tres·​pass | \ ˈtre-ˌspas also -spəs \
trespassed; trespassing; trespasses

Definition of trespass

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to commit a trespass especially : to enter unlawfully upon the land of another
2a : err, sin
b : to make an unwarranted or uninvited incursion

transitive verb

: violate trespass the bounds of good taste


tres·​pass | \ ˈtre-spəs, -ˌspas\

Definition of trespass (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : an unlawful act committed on the person, property, or rights of another especially : a wrongful entry on real property
b : the legal action for injuries resulting from trespass
2a : a violation of moral or social ethics : transgression especially : sin
b : an unwarranted infringement

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Other Words from trespass


trespasser noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for trespass

Synonyms: Verb

err, fall, offend, sin, stray, transgress, wander

Synonyms: Noun

breach, crime, debt, error, lawbreaking, malefaction, misdeed, misdoing, offense (or offence), sin, transgression, violation, wrongdoing

Antonyms: Noun


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Choose the Right Synonym for trespass


trespass, encroach, infringe, invade mean to make inroads upon the property, territory, or rights of another. trespass implies an unwarranted or unlawful intrusion. hunters trespassing on farmland encroach suggests gradual or stealthy entrance upon another's territory or usurpation of another's rights or possessions. the encroaching settlers displacing the native peoples infringe implies an encroachment clearly violating a right or prerogative. infringing a copyright invade implies a hostile and injurious entry into the territory or sphere of another. accused of invading their privacy

Examples of trespass in a Sentence


He told me I was trespassing. The sign said “No Trespassing.”


He was arrested for trespass. forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Police said that several men were trespassing at the complex around 9 p.m. when Iessa asked them to leave. Samantha Ketterer, Houston Chronicle, "Wounded man charged with assault of security officer in SW Houston," 10 July 2018 That means if the people identified by the club try to enter the stadium, they’ll be arrested for trespassing as part of the their suspension. Jordan Culver, Pro Soccer USA, "Orlando City fans who threw debris face suspension of at least one year," 15 May 2018 Trespassing Three Morton Grove boys, ages 13 and 14, were ticketed on April 13 for trespassing after they were found walking on the roof of Gemini Junior High School, 8955 N. Greenwood Ave. Chicago Tribune,, "3 teens found walking on roof of junior high school cited for trespassing: Niles police," 23 Apr. 2018 According to Los Angeles police officials, 37-year-old John Ford was arrested in October for allegedly trespassing on Kendall’s property. De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "Kendall Jenner Was Granted a 5-Year Restraining Order Against Alleged Stalker," 10 Nov. 2018 Nelson and Robinson were first arrested for trespassing on April 12, after showing up to a Philadelphia Starbucks to discuss a business opportunity with a friend. Fox News, "Men arrested at Starbucks settle with city for $1, plus promise of $200G entrepreneurship program for students," 2 Oct. 2018 He was then taken by security, and according to The Province, Vancouver police say he was issued a $115 ticket for trespassing, but he was not arrested. Khadrice Rollins,, "Fan Tackled During CFL Game Suffered 'Mild Traumatic Brain Injury,' Hired Law Firm," 20 June 2018 The initiative is a marked shift in the life of Zachary Cruz, who in March was arrested for trespassing on a skateboard at the Parkland, Florida, high school and was placed on six months’ probation after pleading no contest. Washington Post, "School shooting suspect’s brother starts anti-bully campaign," 14 June 2018 Two months before that, and just weeks after Nikolas murdered 14 students and three faculty members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, he was arrested for trespassing on school property. Monique O. Madan, miamiherald, "Parkland shooter's brother gets behind 24/7 anti-bullying hotline and non-profit," 13 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The 60-year-old Lexington Park man was issued a no-trespass order and charged with theft under $1,500. Washington Post, "Southern Maryland crime report," 28 June 2018 The women requested no-trespass order and asked police to contact him to return the phone. Hank Beckman,, "La Grange blotter: Three men seen trying to break into apartment," 15 June 2018 Velasquez, who is still enrolled in classes, was issued a trespass order from campus and his conduct is being reviewed by the university, UCF Police Department spokeswoman Courtney Gilmartin said. Krista Torralva,, "UCF student who idolized mass shooters online can buy guns, judge decides," 2 Apr. 2018 Included in the definition of criminal trespass is the defacing, mutilating or defiling any grave marker, monument, or memorial to one or more deceased persons who served in the military service. Fox News, "Video from 2011 creates headaches for Sinema," 12 Oct. 2018 His support among this group is at the highest levels ever, despite his alleged moral trespasses and lack of religious orientation. Janelle Wong, Washington Post, "This is why white evangelicals still support Donald Trump. (It’s not economic anxiety.)," 19 June 2018 She was previously arrested for identity fraud, trespass and public indecency, Channel 2 reported. Raisa Habersham, ajc, "Cops: Drunken Gwinnett mom had empty wine bottle in backseat with 1-year-old," 29 May 2018 Foster, who is 53, was charged with criminal trespass and criminal mischief, conspiracy to commit criminal mischief and reckless endangerment. Michelle Nijhuis, New York Times, "‘I’m Just More Afraid of Climate Change Than I Am of Prison’," 13 Feb. 2018 Many of their online comments have encouraged violence against the cops, particularly after Padilla posted video of his arrest May 9 at Leon Valley City Hall on a charge of criminal trespass. Bruce Selcraig, San Antonio Express-News, "Courting arrest for online clicks and the First Amendment," 9 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'trespass.' 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 trespass


14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 2a


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

History and Etymology for trespass


Middle English, from Anglo-French trespasser to overtake, exceed, wrong, from tres to a high degree (from Latin trans beyond) + passer to pass — more at through, pass


Middle English trespas, from Anglo-French, passage, overstepping, misdeed, from trespasser

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Statistics for trespass

Last Updated

16 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for trespass

The first known use of trespass was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for trespass



English Language Learners Definition of trespass

 (Entry 1 of 2)

law : the crime of going on someone's land without permission

: a sin or other wrong or improper act



English Language Learners Definition of trespass (Entry 2 of 2)

: to go on someone's land without permission

: to do something that hurts or offends someone

: to treat someone unfairly especially by asking for or expecting more than is fair or reasonable


tres·​pass | \ ˈtres-pəs, -ˌpas\

Kids Definition of trespass

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : unlawful entry upon someone's land


trespassed; trespassing

Kids Definition of trespass (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to enter upon someone's land unlawfully
2 : to do wrong : sin

Other Words from trespass

trespasser noun


tres·​pass | \ ˈtres-pəs, -ˌpas \

Legal Definition of trespass

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: wrongful conduct causing harm to another: as
a : a willful act or active negligence as distinguished from a mere omission of a duty that causes an injury to or invasion of the person, rights, or especially property of another also : the common-law form of action for redress of injuries directly caused by such a wrongful act — compare trespass on the case in this entry
b : trespass quare clausum fregit in this entry
computer trespass
: the act of using or gaining access to a computer or computer network without authorization especially for the purpose of committing a crime or harming or removing programs, data, or hardware
continuing trespass
: a trespass that continues until the act (as of depriving another of his or her property without the intent to steal it) or instrumentality (as an object placed wrongfully on another's land) causing it is ended or removed
criminal trespass
: trespass to property that is forbidden by statute and punishable as a crime as distinguished from trespass that creates a cause of action for damages
trespass ab initio
: a trespass that arises upon a lawful act which because of subsequent unlawful or wrongful conduct is deemed under a legal fiction to have been trespassory from the beginning
trespass de bonis asportatis \ -​dē-​ˈbō-​nis-​ˌas-​pȯr-​ˈtā-​tis, -​dā-​ˈbō-​nēs-​ˌäs-​pȯr-​ˈtä-​tēs \ probably from Medieval Latin (trangressio) de bonis asportatis (trespass) concerning property carried off
: a common-law form of action to recover for trespass involving the carrying off of one's goods by another
trespass on the case
: a common-law form of action to recover for another's wrongful act that indirectly causes one's injury

called also action on the case, case

trespass quare clausum fregit \ -​ˈkwer-​ē-​ˈklȯ-​zəm-​ˈfrē-​jət, -​ˈkwä-​rā-​ˈklau̇-​su̇m-​ˈfrā-​gēt \ probably from Medieval Latin (transgressio) quare clausum fregit (trespass) whereby he or she broke into a close (tenement protected by law of trespass)
: a trespass that involves wrongful and tortious entry on another's real property
trespass to try title
: an action brought as a means of obtaining redress for a trespass to real property and determining the title to the property
trespass vi et armis \ -​ˈvī-​ˌet-​ˈär-​mis, -​ˈvē-​, -​ˌmēs \ Latin vi et armis with force and arms
: a trespass involving intentional infliction of injury on a person

Legal Definition of trespass (Entry 2 of 2)

: to commit a trespass especially : to enter wrongfully or without proper authority or consent upon the real property of another

transitive verb

: to commit a trespass against

History and Etymology for trespass


Anglo-French trespas violation of the law, actionable wrong, from Old French, crossing, passage, from trespasser to go across, from tres across + passer to pass

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Comments on trespass

What made you want to look up trespass? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to settle judicially or to act as judge

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