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

  • transitive v. To cook in a boiling or simmering liquid: Poach the fish in wine.
  • intransitive v. To trespass on another's property in order to take fish or game.
  • intransitive v. To take fish or game in a forbidden area.
  • intransitive v. To become muddy or broken up from being trampled. Used of land.
  • intransitive v. To sink into soft earth when walking.
  • intransitive v. To take or appropriate something unfairly or illegally.
  • intransitive v. Sports To play a ball out of turn or in another's territory, as in doubles tennis.
  • transitive v. To trespass on (another's property) for fishing or hunting.
  • transitive v. To take (fish or game) illegally.
  • transitive v. To make (land) muddy or broken up by trampling.
  • transitive v. To take or appropriate unfairly or illegally.
  • transitive v. Sports To play (a ball) out of turn or in another's territory.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. to cook something in simmering water
  • v. To become soft or muddy.
  • v. To make soft or muddy.
  • v. to take game or fish illegally while trespassing on someone's property
  • v. to take anything illegally or unfairly
  • v. to cause an employee or customer to switch from a competing company to your own company

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • intransitive v. To steal or pocket game, or to carry it away privately, as in a bag; to kill or destroy game contrary to law, especially by night; to hunt or fish unlawfully.
  • intransitive v. To become soft or muddy.
  • transitive v. To cook, as eggs, by breaking them into boiling water; also, to cook with butter after breaking in a vessel.
  • transitive v. To rob of game; to pocket and convey away by stealth, as game; hence, to plunder.
  • transitive v. To stab; to pierce; to spear, as fish.
  • transitive v. To force, drive, or plunge into anything.
  • transitive v. To make soft or muddy by trampling.
  • transitive v. To begin and not complete.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To poke; thrust; push; put.
  • To stab; pierce; spear: as, to poach fish.
  • To tread; break up or render slushy by frequent treading; mark with footprints.
  • To make a thrust in or as in sword-play.
  • To be penetrable, as soft muddy or marshy ground; be damp and swampy.
  • To intrude or encroach upon another's preserves for the purpose of stealing game; kill and carry off game in violation of law.
  • To trespass upon, especially for the purpose of killing and stealing game.
  • To cook by breaking the shell and dropping the contents whole into boiling water: said of eggs.
  • To gain an unfair advantage at the start of a race.

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

  • v. hunt illegally
  • v. cook in a simmering liquid


Back-formation from Middle English poched, poached, from poche, dish of poached eggs, from Old French, from past participle of pochier, to poach eggs, from poche, pocket, bag (from their appearance), of Germanic origin.
Obsolete French pocher, to poke, thrust, intrude, from Old French pochier, to poke, gouge, of Germanic origin.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
This definition is lacking an etymology or has an incomplete etymology. You can help Wiktionary by giving it a proper etymology. (Wiktionary)
From Middle French pocher ("poke"), from Old French pochier ("poke out") (Wiktionary)



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  • I perfectly poached egg is delightful.

    December 21, 2009

  • used in the sense of to trample ground

    September 29, 2008