Definition of encroach in English:



  • 1 Intrude on (a person's territory or a thing considered to be a right)

    ‘rather than encroach on his privacy, she might have kept to her room’
    • ‘Where people encroach on wolf habitat, road traffic accidents and shooting are increasing problems.’
    • ‘Right or wrong, I think the public perception is that these measures collectively encroach on American civil liberties.’
    • ‘During times of increased rainfall, the sea exceeded its natural boundaries and encroached on land.’
    • ‘Of course, the powerful have always encroached on the sovereignty of others.’
    • ‘The theory is that traditional bricks and mortar banks will suffer a loss of customers and revenues as internet banks encroach on their territory.’
    • ‘He felt like he had encroached on her personal territory enough for one day.’
    • ‘Huge towers grew into the sky, as the countryside gradually encroached on the city outskirts.’
    • ‘Providing you are not encroaching on their space, they are pretty placid animals.’
    • ‘It seemed to be the perfect place to sit and study people without encroaching on their personal space.’
    • ‘I lean across the table, encroaching on his space.’
    • ‘If you went out the guest bedroom window you saw the forest that was slowly encroaching on our backyard.’
    • ‘Maybe she felt like we were encroaching upon her territory, who knows.’
    • ‘Illegal shops and businesses are encroaching on public land and locals are fighting each other over customers.’
    • ‘The maps also show us some areas that are still wild, but being rapidly encroached upon by human activities.’
    • ‘Personal media, in a variety of forms, will increasingly encroach on mass media.’
    • ‘They rang up and more or less told us not to encroach on their territory.’
    • ‘Increased tourist flow may increase conflict with tigers and encroach on their habitat.’
    • ‘Maybe your cat is insecure, but maybe there really is another cat encroaching on his turf.’
    intrude, trespass, impinge, butt in, barge in, cut in, obtrude, impose oneself
    invade, infiltrate, interrupt, infringe, violate, interfere with, disturb, disrupt
    tread on someone's toes, step on someone's toes
    gatecrash, horn in on, muscle in on, invade someone's space
    entrench on
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Advance gradually beyond usual or acceptable limits.
      ‘the sea has encroached all around the coast’
      • ‘There's something quite magical about autumnal afternoons with the curtains open and the twilight encroaching.’
      • ‘They are encroaching into the space reserved for the buses.’
      • ‘Gradually strings encroach, playing at a different tempo and seemingly to a different tune.’
      • ‘His bass is strident without encroaching, but never drives the rhythm; rather, it reacts to it.’
      • ‘As with so much of ancient Britain, however, the theme-park disease is encroaching.’
      • ‘Surrounded by trees, with vegetation encroaching down its banks, this clear, languid pool is more of a pond.’
      • ‘Two of the Western Isles were so battered by ferocious storms this January that the Atlantic Ocean has encroached more than ever.’
      • ‘Sand seems to be encroaching at every turn despite government-erected barriers.’
      • ‘Humanity is being squeezed between deserts expanding outward and rising seas encroaching inward.’
      • ‘As industrialization encroached, and communications and entertainment became more instantaneous, private, and personal, communities began to lose cohesion.’
      • ‘The wet patches gradually shrink, the bubbles subside, the dryness steadily encroaches.’
      • ‘Council was addressing an application made for approval of a retaining wall that encroaches onto the boulevard.’
      • ‘The disease came on gradually, it encroached steadily.’
      • ‘I shrugged and threw a rock into the slowly encroaching darkness.’
      • ‘Soil erosion is increasing, mud slides are occurring more often and the desert is encroaching increasingly.’


Late Middle English (in the sense obtain unlawfully, seize; formerly also as incroach): from Old French encrochier seize, fasten upon from en- in, on + crochier (from croc hook from Old Norse krókr).