1 of 2

verb (1)

poached; poaching; poaches

transitive verb

: to cook in simmering liquid


2 of 2

verb (2)

poached; poaching; poaches

intransitive verb

: to encroach upon especially for the purpose of taking something
: to trespass for the purpose of stealing game
also : to take game or fish illegally

transitive verb

: to trespass on
a field poached too frequently by the amateur The Times Literary Supplement (London)
: to take (game or fish) by illegal methods
: to appropriate (something) as one's own
: to attract (someone, such as an employee or customer) away from a competitor

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web
Nigga was trying to take our kill, trying to poach our kill. Andre Gee, Rolling Stone, 13 Oct. 2022 Yormark said the Big 12 is not in competition with the Big Ten to see which conference can poach the most schools from the Pac-12 Conference. Keith Jenkins, The Enquirer, 8 Sep. 2022 There’s still a lot of time for Alabama to poach everyone’s best player, in other words. Joseph Goodman | Jgoodman@al.com, al, 16 Dec. 2021 With record-breaking investments in the last couple of years, these companies are able to offer better salaries and poach some of the most talented engineers in the world away from big tech. Karim Nurani, Forbes, 10 Oct. 2022 Prepare the sauce in advance — go ahead and make a big batch to freeze and reheat — and gently poach eggs in it. Washington Post, 9 Apr. 2021 Once an app is successful, some developers say, Meta often tries to either buy it or poach its talent. Naomi Nix, Washington Post, 14 Sep. 2022 These other Big Four firms hope to exploit EY’s focus on its restructuring to poach clients and employees, according to people familiar with the matter. Jean Eaglesham, WSJ, 8 Sep. 2022 Additionally, board members wrote in their filing with the state, putting the business on the market could potentially expose Windwave’s client list to competitors who might then poach customers instead of actually buying the business. Mike Rogoway, oregonlive, 2 Sep. 2022 See More

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

Word History


Verb (1)

Middle English pocchen, from Middle French pocher, from Old French poché poached, literally, bagged, from poche bag, pocket — more at pouch

Verb (2)

Middle French pocher, of Germanic origin; akin to Middle English poken to poke

First Known Use

Verb (1)

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Verb (2)

1611, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of poach was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near poach

Cite this Entry

“Poach.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/poach. Accessed 7 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 verb
: to cook in simmering liquid
poached eggs


2 of 2 verb
: to hunt or fish unlawfully
poacher noun

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