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[en-krohch] /ɛnˈkroʊtʃ/
verb (used without object)
to advance beyond proper, established, or usual limits; make gradual inroads:
A dictatorship of the majority is encroaching on the rights of the individual.
to trespass upon the property, domain, or rights of another, especially stealthily or by gradual advances.
Origin of encroach
1275-1325; Middle English encrochen < Anglo-French encrocher, Old French encrochier to catch hold of, seize, equivalent to en- en-1 + -crochier, verbal derivative of croc hook < Germanic; see crooked, crook1
Related forms
encroacher, noun
unencroached, adjective
unencroaching, adjective
1, 2. See trespass. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for encroached
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He had encroached, inch by inch, but her oblivion had not been inclination, as Waterbury fancied.

    Garrison's Finish W. B. M. Ferguson
  • Then it made its way over the banks and encroached upon the campus.

    Hester's Counterpart Jean K. Baird
  • One party had encroached on the ground prepared by the other, and refused to quit it.

    A Voyage round the World W.H.G. Kingston
  • They strike when they think that you have encroached on their trail.

    The Carter Girls Nell Speed
  • Hence, the Ugrian has been displaced, or encroached upon by others.

  • The mansion is now an hotel; and the grounds have been encroached on for building plots.

    Surrey A.R. Hope Moncrieff
  • And, then, a reaction took place, and the French has encroached ever since.

    The Ethnology of Europe Robert Gordon Latham
  • Upon these the ancestors of the present Norwegians encroached.

    The Ethnology of Europe Robert Gordon Latham
British Dictionary definitions for encroached


verb (intransitive)
often foll by on or upon. to intrude gradually, stealthily, or insidiously upon the rights, property, etc, of another
to advance beyond the usual or proper limits
Derived Forms
encroacher, noun
encroachingly, adverb
encroachment, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Old French encrochier to seize, literally: fasten upon with hooks, from en-1 + croc hook, of Germanic origin; see crook
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for encroached



early 14c., "acquire, get," from Old French encrochier "seize, fasten on, hang on (to), cling (to); hang up, suspend," literally "to catch with a hook," from en- "in" (see en- (1)) + croc "hook," from Old Norse krokr "hook" (see crook). Meaning "seize wrongfully" is from c.1400. Sense of "trespass" is first recorded 1530s. Related: Encroached; encroaches; encroaching.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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