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

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

Other Words from trespass


trespasser noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for trespass

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

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

Verb He told me I was trespassing. The sign said “No Trespassing.” Noun 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 That same month, Abbott announced the state would start arresting migrants who trespass on private property. Harmeet Kaur, CNN, 14 July 2021 Park officials said that area of the park is a popular spot for swimmers to trespass in order to jump in the Black River KMOV reported. CBS News, 2 July 2021 The team analyzed 911 data and chose certain call codes to flag for STAR: assist, intoxicated person, suicidal series, welfare check, indecent exposure, trespass unwanted person and syringe disposal. Ashley Luthern, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 27 May 2021 Jon Schaffer, the Central Indiana man and member of Iced Earth, faces six federal charges in the insurrection that saw thousands of former President Donald Trump supporters trespass into the U.S. Capitol. Sarah Nelson, The Indianapolis Star, 6 Apr. 2021 In a later video, the TikTok creator, lawyer Carrie Jernigan, posted directions to the development but warned viewers not to trespass. Haley Victory Smith, Washington Examiner, 5 Apr. 2021 At present, Border Patrol agents are turning away nearly all migrants who trespass into the United States in an effort not to detain people at law enforcement facilities while the coronavirus pandemic continues. Anna Giaritelli, Washington Examiner, 20 Feb. 2021 The sheriff and his deputies have been acting as mediators between the protesters and the workers, ensuring that tensions don't escalate and that people don't trespass on private land. Brooks Johnson, Star Tribune, 9 Dec. 2020 Only on Halloween do parents encourage their kids to trespass on someone’s property, make a nonnegotiable demand, and take candy from strangers. Richard Lederer, San Diego Union-Tribune, 31 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Officers located the customer, a Beachwood woman, 68, and issued her a trespass warning. cleveland, 5 Jan. 2022 Donald Stuart Brown, 73, was issued a trespass warning at the T-Mobile store on Bichara Boulevard in early December, but went there anyway last Wednesday, according to an arrest report. Jeff Weiner,, 27 Dec. 2021 In April 2016, police issued a criminal trespass warning at Edgemere to Benjamin Koitaba, an alias Chemirmir used. Jamie Stengle, ajc, 12 Nov. 2021 In April 2016, police issued a criminal trespass warning at Edgemere to Benjamin Koitaba, an alias Chemirmir used. Fox News, 12 Nov. 2021 Before Norris, 38, was killed, deputies were attempting to issue him a criminal trespass warning, according to the custodial death report. Jacob Beltran, San Antonio Express-News, 11 Nov. 2021 In the end, six of the protesters were arrested for criminal trespass at around 9:45 p.m. EST, the New York City Police department told CBS MoneyWatch. Aimee Picchi, CBS News, 16 Dec. 2021 The Shaker Heights man was arrested for criminal trespass and aggravated menacing. cleveland, 26 Nov. 2021 The New York Post reported Autry appeared in a courtroom wearing an NYPD T-shirt after being arrested for criminal trespass in connection with the 2019 zoo incident. Fox News, 14 Nov. 2021

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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Time Traveler for trespass

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near trespass

tres leches cake


trespass board

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Statistics for trespass

Cite this Entry

“Trespass.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Jan. 2022.

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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
: to do something that hurts or offends someone
: 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)

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


intransitive verb

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

More from Merriam-Webster on trespass

Nglish: Translation of trespass for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of trespass for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about trespass


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