in·​ter·​lop·​er ˌin-tər-ˈlō-pər How to pronounce interloper (audio)
: one that interlopes: such as
: one that intrudes in a place or sphere of activity
: an illegal or unlicensed trader

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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 Multiple police boats patrolled the waters and foot patrols were stationed at intervals along the beach, ready to scoop up interlopers. WIRED, 2 July 2023 In his telling, China was the nation safeguarding norms and regional stability, and the United States was an interfering interloper. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, 4 June 2023 Meanwhile for William’s cousin Eliza, the trial reflects the absurdities of both sides: Illiterate Sarah’s assuredness is only slightly more laughable to Eliza than William and his daughters’ confidence that this interloper cannot possibly be one of them. Lynn Steger Strong, The New Republic, 15 Sep. 2023 There was plenty of skepticism in Japan, in the sake community, about the French interloper. Jay McInerney, Town & Country, 26 Aug. 2023 Helpfully, the people behind Barbie are not Academy interlopers; they have already been welcomed into the club. Vulture, 28 July 2023 Terms of endearment tumbled from my mouth as if Morgan’s pizza had always been part of my life, instead of a recent interloper into my don’t-try-this-at-home diet of burgers, hot chicken, Korean barbecue and ballpark concessions. Tim Carman, Washington Post, 21 June 2023 If some among Gibson’s supporters suspected that the unbalanced draw was likely no accident but was, in fact, a deliberate attempt to ensure that the young interloper would be swiftly vanquished and sent on her way, only a handful said so outright. Sally H. Jacobs, Smithsonian Magazine, 8 Aug. 2023 As the American League squad prepared for the game in its clubhouse, an interloper suddenly appeared - Arizona Diamondbacks infielder Geraldo Perdomo, a National League All-Star on enemy turf. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, 12 July 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'interloper.' 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

circa 1590, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of interloper was circa 1590


Dictionary Entries Near interloper

Cite this Entry

“Interloper.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


in·​ter·​lop·​er ˌint-ər-ˈlō-pər How to pronounce interloper (audio)
: a person who intrudes or interferes wrongly or meddlesomely

More from Merriam-Webster on interloper

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