tres·​pass | \ ˈtre-ˌspas also -spəs How to pronounce trespass (audio) \
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 How to pronounce trespass (audio) , -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

Trespassing: Richmond Road At 7:45 p.m. Aug. 29, police arrested a Cleveland man, 63, for trespassing while the man was in the garage at LaPlace, 2101 Richmond Road., "Woman arrested for Dillard’s theft, drug possession: Beachwood Police Blotter," 3 Sep. 2019 The families of two teenagers who were shot and killed after allegedly trespassing outside a home in Dayton, Ohio, are demanding accountability. CBS News, "Police trying to determine if Ohio homeowner was justified in killing two teens," 30 Aug. 2019 Keesee and Baylor trespassed onto a Kemper Road property on Aug. 20, according to court documents. Madeline Mitchell,, "Two men arrested after threatening to "shoot the place up" over a missing cell phone," 28 Aug. 2019 Our neighbor has trespassed continuously, has intruded with our renovation and has even sprayed pesticide on plants on our property. Amy Dickinson, The Mercury News, "Ask Amy: Can I fix this before my son realizes what he missed out on?," 25 Aug. 2019 Our neighbor has trespassed continuously, has intruded with our renovation and has even sprayed pesticide on plants on our property. Amy Dickinson, Detroit Free Press, "Young mom wants to repair fractured family," 25 Aug. 2019 For example, Stoneman Douglas reported no trespassing in 2017-18, even though the brother of the killer was arrested for trespassing a few weeks after the shooting. Scott Travis,, "South Florida school districts ‘most problematic’ in complying with safety laws," 25 July 2019 Sixteen protesters were arrested on trespassing charges at the State House Monday evening, police said. Alana Levene,, "16 arrested at State House while advocating drivers licenses for undocumented immigrants," 22 May 2018 According to a statement released to the press, the two officers arrested Donald Neely for trespassing on Saturday afternoon at an address in downtown Galveston. Josiah Bates, Time, "Texas Police Department Under Fire After Viral Photo Shows Officers on Horseback Leading Handcuffed Man By Rope," 6 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The woman, who had been banned from all Walmart stores after an incident in 2015, was charged with theft and criminal trespass., "Man finds Hitler at his front door: Mayfield Heights Police Blotter," 6 Sep. 2019 Walmart sued the union on grounds of trespass and public and private nuisance. Donna Engle,, "Legal Matters: Is it legal to picket on a private street or a parking lot?," 6 Sep. 2019 Police reported that the man eventually left the building, and he would be issued a letter of no trespass. Emily Sweeney,, "This was no knight in shining armor," 4 Sep. 2019 He was arrested in August 2001 in McLennan County in the Waco area on misdemeanor charges of criminal trespass and evading arrest, according to state data. Sarah Mervosh, New York Times, "Texas Gunman: From Small-Time Troublemaker to Mass Killer," 2 Sep. 2019 Curtis Pardee, 63, of New Haven faces charges of third-degree criminal mischief and criminal trespass. Jesse Leavenworth,, "Man charged with destroying Door Tree says hatred for relative drove vandalism," 14 Aug. 2019 Mason-McCauley had previously been charged with burglary and criminal trespass after a series of incidents on June 20, court records show., "Salem homeowner assaulted with flashlight in Sunday-morning burglary," 11 Aug. 2019 Police charged her with petty theft, criminal trespass, driving under suspension and parking in a handicapped spot. Bruce Geiselman,, "Drunken driving crash suspect leaves bumper behind: North Olmsted Police Blotter," 21 July 2019 Harper has also been convicted of three misdemeanor charges, including theft in 2009 and criminal trespass in 2011 and in 2017, records show. Julian Gill, Houston Chronicle, "Prosecutor: Double amputee's shooting of father near Houston gym was random," 18 June 2019

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

11 Sep 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)

: to go on someone's land without permission
old-fashioned : to do something that hurts or offends someone
formal : to treat someone unfairly especially by asking for or expecting more than is fair or reasonable



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

law : the crime of going on someone's land without permission
old-fashioned : a sin or other wrong or improper act


tres·​pass | \ ˈtres-pəs How to pronounce trespass (audio) , -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 How to pronounce trespass (audio) \

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).


one from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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