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Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English encountren, from 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.
  4. (transitive, India) To execute someone extrajudicially.
    Speaking to the media, Minister Reddy said, "He (the child rapist) should be encountered. We will nab the accused and will encounter him. We will stand by the victim's family. We console them and will provide aid to the family. We will encounter him." Rapist of six-year-old will be nabbed and killed in encounter: Telangana Minister


(meet unexpectedly): cross paths

Derivde terms[edit]



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.
  4. (sexuality) A sexual encounter; sexual activity, especially unplanned or unexpected, between people not in a sexual relationship, that usually does not lead to the establishment of a relationship, and may or may not happen again. A sexual encounter could be consensual or non-consensual; in the latter case, it is a sexual assault. A consensual sexual encounter that happens only once is commonly known as a one-night stand.
    2021 October 10, Graham Bowley, “For One Bill Cosby Juror, the Work Did Not End With the Trial”, in The New York Times[1]:
    Though Mr. Cosby described the sexual encounter in 2004 as consensual, Ms. Constand said she was too intoxicated to physically or verbally resist.
  5. (India) An extrajudicial killing or execution.
    Headline: "Rapist of six-year-old will be nabbed and killed in encounter: Telangana Minister" https://www.catchnews.com/india-news/telangana-minister-says-rapist-of-six-year-old-will-be-nabbed-and-killed-in-encounter-223185.html


Derived terms[edit]


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