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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.
Origin of encroach
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 encroaching
  • Staffers came muttering in and out of the door, working against encroaching deadlines.
  • Fishermen are sometimes locked up for encroaching on another country's claim.
  • Although the ocean has been slowly encroaching on the island for centuries, climate change has sped up the process.
  • Peck and her neighbors, it is the only way to live with the encroaching sea.
  • But encroaching farming threatens to trample the flower and its habitat.
  • Fishermen are sometimes locked up for encroaching in another country's claim.
  • Both worked towards the survival of two species severely impacted by the encroaching demands of human beings.
  • Pandas are also threatened by encroaching people as well as by poachers who want their pelts.
  • Both houses are historic landmarks that were threatened by encroaching development.
  • Now they are heavy with fruit, vying for space among the bushy marigolds and encroaching green pepper plants.
British Dictionary definitions for encroaching


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 encroaching



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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