[ en-krohch ]
See synonyms for: encroachencroachingencroacher on Thesaurus.com

verb (used without object)
  1. to advance beyond proper, established, or usual limits; make gradual inroads: A dictatorship of the majority is encroaching on the rights of the individual.

  2. to trespass upon the property, domain, or rights of another, especially stealthily or by gradual advances.

Origin of encroach

First recorded in 1275–1325; Middle English encrochen, from Anglo-French encrocher, Old French encrochier “to catch hold of, seize,” equivalent to en- en-1 + -crochier, verbal derivative of croc “hook,” from Germanic; see crooked, crook1

synonym study For encroach

1, 2. See trespass.

Other words from encroach

  • en·croach·er, noun
  • un·en·croached, adjective

Words Nearby encroach

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use encroach in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for encroach


/ (ɪnˈkrəʊtʃ) /

  1. (often foll by on or upon) to intrude gradually, stealthily, or insidiously upon the rights, property, etc, of another

  2. to advance beyond the usual or proper limits

Origin of encroach

C14: from Old French encrochier to seize, literally: fasten upon with hooks, from en- 1 + croc hook, of Germanic origin; see crook

Derived forms of encroach

  • encroacher, noun
  • encroachingly, adverb
  • encroachment, noun

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