Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • intransitive v. To take another's possessions or rights gradually or stealthily: encroach on a neighbor's land.
  • intransitive v. To advance beyond proper or former limits: desert encroaching upon grassland.
  • intransitive v. Football To commit encroachment.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. to seize, appropriate
  • v. to intrude unrightfully on someone else's rights or territory
  • v. to advance gradually beyond due limits
  • n. Encroachment.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Encroachment.
  • intransitive v. To enter by gradual steps or by stealth into the possessions or rights of another; to trespass; to intrude; to trench; -- commonly with on or upon

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To seize; take; take possession of; get; obtain.
  • To enter, intrude, or trespass upon the possessions, jurisdiction, rights, province, domain, or limits of some other person or thing; infringe upon or restrict another's right in any way; specifically, in law, to extend one's possession of land so as to transgress the boundary between it and the rightful possession or enjoyment of another or of the public: with on or upon before the object.
  • Figuratively, to intrude gradually; lay hold, as if by stealth or irresistible power: with on or upon before the object: as, old age is encroaching upon me.
  • Synonyms Trench upon, infringe upon, etc. (see trespass, v. i.); to invade, violate, creep upon.
  • n. The act of encroaching; encroachment.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. impinge or infringe upon
  • v. advance beyond the usual limit

Etymologies

Middle English encrochen, to seize illegally, from Old French encrochier, to seize : en-, in; see en-1 + croc, hook (of Germanic origin).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French encrochier ("seize"), from en- + croc ("hook"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Q: Local authorities issue bonds, partake in joint ventures, lend to SME's - in short, encroach on turf previously exclusively occupied by banks, the capital markets, and business.

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  • If you stand in that area, you can now look out across the subdivisions, which are beginning to encroach, which is the explanation for my recommendation to the President that we create a larger protected area.

    Press Briefing On Protecting Critical Lands Across America

  • Everything you said sounds wonderful and golden -- except that neocons are perpetually revising the definition of "encroach" and what it means to "speak out against Government."

    Propeller Most Popular Stories

  • Within hours of reports that Mukherjee himself was at the receiving end of such calls, Raja activated his ministry to take steps against such calls that "encroach" into the privacy of telecom consumers, an issue that has been haunting every single consumer despite the regulator

    The Times of India

  • Within hours of reports that the finance minister himself was at the receiving end of such calls, Raja activated his ministry to take steps against such calls that 'encroach' into the privacy of telecom consumers, an issue that has been haunting every single consumer despite the Trai attempts to ban such a nuisance.

    The Financial Express

  • As the confessional wends its way around the circle and begins to conclude, the girls anxiously wipe away their tears, and take up their obstinance once again as thoughts of their parents waiting outside the door begin to encroach upon the fragile intimacy of the classroom.

    American Grace

  • Protester Vipida Thaisawat says Cambodia is using the world heritage status to encroach on Thai land.

    Thai Yellow Shirts Protest Against Leaders, UNESCO Temple Listing

  • “I only hope that the German Army will melt away as rapidly as my alleged force of ninety agents in Mexico melts under investigation,” Donovan wrote FDR in a long memo rebutting the charge, adding, “You should know me well enough to know that I do adhere strictly to my orders and make no attempt to encroach upon the jurisdiction of anyone else.”

    Wild Bill Donovan

  • The Consent Decree itself attempts to ensure that competitors can continue to use ITA software on equitable terms; it is more important to ask if competitors will even be able to exist, with or without access to ITA software, if Google is permitted to encroach through vertical integration into the competitors' lines of business.

    Eric K. Clemons: The Google Consent Decree: Consumers Should be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

  • And there's nothing that I will do as president of the United States that will in any way encroach on the ability of sportsmen to continue that tradition.

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  • The wine was so good, that we encroached upon a second bottle.

    - Lesage, The Adventures of Gil Blas of Santillane, tr. Smollett, bk 7 ch. 13

    October 2, 2008

  • Cambridge Dictionaries Online:

    encroach on/upon sth phrasal verb

    1 to gradually take away someone else's rights, or to take control of someone's time, work, etc:
    What the government is proposing encroaches on the rights of individuals

    I resent it that my job is starting to encroach on my family life.

    2 to gradually cover more and more of an area of land
    They have promised that the development will not encroach on public land.

    August 23, 2008