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

Keep scrolling for more

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


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Dun was arrested on charges of trespassing on state property, failing to obey a sign, and suspicion of delaying a police officer. Ashley Hoffman, Time, "Man Causes More Los Angeles Traffic Than Usual By Scaling Sign Half Naked," 28 June 2018 Others who have filed for mayor so far include Jose Datil Colom, who was ordered to serve probation in a public corruption case, and Robert Edward Melanson, convicted of trespassing on the roof of singer Rihanna's mansion in Los Angeles. Stephen Hudak,, "Jerry Demings submits required resignation letter as sheriff to run for Orange County mayor," 7 June 2018 Smith faces charges of trespassing, burglary and aggravated assault, NBC Miami reported. Josh Magness, miamiherald, "He asked if exchange students were 'American boys' — and used a stun gun, Florida cops say | Miami Herald," 25 May 2018 Cruz was first arrested in March, accused of trespassing at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Rafael Olmeda,, "Parkland shooter's brother Zachary Cruz was 'tortured' in jail, lawsuit alleges," 3 May 2018 Two South Korean reporters were ejected from the city-state after allegedly trespassing at the residence of North Korea’s ambassador to Singapore. Jonathan Cheng, WSJ, "Trump and North Korea’s Kim Land in Singapore for Historic Summit," 10 June 2018 Ellis said scores of landowners testified in favor of the change and told legislators horror stories about dealing with people trespassing and abusing their land. Eric Barker, idahostatesman, "Headed outdoors? Make sure you know about Idaho's new trespassing law," 9 July 2018 The agreement outlines various offenses that would handled by school officials, not the officer, including fighting, disturbances, trespassing and disorderly conduct. Jennifer Johnson,, "Divided District 64 board seeks committee to weigh in on school resource officer program," 18 June 2018 According to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police, protesters who refused to leave faced trespassing charges and would be removed from the property. Tom Leyden, Indianapolis Star, "Disabled protesters target Indianapolis home of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar," 10 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 Prosecutor Chase Lingle alleged Monet was guilty of criminal trespass for remaining on the property after police ordered the group to leave. Fox News, "Journalist cleared of trespassing at pipeline protests," 4 June 2018 Yellowstone’s chief fisheries biologist, Todd Koel, started investigating a case of trespass not transport after seeing how fish are invading high-elevation lakes in Glacier National Park. Mike Koshmrl, The Seattle Times, "Officials consider whether lake trout swam to Yellowstone," 3 June 2018 He was ultimately taken into custody on the municipal charges of trespass to a dwelling and disorderly conduct. Jim Riccioli, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "A downtown Waukesha resident went face to face with an intruder in her home. She used a finger gun to stop him.," 10 Apr. 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.

See More

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


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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about trespass

Statistics for trespass

Last Updated

11 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for trespass

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


a magnificent or impressive array

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Food Quiz

True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!