in·​road ˈin-ˌrōd How to pronounce inroad (audio)
plural inroads
: an advance or penetration often at the expense of someone or something
usually used in plural
: a sudden hostile incursion : raid

Did you know?

Inroad is a combination of in and road, both of which are pretty mundane, as far as words go. But the first-and-oldest-meaning of inroad hints at a meaning of road other than the "way for traveling" one. Beginning back in the days of Old English, road referred to an armed hostile incursion made on horseback. (Raid comes from this use of road and also formerly specified incursions on horseback.) Road, as well as inroad, has lost its violent connotation. While inroads are often made at the expense of someone or something, they are at times simply advances, as when an artist is said to be "making inroads into a community."

Examples of inroad in a Sentence

the army is finally making inroads into enemy territory
Recent Examples on the Web But supporters of DeSantis in the faith community point to Vander Plaats' audience and influence to argue that his endorsement, as well as the endorsement from Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, will help DeSantis make inroads with evangelical Christian voters in Iowa who have stuck with Trump since 2016. Aaron Navarro, CBS News, 21 Nov. 2023 But in recent years both China and Russia have made inroads into the region, striking alliances with players anathema to U.S. interests, including Iran and Syria. Stephanie Yang, Los Angeles Times, 15 Nov. 2023 Minaj is making inroads on completing her fifth album, Pink Friday 2, the sequel to her 2010 debut effort. Carl Lamarre, Billboard, 9 Nov. 2023 According to recent polling, Haley’s campaign has made inroads. Greg Hyatt, NBC News, 7 Nov. 2023 Brandon Presley is making inroads in Mississippi's gubernatorial race, despite running as a Democrat in a state that's voted red for the past 20 years. Virginia Chamlee, Peoplemag, 6 Nov. 2023 Nonfiction is actually one of the first corners of the infamously male-centric field where women made inroads, thanks to lower production costs and the possibility of operating with a skeleton crew. Peter Debruge, Variety, 6 Nov. 2023 For instance, luxury behemoth Kering’s Gucci acquired the perfume-maker Creed earlier this year to make inroads into the fragrance business while expanding Creed’s market in China and elsewhere. Byprarthana Prakash, Fortune Europe, 6 Nov. 2023 Apple is also looking to make inroads with consumers and opened its first retail store in India in April at a launch attended by CEO Tim Cook. Gerry Shih, Washington Post, 31 Oct. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'inroad.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1548, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of inroad was in 1548


Dictionary Entries Near inroad

Cite this Entry

“Inroad.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


in·​road ˈin-ˌrōd How to pronounce inroad (audio)
: a sudden hostile invasion : raid
: an important advance often at the expense of someone or something
making inroads against the competition

More from Merriam-Webster on inroad

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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