from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A meeting, especially one that is unplanned, unexpected, or brief.
  • noun A hostile or adversarial confrontation.
  • intransitive verb To meet, especially unexpectedly; come upon.
  • intransitive verb To confront in battle or competition.
  • intransitive verb To experience or undergo.
  • intransitive verb To meet, especially unexpectedly.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To come upon or against; meet with; especially, to meet casually, unexpectedly, reluctantly, or the like.
  • To meet antagonistically; engage in conflict of any kind with; contend with; make an attack upon.
  • To oppose; oppugn.
  • To befall; betide.
  • Synonyms To confront, struggle with, contend against.
  • To meet; come together; come into contact or collision.
  • To meet in opposition or conflict; come together in combat; contend; fight.
  • noun A meeting, particularly a sudden or accidental meeting, of two or more persons or bodies of any kind; a coming together or in contact.
  • noun Specifically In physics, the coming within the sphere of one another's action of the rapidly moving molecules of a gaseous body.
  • noun A meeting in opposition or conflict of any kind; a conflict; a battle; specifically, a contest between individuals or a small number of men, or an accidental meeting and fighting of detachments.
  • noun Manner of encountering; mode of accost or address; behavior in intercourse.
  • noun Synonyms Encounter, Rencounter, Skirmish, Brush, colision, affair. As conflicts in war these are shorter, with fewer engaged, and of less importance, than those compared under battle. An encounter is often an accidental meeting, resulting in some conflict, but not suffered to grow into a general engagement. Rencounter is the same thing, expressed by a term less common. A skirmish is an irregular or desultory contest between parts of armies, as scouting parties or skirmish-lines, not generally resulting in battle. A brush is short and sharp, perhaps engaging the whole of some force for a time, but not being pushed into a long or hard-fought struggle. See strife.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb To meet face to face; to have a meeting; to meet, esp. as enemies; to engage in combat; to fight.
  • noun A meeting face to face; a running against; a sudden or incidental meeting; an interview.
  • noun A meeting, with hostile purpose; hence, a combat; a battle.
  • transitive verb To come against face to face; to meet; to confront, either by chance, suddenly, or deliberately; especially, to meet in opposition or with hostile intent; to engage in conflict with; to oppose; to struggle with

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb transitive To meet (someone) or find (something) unexpectedly.
  • verb transitive To confront (someone or something), notably face to face.
  • verb transitive To engage in conflict, as with an enemy.
  • noun An unplanned or unexpected meeting.
  • noun A hostile meeting; a confrontation or skirmish.
  • noun A sudden, often violent clash, as between combatants.
  • noun sports A match between two opposing sides.

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

  • verb come upon, as if by accident; meet with
  • noun a casual meeting with a person or thing
  • noun a casual or unexpected convergence
  • verb experience as a reaction
  • noun a hostile disagreement face-to-face
  • noun a minor short-term fight
  • verb contend against an opponent in a sport, game, or battle
  • verb come together
  • verb be beset by


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

[Middle English encountre, from Old French, from encontrer, to meet, from Late Latin incontrāre : Latin in-, in; see en– + Latin contrā, against; see kom in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Recorded since 1297, Anglo-Norman encountrer, Old French encontrer ("to confront"), from encontre ("against, counter to"), from Late Latin incontra ("in front of") itself from Latin in- ("in") + contra ("against").


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word encounter.


  • Last weekend's outing to Tate Modern succeeded in convincing me that the excitement of the encounter is an important part of today's visit to the museum.

    Archive 2007-11-01 Mia 2007

  • Last weekend's outing to Tate Modern succeeded in convincing me that the excitement of the encounter is an important part of today's visit to the museum.

    New ways of experiencing museums Mia 2007

  • While the relegation of tonight's scheduled bout from a title encounter to a non-title affair has to be a disappointment to Sonnen, the fact is that Zuffa (the parent company of both the UFC and the WEC) officials had previously announced that it would be discontinuing the WEC's 185 pound and 205 pound divisions following Dec. 3's

    Five Ounces of Pain 2008

  • In light of that a sensible cognitive policy for an individual may be (A) to adopt any new belief we encounter from a prima facie plausible source, so long as it coheres with our present views; but when we encounter a belief that's inconsistent with our present views, (B) to devote cognitive resources to trying to eliminate the troublesome inconsistency, the obvious place to start being the new belief.

    Avoiding Truth, Arnold Kling | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty 2009

  • The experience of reading poems and novels does indeed consist of the reader's fully attentive encounter with the text, but that encounter is first of all with the author's aesthetic methods, his/her "making" of the text, in the same way we encounter a painter's execution on the canvas or the composer's shaping of sound.

    Principles of Literary Criticism 2010

  • If the purpose of a police encounter is “driving while brown” or “working while brown” or “walking while brown” there is a real problem.

    Quote of the Day, Doesn’t Have A Clue edition. | RedState 2010

  • The DC to avoid an encounter is 10+the CR of the location.

    Life in the Wide World – Random Encounters « Geek Related 2009

  • One problem many investors soon encounter is where to keep it.

    Hey, That Ferrari? Put It In A Hurricane-Proof Vault 2010

  • When Picard pleads with Q to tell them their deadly encounter is just one of his elaborate illusions, Q counters with the ice cold Oh no.

    The Sci-Fi Cast · 2009

  • * Call 911 immediately if you, your family member or someone you encounter is having a heart attack

    Barbara Ficarra: Do You Know the Signs of a Real Life Heart Attack, Not the Hollywood Version? Barbara Ficarra 2010


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.