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Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English encountren, from rom Anglo-Norman encountrer, Old French encontrer (to confront), from encontre (against, counter to), from Late Latin incontrā (in front of) itself from Latin in (in) + contrā (against).



encounter (third-person singular simple present encounters, present participle encountering, simple past and past participle encountered)

  1. (transitive) To meet (someone) or find (something), especially unexpectedly.
    • 2021 February 24, Greg Morse, “Great Heck: a tragic chain of events”, in RAIL, number 925, page 39:
      It ran derailed for about 500 yards before encountering a set of points, which caused it to veer into the path of an Immingham-Ferrybridge coal train, powered by Freightliner 66521 (one of a class of locomotive well-known for being well-built enough to destroy anything that got in its way).
  2. (transitive) To confront (someone or something) face to face.
  3. (transitive, intransitive) To engage in conflict, as with an enemy.
    Three armies encountered at Waterloo.


(meet unexpectedly): cross paths



encounter (plural encounters)

  1. A meeting, especially one that is unplanned or unexpected.
    Their encounter was a matter of chance.
    • 1907 August, Robert W[illiam] Chambers, chapter III, in The Younger Set, New York, N.Y.: D. Appleton & Company, OCLC 24962326:
      That was Selwyn's first encounter with the Ruthvens. A short time afterward at the opera Gerald dragged him into a parterre to say something amiable to one of the amiable débutante Craig girls—and Selwyn found himself again facing Alixe.
    • 1995, Maija Kalin, Coping with problems of understanding: repair sequences in coversations between native and non-native speakers:
      As they have planned the encounters, they mostly have control over the time limits.
  2. A hostile, often violent meeting; a confrontation, skirmish, or clash, as between combatants.
  3. (sports) A match between two opposing sides.
    • 2011 October 29, Phil McNulty, “Chelsea 3-5 Arsenal”, in BBC Sport:
      Andre Santos equalised and the outstanding Theo Walcott put Arsenal ahead for the first time before Juan Mata's spectacular strike set up the finale for an enthralling encounter.


Derived terms[edit]


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