in·ter·lop·er | \ ˌin-tər-ˈlō-pər , ˈin-tər-ˌlō- \

Definition of interloper 

: one that interlopes: such as

a : an illegal or unlicensed trader

b : one that intrudes in a place or sphere of activity

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The History of interloper

When English speakers combined "inter-" with "-loper" in the late 1500s, they already had a word landloper (now archaic) for "a person who runs about the land" (in other words, a vagrant). The "-loper" part of "interloper" is related to Middle Dutch and Old English words meaning "to run" and "to leap." An "interloper" is essentially one who jumps into the midst of things without an invitation to do so. In its earliest uses, "interloper" referred specifically to one who interfered in trade illegally - that is, a trader who trespassed on the rights or charters of others. Sometimes "interloper" even referred to a ship employed in illegal trading. But the word quickly took on extended use, coming to refer not just to intrusion in trade but also in personal affairs or other matters.

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

Smart locks use secure, private networks, as opposed to standard Wi-Fi networks, so interlopers can’t easily hijack their way in. Joshua Fruhlinger, WSJ, "Is It Smart to Install a Smart Lock?," 11 July 2018 Yogurt was still considered a weird, sour interloper reserved for European expatriates and health nuts. Kim Severson, New York Times, "Is America Ready to Love Cottage Cheese Again?," 26 June 2018 SpotMini can open doors and fight back against interlopers. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "MIT's Cheetah 3 Has a Precision Pounce," 5 July 2018 There was a time — not so long ago — when San Francisco used to stand up to ugly interlopers. Caille Millner, San Francisco Chronicle, "It’s time for Oakland to fight for its soul," 14 June 2018 For some this is the place to fight back against interlopers and bad manners. Chris Colin, Outside Online, "Drawing a Line in the Sand Over River Rights," 30 May 2018 Some Phuds referred to these interlopers as wombats, and would issue wombat alerts if any were sighted entering the building. New York Times, "Never Solved, a College Dorm Fire Has Become One Man’s Obsession," 13 Apr. 2018 Then on Monday a group of interlopers from Massachusetts bound themselves to construction equipment. J. Weston Phippen, Outside Online, "The AT Pipeline Protesters Come Down from the Trees," 5 June 2018 During its two years in varying orbits around the comet, which is about 4km on its longest side, Rosetta captured some unprecedented imagery of these Solar System interlopers. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "A short new movie of a comet’s surface is pretty incredible," 25 Apr. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of interloper

circa 1590, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for interloper

Last Updated

3 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for interloper

The first known use of interloper was circa 1590

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More Definitions for interloper



English Language Learners Definition of interloper

: a person who is not wanted or welcome by the other people in a situation or place


in·ter·lop·er | \ ˌin-tər-ˈlō-pər \

Kids Definition of interloper

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on interloper

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for interloper

Spanish Central: Translation of interloper

Nglish: Translation of interloper for Spanish Speakers

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