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encounter Line breaks: en|coun¦ter
Pronunciation: /ɪnˈkaʊntə/

Definition of encounter in English:


[with object]
1Unexpectedly be faced with or experience (something hostile or difficult): we have encountered one small problem
More example sentences
  • Officials said coalition forces ordered the airstrike after encountering hostile fire from the location.
  • He said the troops did not encounter any hostile fire.
  • But they're likely to encounter a hostile European Union.
experience, come into contact with, run into, come across, come up against, face, be faced with, confront, be forced to contend with
2Meet (someone) unexpectedly: what do we know about the people we encounter in our daily lives?
More example sentences
  • Upon his return he encountered Mistress Dorset in the corridor.
  • Rather, it appeared to be shock at encountering the person she least expected to meet.
  • It is only infrequently in life that one encounters people whose talents have been recognised and honoured by society.


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1An unexpected or casual meeting with someone or something: she felt totally unnerved by the encounter
More example sentences
  • Our casual lakeside encounters evolved into more regular meetings, dancing and dating.
  • But you probably don't appreciate casual encounters.
  • When you go to work, or visit a park, it is possible that you will have a range of unexpected encounters, however fleeting or seemingly inconsequential.
meeting, chance meeting, brush, rendezvous;
1.1A confrontation or unpleasant struggle: his close encounter with death
More example sentences
  • But men have also reported unpleasant online encounters.
  • It was the nastiest moment in countless unpleasant footballing encounters.
  • ‘Border guards…,’ I thought with awe, bracing myself for an unpleasant encounter.
informal run-in, set-to, dust-up, scrap
British informal , Football afters
archaic rencounter


Middle English (in the senses 'meet as an adversary' and 'a meeting of adversaries'; formerly also as incounter): from Old French encontrer (verb), encontre (noun), based on Latin in- 'in' + contra 'against'.

Words that rhyme with encounter

counter, mounter

Definition of encounter in:

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