Definition of trespass in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈtrɛspəs/


[no object]
1Enter someone’s land or property without permission: there is no excuse for trespassing on railway property
More example sentences
  • Their workmen had trespassed onto the Gregorys' property, uprooted shrubs, removed rockery stones and trampled down plants.
  • The landlord commenced proceedings for possession on the ground that the lease had ended and the tenant was trespassing.
  • The assailant was charged with trespassing, destruction of property and cruelty to animals.
enter without permission, intrude on, encroach on, invade, infringe, impinge on
archaic entrench on
1.1 (trespass on) Make unfair claims on or take advantage of (something): she really must not trespass on his hospitality
More example sentences
  • We were trespassing on the communion of their lunch, the remembrance of a thousand small-town diners, trailer-park kitchens and back-yard barbecues.
  • I felt he didn't actually know much about radical political movements of the time - trespassing on Conrad really.
  • When someone offends us we feel that they are trespassing on our rights.
take advantage of, impose on, make use of, play on, exploit, abuse, make unfair claims on
2 (trespass against) archaic or literary Commit an offence against (a person or a set of rules): a man who had trespassed against Judaic law
More example sentences
  • Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the Lord in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the Lord.
  • The player who trespasses against the rules or ignores them is a ‘spoil-sport.’
  • We know in this, within a democracy, how to get tough and put in rigorous regimens of discipline, security without trespassing against the fundamental rights of human beings in a civilized society.
wrong, do wrong to, cause harm to;
offend, distress


1 [mass noun] Law Entry to a person’s land or property without permission: the defendants were guilty of trespass [count noun]: a mass trespass on the moor
More example sentences
  • Thus in the field of tort, the traditional view is that claims in respect of torts to land, such as trespass and nuisance, can be brought only by an occupier with a property interest in the land (such as a lease), and not by a mere licensee.
  • The requirement of trespass places a civil law concept at the centre of the offence.
  • Perhaps you could give me a note, if that is appropriate, in due course, about the legislative history of trespass to Crown lands.
unlawful entry, intrusion, encroachment, invasion, infringement, impingement
2 archaic or literary A sin or offence: the worst trespass against the goddess Venus is to see her naked and asleep
More example sentences
  • After all, aren't they the guardians of the border, above all laws, sins, and trespasses?
  • Before his Damascus road experience, Paul was ‘dead in trespasses and sins.’
  • Others, with stay-at-home, nonpolitical wives, were appalled at her trespasses onto the male public sphere.


Middle English (in sense 2 of the verb): from Old French trespasser 'pass over, trespass', trespas 'passing across', from medieval Latin transpassare (see trans-, pass1).

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: tres|pass

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