Definition of trespass in English:



[no object]
  • 1Enter someone's land or property without permission.

    ‘there is no excuse for trespassing on railway property’
    • ‘Their workmen had trespassed onto the Gregorys' property, uprooted shrubs, removed rockery stones and trampled down plants.’
    • ‘The prosecutor may be able, by careful questioning, to avoid trespassing into the forbidden territory.’
    • ‘The assailant was charged with trespassing, destruction of property and cruelty to animals.’
    • ‘The case itself does not stand for some principle that you must get exemplary damages where land is trespassed upon.’
    • ‘It is only an illegal activity if they are trespassing or poaching.’
    • ‘We're told staff from the daycare center made a citizen's arrest for trespassing.’
    • ‘If you aren't off my property in three minutes I'll have you arrested for trespassing!’
    • ‘That same year, another woman was arrested for trespassing at that same home.’
    • ‘I felt like an intruder discovered by the owner of the house I was trespassing.’
    • ‘Because this is a fairly low-key establishment, entering it almost feels like trespassing.’
    • ‘He has been arrested for trespassing while filming his routines in abandoned buildings.’
    • ‘The police had caused criminal damage and were trespassing.’
    • ‘The landlord commenced proceedings for possession on the ground that the lease had ended and the tenant was trespassing.’
    • ‘Some people took direct action and stood in front of the bulldozers but they were arrested and fined for trespassing.’
    • ‘At a children's home in Silver Street, he was said to have made threats to staff, caused damage, trespassed, verbally abused a social worker, refused to leave the premises and tried to steal a wallet from a member of staff.’
    • ‘There is no evidence that the police trespassed to do this and it appears that, at least from the video, that the pictures and video were taken from the publicly accessible roadway adjacent to the residence in question.’
    • ‘Police arrested the four on charges ranging from assault to trespassing.’
    • ‘The same youth was one of a group who were arrested trespassing at Malmesbury Abbey churchyard last month.’
    • ‘The falconer says he has been warned he could be arrested for trespassing if he tries to get her.’
    • ‘More than 30 protesters have already been arrested for trespassing onto the site.’
    enter without permission, intrude on, encroach on, invade, infringe, impinge on
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1trespass on Make unfair claims on or take advantage of (something)
      ‘she really must not trespass on his hospitality’
      • ‘When someone offends us we feel that they are trespassing on our rights.’
      • ‘We were trespassing on the communion of their lunch, the remembrance of a thousand small-town diners, trailer-park kitchens and back-yard barbecues.’
      • ‘I felt he didn't actually know much about radical political movements of the time - trespassing on Conrad really.’
      take advantage of, impose on, make use of, play on, exploit, abuse, make unfair claims on
      View synonyms
  • 2trespass againstarchaic, literary Commit an offence against (a person or a set of rules)

    ‘a man who had trespassed against Judaic law’
    • ‘We know in this, within a democracy, how to get tough and put in rigorous regimens of discipline, security without trespassing against the fundamental rights of human beings in a civilized society.’
    • ‘Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the Lord in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the Lord.’
    • ‘The player who trespasses against the rules or ignores them is a ‘spoil-sport.’’
    • ‘Leaving aside the question of God's forgiveness, I think a basic way to forgive those who trespass against us is to return good for evil - to actually go out of our way to be charitable to those who have harmed us in some way.’
    • ‘But as the Lord taught us, we should ask forgiveness for our trespasses as we forgive those who have trespassed against us.’
    wrong, do wrong to, cause harm to
    View synonyms


  • 1Law
    mass noun Entry to a person's land or property without permission.

    ‘the defendants were guilty of trespass’
    count noun ‘a mass trespass on the moor’
    • ‘The requirement of trespass places a civil law concept at the centre of the offence.’
    • ‘Obviously, the Council enjoying the easement could be guilty of trespass, not least because they may - very readily in this case, it can be seen - stray over the line.’
    • ‘Perhaps you could give me a note, if that is appropriate, in due course, about the legislative history of trespass to Crown lands.’
    • ‘Thus in the field of tort, the traditional view is that claims in respect of torts to land, such as trespass and nuisance, can be brought only by an occupier with a property interest in the land (such as a lease), and not by a mere licensee.’
    • ‘Picketing which breaches the criminal law or one of the specific torts such as trespass, nuisance, intimidation, defamation or representation will be impermissible.’
    unlawful entry, intrusion, encroachment, invasion, infringement, impingement
    View synonyms
  • 2archaic, literary A sin or offence.

    ‘the worst trespass against the goddess Venus is to see her naked and asleep’
    • ‘And so I came up with the idea of actually demanding compensation for the trespass.’
    • ‘After all, aren't they the guardians of the border, above all laws, sins, and trespasses?’
    • ‘Before his Damascus road experience, Paul was ‘dead in trespasses and sins.’’
    • ‘Others, with stay-at-home, nonpolitical wives, were appalled at her trespasses onto the male public sphere.’
    • ‘That's a mortal trespass, an unforgivable transgression that must be stopped.’
    sin, wrong, wrongdoing, transgression, crime, offence, misdeed, misdemeanour, error, lapse, fall from grace
    View synonyms


Middle English (in trespass (sense 2 of the verb)): from Old French trespasser ‘pass over, trespass’, trespas ‘passing across’, from medieval Latin transpassare (see trans-, pass).