What does encounter mean?

Definitions for encounter
ɛnˈkaʊn təren·counter

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word encounter.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. brush, clash, encounter, skirmishnoun

    a minor short-term fight

  2. meeting, encounternoun

    a casual or unexpected convergence

    "he still remembers their meeting in Paris"; "there was a brief encounter in the hallway"

  3. encounter, coming uponnoun

    a casual meeting with a person or thing

  4. confrontation, encounter, showdown, face-offverb

    a hostile disagreement face-to-face

  5. meet, run into, encounter, run across, come across, seeverb

    come together

    "I'll probably see you at the meeting"; "How nice to see you again!"

  6. find, happen, chance, bump, encounterverb

    come upon, as if by accident; meet with

    "We find this idea in Plato"; "I happened upon the most wonderful bakery not very far from here"; "She chanced upon an interesting book in the bookstore the other day"

  7. run into, encounterverb

    be beset by

    "The project ran into numerous financial difficulties"

  8. meet, encounter, receiveverb

    experience as a reaction

    "My proposal met with much opposition"

  9. meet, encounter, play, take onverb

    contend against an opponent in a sport, game, or battle

    "Princeton plays Yale this weekend"; "Charlie likes to play Mary"


  1. encounternoun

    An unplanned or unexpected meeting.

    Their encounter was a matter of chance

  2. encounternoun

    A hostile meeting; a confrontation or skirmish.

  3. encounternoun

    A sudden, often violent clash, as between combattants

  4. encounternoun

    A match between two opposing sides

  5. encounterverb

    To meet (someone) or find (something) unexpectedly.

  6. encounterverb

    To confront (someone or something), notably face to face.

  7. encounterverb

    To engage in conflict, as with an enemy.

  8. Etymology: Recorded since 1297, encountrer, encontrer, from encontre, from incontra itself from in- + contra.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. ENCOUNTERnoun

    Etymology: encontre, French.

    Thou hast beat me out
    Twelve several times, and I have nightly since
    Dreamt of encounters ’twixt thyself and me. William Shakespeare.

    Let’s leave this keen encounter of our wits,
    And fall something into a slower method. William Shakespeare, Rich. III.

    Pallas th’ encounter seeks; but e’re he throws,
    To Tuscan Tiber thus address’d his vows:
    O sacred stream, direct my flying dart,
    And give to pass the proud Halesus’ heart. John Dryden, Æn.

    Two black clouds
    With heav’n’s artillery fraught, come rattling on
    Over the Caspian; then stand front to front,
    Hov’ring a space, ’till winds the signal blow
    To join their dark encounter in mid air. John Milton, Parad. Lost.

    The peaking cornuto comes to me in the instant of our encounter, after we had spoke the prologue of our comedy. William Shakespeare.

    Propitious Pallas, to secure her care,
    Around him spread a veil of thicken’d air,
    To shun th’ encounter of the vulgar crowd. Alexander Pope, Odyssey.

    But in what habit will you go along?
    —— Not like a woman; for I would prevent the loose encounters of lascivious men. William Shakespeare, Two Gentlemen of Verona.

    Three parts of Brutus
    Is ours already; and the man entire,
    Upon the next encounter, yields him ours. William Shakespeare, Jul. Cæs.

    An equality is not sufficient for the unity of character: ’tis further necessary, that the same spirit appear in all sort of encounters. Alexander Pope, View of Epick Poetry.

  2. To Encounterverb

    Etymology: from the noun.

    If I must die,
    I will encounter darkness as a bride,
    And hug it in mine arms. William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure.

    The fashion of the world is to avoid cost, and you encounter it. William Shakespeare, Much Ado about Nothing.

    Thou stronger may’st endure the flood of light;
    And, while in shades I chear my fainting sight,
    Encounter the descending excellence. John Dryden, State of Innocence.

    Putting themselves in order of battle, they encountered their enemies. Richard Knolles, History of the Turks.

    See, they encounter thee with their hearts thanks;
    Both sides are even. William Shakespeare, Macbeth.

    Which way soever we turn ourselves, we are encountered with clear evidences and sensible demonstrations of a Deity. John Tillotson, Sermon 1.

    Jurors are not bound to believe two witnesses, if the probability of the fact does reasonably encounter them. Matthew Hale.

    I am most fortunate thus to encounter you:
    You have ended my business, and I will merrily
    Accompany you home. William Shakespeare, Coriolanus.

  3. To Encounterverb

    And let belief and life encounter so,
    As doth the fury of two desperate men,
    Which, in the very meeting, fall and die. William Shakespeare, K. John.

    Five times, Marcius,
    Have I fought with thee; so often hast thou beat me:
    And wouldst do so, I think, should we encounter
    As often as we eat. William Shakespeare, Coriolanus.

    Our wars
    Will turn into a peaceful comick sport,
    When ladies crave to be encounter’d with. William Shakespeare, H. VI.

    Both the wings of his fleet had begun to encounter with the Christians. Richard Knolles, History of the Turks.

    Those who have the most dread of death, must in a little time be content to encounter with it, whether they will or no. William Wake, Preparation for Death.


  1. encounter

    An encounter refers to a meeting or contact between two or more individuals, groups, or entities, often unexpectedly or by chance. It can also refer to a conflict or confrontation, or to an experience one has with a particular situation. In a medical context, it refers to a meeting between a patient and a healthcare provider.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Encounteradverb

    to come against face to face; to meet; to confront, either by chance, suddenly, or deliberately; especially, to meet in opposition or with hostile intent; to engage in conflict with; to oppose; to struggle with; as, to encounter a friend in traveling; two armies encounter each other; to encounter obstacles or difficulties, to encounter strong evidence of a truth

  2. Encounterverb

    to meet face to face; to have a meeting; to meet, esp. as enemies; to engage in combat; to fight; as, three armies encountered at Waterloo

  3. Encounterverb

    a meeting face to face; a running against; a sudden or incidental meeting; an interview

  4. Encounterverb

    a meeting, with hostile purpose; hence, a combat; a battle; as, a bloody encounter

  5. Etymology: [OF. encontrer; pref. en- (L. in) + contre against, L. contra. See Counter, adv.]


  1. Encounter

    Encounter was a literary magazine, founded in 1953 by poet Stephen Spender and early neoconservative author Irving Kristol. The magazine ceased publication in 1991. Published in the United Kingdom, it was a largely Anglo-American intellectual and cultural journal. The magazine received covert funding from the Central Intelligence Agency, after the CIA and MI6 discussed the founding of an "Anglo-American left-of-centre publication" intended to counter the idea of cold war neutralism. The magazine was rarely critical of American foreign policy, but beyond this editors had considerable publishing freedom. Spender served as literary editor until 1967, when he resigned due to the revelation that year of the covert Central Intelligence Agency funding of the magazine, of which he had heard rumors, but had not been able to confirm. Thomas W. Braden, who headed the CIA's International Organizations Division's operations between 1951 to 1954, said that the money for the magazine "came from CIA, and few outside the CIA knew about it. We had placed one agent in a Europe-based organization of intellectuals called the Congress for Cultural Freedom." Frank Kermode replaced him but he too resigned when it became clear the CIA were involved. Roy Jenkins noted that earlier contributors were aware of U.S. funding, but believed it came from philanthropists including a Cincinnati gin distiller.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Encounter

    en-kown′ter, v.t. to meet face to face, esp. unexpectedly: to meet in contest: to oppose.—n. a meeting unexpectedly: an interview: a fight: (Shak.) behaviour. [O. Fr. encontrer—L. in, in, contra, against.]

Dictionary of Nautical Terms

  1. encounter

    The hostile meeting of two ships or squadrons; also, a conflict between troops.

Military Dictionary and Gazetteer

  1. encounter

    A meeting with hostile purpose; hence, a combat; a battle.

  2. encounter

    To come against face to face; to engage in conflict with; to oppose; as, two armies encounter each other.

Matched Categories

British National Corpus

  1. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'encounter' in Nouns Frequency: #2317

  2. Verbs Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'encounter' in Verbs Frequency: #596

How to pronounce encounter?

How to say encounter in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of encounter in Chaldean Numerology is: 6

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of encounter in Pythagorean Numerology is: 7

Examples of encounter in a Sentence

  1. Donald Creighton:

    History is the record of an encounter between character and circumstances.

  2. Rodney Reese:

    Just a simple encounter. A simple encounter. That’s why I tried to dodge it, so I could make it home, I don’t know.

  3. Steve Beshear:

    We expect any entity that accepts state incentives not to discriminate on any basis in hiring, while the leaders of Ark Encounter had previously agreed not to discriminate in hiring based on religion, they now refuse to make that commitment and it has become apparent that they do intend to use religious beliefs as a litmus test for hiring decisions. For that reason, we cannot proceed with the tourism incentive application for the Ark Encounter project.

  4. Albert Schweitzer:

    In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.

  5. Winston Churchill:

    Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for encounter

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

  • لاقى, صادفArabic
  • сустрэчаBelarusian
  • схватка, случайна среща, излизам насреща на, стълкновение, сблъсквам се, среща, [[срещам]] [[случайно]]Bulgarian
  • narazit, setkání, potkat, objevitCzech
  • Begegnung, treffen, begegnenGerman
  • συνάντησηGreek
  • renkontoEsperanto
  • encuentroSpanish
  • برخوردPersian
  • kohtaaminen, kohdata, yhteenotto, ottaa yhteenFinnish
  • rencontre, rencontrerFrench
  • coinneachadhScottish Gaelic
  • összetűzésbe keveredik, találkozás, összetalálkozik, összecsapás, belebotlikHungarian
  • pertemuanIndonesian
  • 遭う, 遭遇, 出会う, 出会いJapanese
  • nanciscorLatin
  • средбаMacedonian
  • treffen, ontmoeten, confronteren, botsing, confrontatieDutch
  • spotkaniePolish
  • encontrar, confronto, [[encontro]] [[inesperado]], [[deparar-se]] [[com]], confrontarPortuguese
  • întâlniRomanian
  • бой, столкнуться, встретиться, стычка, [[случайный, наталкиваться, [[иметь]] [[столкновение]], сталкиваться, столкновение, встреча, встретить, схваткаRussian
  • susret, сусретSerbo-Croatian
  • stretnutieSlovak
  • srečanjeSlovene
  • anträffa, möta, stöta påSwedish
  • พบThai
  • зустрічUkrainian
  • 遭遇Chinese

Get even more translations for encounter »


Find a translation for the encounter definition in other languages:

Select another language:

  • - Select -
  • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
  • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
  • Español (Spanish)
  • Esperanto (Esperanto)
  • 日本語 (Japanese)
  • Português (Portuguese)
  • Deutsch (German)
  • العربية (Arabic)
  • Français (French)
  • Русский (Russian)
  • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
  • 한국어 (Korean)
  • עברית (Hebrew)
  • Gaeilge (Irish)
  • Українська (Ukrainian)
  • اردو (Urdu)
  • Magyar (Hungarian)
  • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
  • Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Italiano (Italian)
  • தமிழ் (Tamil)
  • Türkçe (Turkish)
  • తెలుగు (Telugu)
  • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
  • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
  • Čeština (Czech)
  • Polski (Polish)
  • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Românește (Romanian)
  • Nederlands (Dutch)
  • Ελληνικά (Greek)
  • Latinum (Latin)
  • Svenska (Swedish)
  • Dansk (Danish)
  • Suomi (Finnish)
  • فارسی (Persian)
  • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
  • հայերեն (Armenian)
  • Norsk (Norwegian)
  • English (English)

Word of the Day

Would you like us to send you a FREE new word definition delivered to your inbox daily?

Please enter your email address:


Use the citation below to add this definition to your bibliography:


"encounter." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 26 Sep. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/encounter>.

Discuss these encounter definitions with the community:


    Are we missing a good definition for encounter? Don't keep it to yourself...

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Chrome

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Firefox

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Browse Definitions.net


    Are you a words master?

    a fabric with a nap that is longer and softer than velvet
    • A. plush
    • B. tight
    • C. disjointed
    • D. reassuring

    Nearby & related entries:

    Alternative searches for encounter: