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From Latin obtrūdō (thrust off or against), from ob- (ob-) + trūdō (thrust).


  • (UK) IPA(key): /əbˈtɹuːd/, /ɒbˈtɹuːd/
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  • Rhymes: -uːd


obtrude (third-person singular simple present obtrudes, present participle obtruding, simple past and past participle obtruded)

  1. (transitive) To proffer (something) by force; to impose (something) on someone or into some area. [from 16th c.]
    • 1651, Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan:
      By which we may see, that they who are not called to Counsell, can have no good Counsell in such cases to obtrude.
    • 1855, Elizabeth Gaskell, North and South:
      It was unusual with Margaret to obtrude her own subject of conversation on others; but, in this case, she was so anxious to prevent Mr. Thornton from feeling annoyance at the words he had accidentally overheard, that it was not until she had done speaking that she coloured all over with consciousness []
    • 2007 July 16, Andrew Martin, The Guardian:
      The prospect of people writing PhD theses that obtrude hard facts into the question of whether it's a) grim or b) nice up north is naturally worrying to all those of us who like to shout about those matters in the saloon bars of England.
  2. (intransitive) To become apparent in an unwelcome way, to be forcibly imposed; to jut in, to intrude (on or into). [from 16th c.]
    • 1815, Jane Austen, Emma, volume III, chapter 18:
      How you can bear such recollections, is astonishing to me!—They will sometimes obtrude—but how you can court them!
    • 1853, Charlotte Brontë, Villette:
      Sometimes I dreamed strangely of disturbed earth, and of hair, still golden and living, obtruded through the coffin-chinks.
    • 1991, Roy Jenkins, A Life at the Centre:
      It was not only the police but the palace which obtruded on a home secretary's life.
    • 2010 August 7, Colin Greenland, The Guardian:
      In such a very chronological book, though, small anachronisms do obtrude.
  3. (reflexive) To impose (oneself) on others; to cut in. [from 17th c.]
    • 1934, Winston Churchill, Marlborough: His Life and Times, volume II:
      She obtruded herself upon the Queen; she protested her party views; she asked for petty favours, and attributed the refusals to the influence of Abigail.
    • 2004 January 13, Marc Abrahams, The Guardian:
      This scarcity of knowledge also obtruded itself in 1998, when three scientists in Wales published a report called "What Sort of Men Take Garlic Preparations?"
    • 2010, Christopher Hitchens, Hitch-22, Atlantic, published 2011, page 121:
      As 1968 began to ebb into 1969, however, and as “anticlimax” began to become a real word in my lexicon, another term began to obtrude itself.

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Related terms[edit]


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  1. second-person singular present active imperative of obtrūdō