Definition of encounter in English:



  • 1Unexpectedly be faced with or experience (something hostile or difficult)

    ‘we have encountered one small problem’
    • ‘He said the troops did not encounter any hostile fire.’
    • ‘An animal may experience conflicting urges when encountering a threat.’
    • ‘Anemia in children is commonly encountered by the family physician.’
    • ‘One problem frequently encountered is determining when and how to intervene.’
    • ‘Government's plan to hang every prisoner on death row has encountered an obstacle.’
    • ‘I frequently encountered this problem as Director of Education for a small natural history museum.’
    • ‘Upon her arrival, she encounters open hostility from both her bosses and pupils.’
    • ‘Longtime officers claimed afterwards that they had never encountered such stiff resistance.’
    • ‘Officials said coalition forces ordered the airstrike after encountering hostile fire from the location.’
    • ‘The proposals are also encountering some mild resistance from Congress.’
    • ‘Even if they could find the time, they often encounter another obstacle.’
    • ‘But despite the hardships he encountered on the trip, he is already looking ahead to another challenge next year.’
    • ‘The smoke from the fire smelled as bad as everything else they'd encountered so far.’
    • ‘In 27 years of trading, I have never encountered such personal difficulties dealing with a customer.’
    • ‘Primary spinal neoplasms are encountered far less frequently in adults than in children.’
    • ‘Yet this was the first time he'd ever encountered such sullen hostility from total strangers.’
    • ‘But I've never encountered any real difficulties or trouble.’
    • ‘Joint pain is among the most common complaints encountered in family practice.’
    • ‘But they're likely to encounter a hostile European Union.’
    • ‘We have never denied the many problems we have encountered along the way.’
    • ‘Hypercalcemia is a disorder commonly encountered by primary care physicians.’
    experience, come into contact with, run into, come across, come up against, face, be faced with, confront, be forced to contend with
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  • 2Meet (someone) unexpectedly.

    ‘what do we know about the people we encounter in our daily lives?’
    • ‘The middle part of the film becomes a series of incidents, with the girls encountering people who either help or hinder them.’
    • ‘Upon his return he encountered Mistress Dorset in the corridor.’
    • ‘She encountered fewer soldiers the closer she came to the interior of the base.’
    • ‘I used to dislike or even hate certain people whom I had encountered in life.’
    • ‘He was a bit of a suspicious character to encounter on the streets.’
    • ‘The traveling I could do without, but I wouldn't give up meeting the several hundred dance educators I encounter on each tour for anything.’
    • ‘Bands we encounter on the road are always in awe of our awesome van.’
    • ‘When you encounter people who are different from you, don't judge them by how they look or act.’
    • ‘Wilson shared it with other soldiers, who passed out the small gifts to children they encountered on the streets.’
    • ‘Rather, it appeared to be shock at encountering the person she least expected to meet.’
    • ‘In the story, Mulligan is described by a street vendor he encounters on a Chicago spring day.’
    • ‘Now it is important to mention that, at this time, the only soldiers Kas had encountered were male.’
    • ‘They beg for money, often using bits of broken English they pick up from the occasional soldier they encounter.’
    • ‘He also used many non-professional actors for the people encountered along the way.’
    • ‘In addition, the ethnographer will encounter many people who will act as informants.’
    • ‘He arrives here at midnight, he always travels late to avoid being held up by the crowds he encounters in the day.’
    • ‘I have dived before but the biggest thing I ever encountered previously was a five foot tuna.’
    • ‘It is only infrequently in life that one encounters people whose talents have been recognised and honoured by society.’
    meet, meet by chance, run into, run across, come across, come upon, stumble across, stumble on, chance on, happen on
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  • 1An unexpected or casual meeting with someone or something.

    ‘she felt totally unnerved by the encounter’
    • ‘He chewed reflectively, his thoughts drifting back to yesterday's encounter with Marina.’
    • ‘The complainant says that there had been one previous sexual encounter.’
    • ‘Our casual lakeside encounters evolved into more regular meetings, dancing and dating.’
    • ‘I'm thinking that this might be the best chance I ever get to have a casual encounter with someone new and exciting.’
    • ‘But you probably don't appreciate casual encounters.’
    • ‘I well remember my first underwater encounter with a basking shark.’
    • ‘One of the downsides of being a responsible single father was the serious crimp it put in any casual encounters.’
    • ‘When you go to work, or visit a park, it is possible that you will have a range of unexpected encounters, however fleeting or seemingly inconsequential.’
    • ‘I recalled my recent encounter with the stranger, and my eyes narrowed.’
    • ‘My first brief encounter with the film was at a very young age.’
    • ‘The notion of chance meetings and cross-global encounters appeared in two other works.’
    • ‘The vast majority die of old age, disease or unexpected encounters with cars.’
    • ‘The last and strangest encounter occurred a couple of years ago in the Maldives.’
    • ‘Bad personal sites bore us by telling us about trivial events and casual encounters about which we have no reason to care.’
    meeting, chance meeting, brush, rendezvous
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    1. 1.1A confrontation or unpleasant struggle.
      ‘his close encounter with death’
      • ‘When that fails, the young man has an unpleasant encounter with his family.’
      • ‘The U.S. took a major step, surviving an epic encounter with a skilled Japanese side in the quarterfinals in Adelaide.’
      • ‘He didn't survive his encounter with the men who are supposedly New York's finest.’
      • ‘I recently had an unpleasant encounter with a guy who drives a tow truck.’
      • ‘Newcastle won today's encounter 32-9 in front of a 4,500-strong crowd.’
      • ‘It was the nastiest moment in countless unpleasant footballing encounters.’
      • ‘Another defeat would have left tomorrow's home encounter with Plymouth looking ominous.’
      • ‘Although the unpleasant encounter is over, I have been puzzling over the cause of this gentleman's behaviour, which borders on rudeness.’
      • ‘And today's encounter against Celtic is just the sort of game he relishes.’
      • ‘The combination of the two leads him to an unpleasant encounter with the police.’
      • ‘She had to limp through the final stages of the epic encounter, warding off cramp.’
      • ‘Durrow had won the earlier league encounter and started in a very determined fashion.’
      • ‘I've had my fair share of unpleasant encounters….’
      • ‘‘Border guards…,’ I thought with awe, bracing myself for an unpleasant encounter.’
      • ‘The unpleasant encounter put me in a strange state of mind.’
      • ‘He came back strongly in the semi-final encounter against Pakistan by making a solid 58 runs.’
      • ‘But it won't be a bruising encounter - for tai chi is more about inner peace than unarmed combat.’
      • ‘She's evidently remembering her previous encounter with a gun.’
      • ‘But men have also reported unpleasant online encounters.’
      • ‘All four are expected to turn out in tomorrow's encounter.’
      battle, fight, clash, conflict, confrontation, engagement, skirmish, brush
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Middle English (in the senses ‘meet as an adversary’ and ‘a meeting of adversaries’; formerly also as incounter): from Old French encontrer (verb), encontre (noun), based on Latin in- in + contra against.