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, 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

Two final charges are misdemeanor counts accusing him of trespassing into the mobile homes of two elderly women on separate days in June. Teri Figueroa,, "Kellen Winslow II posts bail, released from jail," 13 July 2018 While investigating signs of trespassing into municipal properties, the officers heard pellet gun shots on the other side of a steep drainage ditch. Houston Chronicle, "Game warden field notes," 1 July 2018 Police patrol the park to deter jumping into the reservoir or trespassing on watershed lands. Bill Leukhardt,, "Teen Hurt In Cliff Fall At Ragged Mountain In Berlin," 22 June 2018 The Miami New Times reported Crenshaw has been arrested several times for trespassing, disorderly intoxication and battering police, among other things. Alexia Fernandez,, "Florida Man with No Arms Stabs Tourist Visiting Popular South Beach Area, Police Say," 11 July 2018 High on Life has trespassed into a sensitive archeological area at Machu Pichu, climbed Berlin’s Holocaust Memorial, affixed a rope swing to Utah’s picturesque, but fragile Corona Arch, and water skied behind an RV across the Bonneville Salt Flats. Wes Siler, Outside Online, "Doing It for the ‘Gram Turns Deadly," 9 July 2018 She is expected to be charged with national park regulations or public use limit; trespassing; disorderly conduct, and interfering with government functions., "Here Is Everything We Know About The Badass Black Woman Who Climbed The Statue Of Liberty," 5 July 2018 Johnson lives in the building and was not trespassing, according to his attorney, Benjamin Taylor. Hollie Silverman And Phil Gast, CNN, "Arizona officers on administrative leave after punching unarmed man," 6 June 2018 In August 2016, Marinovich was charged with trespassing, public nudity and possessing methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia after authorities say a naked Marinovich tried to open the sliding glass door of an Irvine, California home. Scooby Axson,, "Former Raiders QB Todd Marinovich Arrested Again," 1 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 On Friday, Metra officers arrested Fleming on an outstanding warrant for failing to appear in court for a prior charge of criminal trespass, Metra spokeswoman Meg Reile said. Zak Koeske, Daily Southtown, "State police investigating death of detainee at Markham lockup," 27 June 2018 Quintal was charged with three counts of accessing a computer for fraudulent purposes and three counts of computer trespass, State Police said. Laney Ruckstuhl,, "Seekonk man charged with sharing customer’s nude photos at RI video store," 23 June 2018 Anthony Alonso Fuentes, 18, of Liberty Street in Meriden, two 17-year-olds and a 16-year-old were charged with two counts of third-degree criminal trespass, police said. Christine Dempsey,, "Would-Be Wilcox Graduation Spoilers Arrested In Meriden, State Police Say," 20 June 2018 Quintal was arraigned on multiple counts of computer trespass and accessing a computer for fraudulent purposes at Second Division District Court in Newport. Crimesider Staff, CBS News, "Electronics repair store manager charged with stealing customers’ nude photos," 15 June 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

23 Oct 2018

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 express warning or disapproval

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