Meaning of “encounter” in the English Dictionary

"encounter" in British English

See all translations

encounternoun [ C ]

uk /ɪnˈkaʊn.tər/ us /ɪnˈkaʊn.t̬ɚ/

a meeting, especially one that happens by chance:

I had an alarming encounter with a wild pig.
This meeting will be the first encounter between the party leaders since the election.

an occasion when people have sex, usually with someone they have not met before

an occasion when two teams play against each other:

In their last encounter with Italy, England won 3–2.

More examples

  • She has written a memoir of her encounters with W.H. Auden over the years.
  • I had a bruising encounter with my ex-husband last week.
  • I had a strange encounter with a French man on my way to work.
  • She reported an interesting encounter with an ex-soldier.
  • It was one of a number of amusing encounters last week.

encounterverb [ T ]

uk /ɪnˈkaʊn.tər/ us /ɪnˈkaʊn.t̬ɚ/

encounter verb [ T ] (MEET)

formal to meet someone unexpectedly:

On their way home they encountered a woman selling flowers.

More examples

  • She was, he says, the most violent woman he had encountered in 13 years as an officer.
  • As we left the memorial area we encountered a group of German students.
  • The football fans that we encountered seemed harmless enough.
  • On my way to the station I encountered a small child, begging.
  • He was probably the most obnoxious person I've ever encountered.

(Definition of “encounter” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"encounter" in American English

See all translations

encounterverb [ T ]

us /ɪnˈkɑʊn·tər/

to meet someone unexpectedly, or to experience, esp. something unpleasant:

In the kitchen I encountered a woman I had never seen before.
He was shocked by the hostility he encountered.
encounter
noun [ C ] us /ɪnˈkɑʊnt·ər/

My first encounter with death was when Abraham died.

(Definition of “encounter” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"encounter" in Business English

See all translations

encounterverb [ T ]

uk /ɪnˈkaʊntər/ us

to experience a situation, especially something that is unexpected or unpleasant:

We encountered a problem with the fuel pump during safety tests.
This is the first time I have encountered racism at work.

encounternoun [ C ]

uk /ɪnˈkaʊntər/ us

a meeting with someone, especially one that is unexpected or unpleasant:

Customer service representatives are trained to handle encounters with angry customers.

(Definition of “encounter” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)