1 : to enter by gradual steps or by stealth into the possessions or rights of another
2 : to advance beyond the usual or proper limits
Did You Know?
The history behind encroach is likely to hook you in. The word derives from the Middle English encrochen, which means "to get or seize." The Anglo-French predecessor of encrochen is encrocher, which was formed by combining the prefix en- ("in") with the noun croche ("hook"). Croche also gave us our word crochet, in reference to the hooked needle used in that craft. Encroach carries the meaning of "intrude," both in terms of privilege or property. The word can also hop over legal barriers to describe a general advancement beyond desirable or normal limits (such as a hurricane that encroaches on the mainland).
"The house had been abandoned for years, with peeling stucco, a half-buried swimming pool, the jungle encroaching on every side." — Paula McLain, Town & Country, August 2018
"As algorithms are viewed as encroaching more and more on our everyday lives, and, importantly, the privacy of those lives, there is an increased clamour to make them available and accessible for scrutiny." — James Kitching, Computing, 2 Jan. 2019
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Name That Synonym
Fill in the blanks to complete a synonym of encroach: i _ f _ i _ g _.VIEW THE ANSWER
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP