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The noun is derived from in +‎ road ((obsolete) act of riding on horseback; hostile ride against a particular area, raid).[1]

The verb is derived from the noun.[2]



inroad (plural inroads)

  1. (military, also figuratively) An advance into enemy territory, an attempted invasion; an encroachment, an incursion.
    Synonyms: foray, inbreak, inbreaking, infall, raid
    • 1537, David Scott, “Papers Illustrative of the Trial of Jonet Lady Glammys. I. Narrative Taken from the History of Scotland, by David Scott of the Inner Temple.”, in [Robert Pitcairn, compiler], Criminal Trials and Other Proceedings before the High Court of Justiciary in Scotland, part IX (Trials during the Reigns of King James the Fourth and Fifth), [Edinburgh]: Printed at the Bannatyne Club Press by Ballantyne and Co., published 1831, OCLC 1112867035, page 192:
      [] That ſince that time he [Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus] was become the ſubject of King Henry [VIII] of England, his Majeſty's [James V of Scotland's] greateſt enemy; and was now the cauſe of all the Inroads made by the English into Scotland: []
    • 1586, T[imothie] Bright, “The Particular Aunswere to the Obiections Made in the II Chapter”, in A Treatise of Melancholie. [], London: [] Thomas Vautrollier, [], OCLC 926293623, page 75:
      [A] child knowing the heate of fire, will as readely iudge of the perrill, as the wiſeſt Senatour, of the inroad of a borderer, or the politick captaine, of the vnequall encoũter with his enimy, []
    • 1683, Samuel Annesley, “The Chamber of Imagery in the Church of Rome Laid Open; or An Antidote against Popery. [] Sermon X.”, in A Continuation of Morning-Exercise Questions and Cases of Conscience, Practically Resolved by Sundry Ministers, in October, 1682, London: [] J. A. for John Dunton [], OCLC 1179545024, page 221:
      Whence is it that ſo many corrupt Opinions have made ſuch an Inroad on Proteſtant Religion, and the Profeſſion of it? Is is not from hence, that many have loſt an Experience of the power and efficacy of the Truth, and ſo have parted with it?
    • 1776, Edward Gibbon, chapter XIII, in The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, volume I, London: [] W[illiam] Strahan; and T[homas] Cadell, [], OCLC 995235880, page 368:
      The brave and active Conſtantius delivered Gaul from a very furious inroad of the Alemanni; and his victories of Langres and Vindoniſſa appear to have been actions of conſiderable danger and merit.
    • 1834, L[eticia] E[lizabeth] L[andon], chapter XVII, in Francesca Carrara. [], volume I, London: Richard Bentley, [], (successor to Henry Colburn), OCLC 630079698, page 181:
      While from their lovely climate, the poets native to their sweet south, the old ruins hallowed with the memories of other days, the lovely paintings, the still diviner statues, which had been their constant companions—the character had imperceptibly caught a tone of romance, calculated long to resist the inroads of worldliness and deceit.
    • 1844 January–December, W[illiam] M[akepeace] Thackeray, “My Pedigree and Family.—Undergo the Influence of the Tender Passion”, in The Luck of Barry Lyndon; republished in Miscellanies: Prose and Verse (as The Memoirs of Barry Lyndon, Esq.), volume III, London: Bradbury and Evans, [], 1856, OCLC 769792815, page 2:
      [A] certain English colonel passed though the former's country with a body of men-at-arms, on the very day when the O'Mahonys had made an inroad upon our territories, and carried off a frightful plunder of our flocks and herds.
    • 1850​ February 1, Thomas Carlyle, “No. I. The Present Time.”, in Latter-Day Pamphlets, London: Chapman and Hall, [], OCLC 559083570, pages 5–6:
      And everywhere the people, or the populace, take their own government upon themselves; and open 'kinglessness,' what we call anarchy, [] is everywhere the order of the day. Such was the history, from Baltic to Mediterranean, in Italy, France, Prussia, Austria, from end to end of Europe, in those March days of 1848. Since the destruction of the old Roman Empire by inroad of the Northern Barbarians, I have known nothing similar.
    • 1910, Gilbert K[eith] Chesterton, “The Modern Slave”, in What’s Wrong with the World, London; New York, N.Y.: Cassell and Company, [], OCLC 19944492, part III (Feminism: Or the Mistake about Woman), page 177:
      If clerks do not try to shirk their work, our whole great commercial system breaks down. It is breaking down, under the inroad of women who are adopting the unprecedented and impossible course of taking the system seriously and doing it well.
    • 2009, Marcia Pointon, “Fault Lines and Points of Light”, in Brilliant Effects: A Cultural History of Gem Stones and Jewellery, New Haven, Conn.; London: [] [F]or the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art by Yale University Press, →ISBN, part 1 (Stories Touching Stones), page 19, column 1:
      [T]he discourse of ornament was energetically appropriated by those anxious to defend masculinity and protect feminine virtue against the inroads of luxury and its ill effects on morality.
    • 2011, Mark Freedland; Nicola Kountouris, “The Termination and Transformation of Employment Contracts”, in The Legal Construction of Personal Work Relations, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, →ISBN, page 224:
      [I]n many European states, the whole notion of retirement at pensionable age and consequential entitlement to a pension seems to fall within the domain of social security law rather than forming part of the contract-based system of regulation of termination of employment. There may therefore be significant inroads into the notion of a unified or integrated contract-based system of regulation of termination of employment. However, in most European legal systems it would seem that these inroads do not encroach upon the essential integrity or unity of the contract-based system of regulation of termination of employment.
  2. (figuratively, usually in the plural) Often followed by in, into, or on: initial progress made toward accomplishing a goal or solving a problem.
    Three weeks into it, I am finally beginning to make inroads on this project.
    • 1983 October 10, Eugenie Ross-Leming; Brad Buckner, “If Thoughts Could Kill”, in Scarecrow and Mrs. King, season 1, episode 3:
      You must have been fairly surprised at Dr. Glaser's inroads into reprogramming the brain.
    • 2005, Yiannis Gabriel, “Foreword”, in Ian Cutler, Cynicism from Diogenes to Dilbert, Jefferson, N.C.; London: McFarland & Company, →ISBN, pages 2–3:
      Even in our post-Darwinian society, with evolutionary theory making inroads in many areas of the social and human sciences, the cynics' insight retains an ability to stimulate and to provoke.
    • 2014, Mark W. Greenlee, “The Neuronal Base of Perceptual Learning and Skill Acquisition”, in Stephen Billett, Christian Harteis, and Hans Gruber, editors, International Handbook of Research in Professional and Practice-based Learning (Springer International Handbooks of Education), Dordrecht: Springer, DOI:10.1007/978-94-017-8902-8, →ISBN, ISSN 2197-1951, part II (Research Paradigms), page 330:
      These insights open up novel inroads in the area of neurorehabilitation by demonstrating that disorders such as amblyopia might be accessible to perceptual training protocols.



inroad (third-person singular simple present inroads, present participle inroading, simple past and past participle inroaded)

  1. (intransitive, archaic) To make advances or incursions.
    • 1792, Joseph Emin, The Life and Adventures of Joseph Émïn, an Armenian. [], London: [s.n.], OCLC 834016217, page 358:
      [Y]ou muſt not expect him to go with you, inroading or making incurſions into Georgia; for he is an Armenian, true to his faith; and not a Georgian, falſe and diſtruſtful!
    • 1841, J[ames] Fenimore Cooper, chapter IV, in The Deerslayer: A Tale. [], volume I, 1st British edition, London: Richard Bentley, [], OCLC 3787056, page 100:
      [T]his is the first war that has befallen in my time, and no inimy has yet inroaded far enough into the Colony, to be reached by an arm even longer than mine.
    • 1982, Kamala Markandaya [pseudonym; Kamala Purnaiya], chapter 26, in Shalimar (A Cornelia & Michael Bessie Book), 1st U.S. edition, New York, N.Y.; Cambridge, Cambridgeshire: Harper & Row, →ISBN, page 167:
      All about the dreaming sea-board, but tucked well out of sight, lurked those guardians of the environment—filters, slurpers, booms, vacuums, ultramodern aids to deal with the very latest imperishables. All ruinously expensive to mount, and inroading sizeably into profit margins, but part of the small print that nearly drove Boyle barmy.
    • 2018, Pia Piiroinen, Me Habirut Mahabharata: Part 1, Helsinki, Finland; Norderstedt, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany: Books on Demand, →ISBN, page 147:
      [] Kvenland and Scythian Amazons [] poisoned Anund and his troops when they were inroading in Vinland or Kvenland.
  2. (transitive, obsolete) To make an inroad into (something).
    Synonym: invade
    • 1639, Thomas Fuller, “The Character of Peter the Hermite; His Soliciting the Holy Warre; the Councel at Clermont, and the Successe thereof”, in The Historie of the Holy Warre, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire: [] Thomas Buck, one of the printers to the Universitie of Cambridge [and sold by John Williams, London], OCLC 913016526, book I, page 14:
      [Y]ea, the Saracens had lately waſted Italy, conquered Spain, inroded Aquitain, and poſſeſſed ſome iſlands in the mid-land-ſea.
    • 1781, “Hundred of Depwade”, in History and Antiquities of the County of Norfolk, volume II (Containing the Hundreds of Clavering, Depwade, Diss, and Earsham), Norwich, Norfolk: [] J. Crouse, for M. Booth, [], OCLC 1050157292, footnote *, page 127:
      The kyngdom of Heven be Chriſt, 'teys reſembled to this noble kyng / With riches inroded mercy for to lern, and to have compaſſion. / One of another, after goddes Faſſyon.
    • 1908, O. Henry [pseudonym; William Sydney Porter], “The Octopus Marooned”, in The Gentle Grafter, New York, N.Y.: The McClure Company, OCLC 192106347, page 11:
      Andy was especial inroaded by self-esteem at our success, the rudiments of the scheme having originated in his own surmises and premonitions.
    • 2012, Peter Tschmuck, “The Digital Music Revolution”, in Creativity and Innovation in the Music Industry, Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg; New York, N.Y.: Springer, DOI:10.1007/978-3-642-28430-4, →ISBN, page 194:
      Furthermore, what initially was the main domain of record labels—the financing of music productions—was also inroaded by business outsiders.
    • 2019, Everisto Benyera, “Borders and the Coloniality of Human Mobility: A View from Africa”, in Inocent Moyo and Christopher Changwe Nshimbi, editors, African Borders, Conflict, Regional and Continental Integration (Border Regions Series), Abingdon, Oxfordshire; New York, N.Y.: Routledge, →ISBN:
      [I]n June 2008, the Ras Doumeirah incident happened. Eritrean forces inroaded the Ras Doumeirah principality, a strategic place at the narrowest crossing point to the Gulf of Aden at the strait of Babeal Mendeb.



  1. ^ inroad, n.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, March 2021; “inroad, n.”, in Lexico,; Oxford University Press, 2019–present.
  2. ^ inroad, v.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, June 2021.