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poach1

[pohch]
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verb (used without object)
  1. to trespass, especially on another's game preserve, in order to steal animals or to hunt.
  2. to take game or fish illegally.
  3. (of land) to become broken up or slushy by being trampled.
  4. (in tennis, squash, handball, etc.) to play a ball hit into the territory of one's partner that is properly the partner's ball to play.
  5. Informal. to cheat in a game or contest.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to trespass on (private property), especially in order to hunt or fish.
  2. to steal (game or fish) from another's property.
  3. to take without permission and use as one's own: to poach ideas; a staff poached from other companies.
  4. to break or tear up by trampling.
  5. to mix with water and reduce to a uniform consistency, as clay.
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Origin of poach1

1520–30; earlier: to shove, thrust < Middle French pocher to gouge < Germanic; akin to poke1
Related formspoach·a·ble, adjective

poach2

[pohch]
verb (used with object)
  1. to cook (eggs, fish, fruits, etc.) in a hot liquid that is kept just below the boiling point.
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Origin of poach2

1350–1400; Middle English poche < Middle French pocher literally, to bag (the yolk inside the white), derivative of poche bag (French poche pocket) < Middle Dutch poke poke2
Related formspoach·a·ble, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for poached

poach1

verb
  1. to catch (game, fish, etc) illegally by trespassing on private property
  2. to encroach on or usurp (another person's rights, duties, etc) or steal (an idea, employee, etc)
  3. tennis badminton to take or play (shots that should belong to one's partner)
  4. to break up (land) into wet muddy patches, as by riding over it, or (of land) to become broken up in this way
  5. (intr) (of the feet, shoes, etc) to sink into heavy wet ground
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Word Origin

C17: from Old French pocher, of Germanic origin; compare Middle Dutch poken to prod; see poke 1

poach2

verb
  1. to simmer (eggs, fish, etc) very gently in water, milk, stock, etc
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Word Origin

C15: from Old French pochier to enclose in a bag (as the yolks are enclosed by the whites); compare poke ²
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

Word Origin and History for poached

adj.

of eggs, mid-15c., past participle adjective from poach (v.2).

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poach

v.1

"steal game," 1520s, "to push, poke," from Middle French pocher "to thrust, poke," from Old French pochier "poke out, gouge, prod, jab," from a Germanic source (cf. Middle High German puchen "to pound, beat, knock," German pochen, Middle Dutch boken "to beat") related to poke (v.). Sense of "trespass for the sake of stealing" is first attested 1610s, perhaps via notion of "thrusting" oneself onto another's property, or perhaps from French pocher "to pocket" (see poach (v.2)). Related: Poached; poaching.

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poach

v.2

"cook in liquid," early 15c., from Old French poché, past participle of pochier (12c.), literally "put into a pocket" (as the white of an egg forms a pocket for the yolk), from poche "bag, pocket," from Frankish *pokka "bag," from Proto-Germanic *puk- (see poke (n.)). Related: Poached; poaching.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper