[ tres-puhs, -pas ]
See synonyms for: trespasstrespassingtrespasser on

  1. Law.

    • an unlawful act causing injury to the person, property, or rights of another, committed with force or violence, actual or implied.

    • a wrongful entry upon the lands of another.

    • the action to recover damages for such an injury.

  2. an encroachment or intrusion.

  1. an offense, sin, or wrong.

verb (used without object)
  1. Law. to commit a trespass.

  2. to encroach on a person's privacy, time, etc.; infringe (usually followed by on or upon).

  1. to commit a transgression or offense; transgress; offend; sin.

Origin of trespass

First recorded in 1250–1300; (noun) Middle English trespas “transgression, offense,” from Old French, derivative of trespasser, equivalent to tres- (from Latin trāns-trans-) + passer “to pass” (see pass); (verb) Middle English trespassen, derivative of the noun

synonym study For trespass

4, 5. Trespass , 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.

Other words from trespass

  • tres·pass·er, noun
  • non·tres·pass, noun
  • un·tres·passed, adjective
  • un·tres·pass·ing, adjective

Words Nearby trespass Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use trespass in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for trespass


/ (ˈtrɛspəs) /

  1. (often foll by on or upon) to go or intrude (on the property, privacy, or preserves of another) with no right or permission

  2. law to commit trespass, esp to enter wrongfully upon land belonging to another

  1. archaic (often foll by against) to sin or transgress

  1. law

    • any unlawful act committed with force or violence, actual or implied, which causes injury to another person, his property, or his rights

    • a wrongful entry upon another's land

    • an action to recover damages for such injury or wrongful entry

  2. an intrusion on another's privacy or preserves

  1. a sin or offence

Origin of trespass

C13: from Old French trespas a passage, from trespasser to pass through, from tres- trans- + passer, ultimately from Latin passus a pace 1

Derived forms of trespass

  • trespasser, 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