verb (used without object)
- to advance beyond proper, established, or usual limits; make gradual inroads: A dictatorship of the majority is encroaching on the rights of the individual.
- to trespass upon the property, domain, or rights of another, especially stealthily or by gradual advances.
- (often foll by on or upon) to intrude gradually, stealthily, or insidiously upon the rights, property, etc, of another
- to advance beyond the usual or proper limits
early 14c., “acquire, get,” from Old French encrochier “seize, fasten on, hang on (to), cling (to); hang up, suspend,” literally “to catch with a hook,” from en- “in” (see en- (1)) + croc “hook,” from Old Norse krokr “hook” (see crook). Meaning “seize wrongfully” is from c.1400. Sense of “trespass” is first recorded 1530s. Related: Encroached; encroaches; encroaching.