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[tres-puh s, -pas] /ˈtrɛs pəs, -pæs/
  1. an unlawful act causing injury to the person, property, or rights of another, committed with force or violence, actual or implied.
  2. a wrongful entry upon the lands of another.
  3. the action to recover damages for such an injury.
an encroachment or intrusion.
an offense, sin, or wrong.
verb (used without object)
Law. to commit a trespass.
to encroach on a person's privacy, time, etc.; infringe (usually followed by on or upon).
to commit a transgression or offense; transgress; offend; sin.
Origin of trespass
1250-1300; (noun) Middle English trespas transgression, offense < Old French, derivative of trespasser, equivalent to tres- (< Latin trāns- trans-) + passer to pass; (v.) Middle English trespassen, derivative of the noun
Related forms
trespasser, noun
nontrespass, noun
untrespassed, adjective
untrespassing, adjective
4, 5. T respass , encroach , infringe , intrude imply overstepping boundaries and assuming possession of others' property or crowding onto the right of others. To trespass is to pass unlawfully within the boundaries of another's property: Hunters trespass on a farmer's fields. To encroach is to creep, gradually and often stealthily, upon territory, rights, or privileges, so that a footing is imperceptibly established: The sea slowly encroached upon the land. To infringe is to break in upon or invade rights, customs, or the like, by violating or disregarding them: to infringe upon a patent. To intrude is to thrust oneself into the presence of a person or into places or circumstances where one is not welcome: to intrude into a private conversation. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for trespass
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.

  • And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.

  • Can I trespass on your good nature to make the proper solution for my eyes?

    The Leopard Woman Stewart Edward White
  • She could not assess her trespass by any moral code; it was everything or nothing.

    Howards End E. M. Forster
  • He could put distance between him and the trespass, but it grew in his soul.

    Howards End E. M. Forster
  • They keep their cattle on his land, although he has, since then, processed them for trespass.

    Ireland as It Is Robert John Buckley (AKA R.J.B.)
  • In Ezra, the Tenth, the ram is offered for a trespass because of an unlawful marriage.

    An Orkney Maid Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr
  • "I have no right to trespass longer on you, sir," said Roland, bowing.

    Roland Cashel Charles James Lever
British Dictionary definitions for trespass


verb (intransitive)
often foll by on or upon. to go or intrude (on the property, privacy, or preserves of another) with no right or permission
(law) to commit trespass, esp to enter wrongfully upon land belonging to another
(archaic) (often foll by against) to sin or transgress
  1. any unlawful act committed with force or violence, actual or implied, which causes injury to another person, his property, or his rights
  2. a wrongful entry upon another's land
  3. an action to recover damages for such injury or wrongful entry
an intrusion on another's privacy or preserves
a sin or offence
Derived Forms
trespasser, noun
Word Origin
C13: from Old French trespas a passage, from trespasser to pass through, from tres-trans- + passer, ultimately from Latin passus a pace1
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 trespass

c.1300, "transgress, offend, sin," from Old French trespasser "pass beyond or across," from tres- "beyond" (from Latin trans-) + passer "go by, pass" (see pass (v.)). Meaning "enter unlawfully" is first attested in forest laws of Scottish Parliament (c.1455). The noun is recorded from late 13c. The modern descendant of Old French trespasser, French trépasser has come to be used euphemistically for "to die" (cf. cross over, and obituary).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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