan. 2022 While the bar surely has electricity bills, an interloper could be forgiven for the perception that the venue runs on the energy of glasses clinking in toasts and cheers. Washington Post, 29 Dec. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'interloper.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of interloper

circa 1590, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for interloper

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The first known use of interloper was circa 1590

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Last Updated

14 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Interloper.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for interloper


in·​ter·​lop·​er | \ ˌin-tər-ˈlō-pər How to pronounce interloper (audio) \

Kids Definition of interloper

: a person present in a situation or place where he or she is not wanted

More from Merriam-Webster on interloper

Nglish: Translation of interloper for Spanish Speakers


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