Definition of interloper
: one that interlopes: such asa : an illegal or unlicensed traderb : one that intrudes in a place or sphere of activity
interloper was our Word of the Day on 09/23/2008. Hear the podcast!
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
Did You Know?
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.
First Known Use of interloper
INTERLOPER Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of interloper for English Language Learners
: a person who is not wanted or welcome by the other people in a situation or place
INTERLOPER Defined for Kids
Definition of interloper for Students
: a person present in a situation or place where he or she is not wanted
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up interloper? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).