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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.
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, crook
Related forms
encroacher, noun
unencroached, adjective
unencroaching, adjective
1, 2. See trespass. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for encroached
  • As a species, humans have encroached on territory once inhabited by wildlife.
  • The question should not be which species, which humans have encroached on the domain of animals with human expansionism.
  • The population has soared and urban development has encroached onto many areas that were once farmland.
  • Six birds that had no chance of survival as their habitat was destroyed and predators encroached.
  • The more sovereignty is encroached, the worse this friction becomes.
  • His people once controlled land on both sides of the river, but an enemy tribe has gradually encroached on their territory.
  • Big cats are less able to eat and breed in a smaller, fragmented habitat encroached upon by people.
  • Over the past seven decades, the conifers and brush have encroached across the state, and the oak savannas have retreated.
  • The nerve impulses from the neighboring regions of the monkey's sensory cortex had encroached only one or two millimeters.
  • Lighting became a crucial question in a preelectric age: windows encroached on hanging space and created shadows.
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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