How to use the word "incursion".

I’ve seen the word “incursion” used in terms of hostile incursions of foreign armies crossing national borders, but what about “incursion” on private property. Is that possible? Is it possible to use the word incursion in a domestic sense as in gangs trespassing onto private property? I’d like to know when and when not to use the word “incursion”. I look forward to your feedback.

The trendy term where I live is “Home Invasion”

Incursion is defined as invasion but perhaps of a lesser degree than a full invasion where the invaders tend to stay rather than withdraw after a short period

“Incursion” is simply the opposite of “excursion”; it need not be pejorative or imply force or illegality. For example, in my daugher’s school they have excursions, where the class goes off to see something, or engage in some activity, of educational value, and incursions, where somebody comes into the school in order to give a presentation or conduct an activity, or whatever.

“Home invasion” implies illegality and usually force, but of course it only applies to homes, not all properties. And it usually implies that the residents are there at the time; otherwise it’s just housebreaking.

If you’re looking for a word that signifies unlawful entry on properties of all kinds, it’s “trespass”.

It is common in aviation terminology. For example “airspace incursion” (when someone flies into a restricted airspace without an ATC clearance), and “runway incursion” (when someone’s use of a runway conflicts with someone else). Of course, these uses of “incursion” imply a negative connotation.

“Incursion” is not the opposite of “excursion”. “Incursion” does have a pejorative meaning:dictionary definition, (usually a military foray) whereas “excursion” is a short journey.

The school where I work also uses “incursion” when referring to people coming in to make a presentation. I find it kind of irritating that an educational institution could get the meaning of a word so wrong. A better word in this case would be “visit”.

Maybe it says something about how the school administration views the presenters …

Ref Cara mel

I’d rather say that “incursion” simply meant the opposite of “excursion” until Nixon used it to describe what they were secretly doing in Laos.

As a direct result of that euphemistic usage the word acquired the connotations of forceful and negative.

Which connotations might now be wearing off after 50 years or might still be getting reinforced. Or more likely both; English is like that.

There is also the adjective form, “incursive.”

For instance, one might say, “my handwriting is unreadable when it is incursive.”

Yeah, English is like that - not disputing that point. But the etymology of “incursion” meaning an attack or raid goes way before Nixon. You can look it up in any old dictionary.

According to, the definition of incursion as “hostile attack” dates back to the early 15th century.

The basis meaning, according to the OED, is “The action of running in or of running against”. It’s not pejorative, but it is frequently used in contexts which imply hostility and, yes, this goes back well before Nixon. But its use is not pejorative - the person perpetrating the incursion may well call it an incursion, while maintaining (and believing) that it is entirely justified and even necessary - and in any event the use of the word is not confined to cases involving hostility. I don’t think you can say that the school is “wrong” to speak of incursions and excursions.

It’s of course also related to the verb “incur”, which again is frequently used in contexts which imply trouble, or danger, or at least expense, but is not limited to those contexts.

Thanks for setting me straight folks. Gotta research more and shoot from the hip less. :smack::smack:

Whereupon, anybody who tries to read your writing (and who is uninhibited about using foul language), becomes cursive.

An incursion is similar to an invasion (and, like ‘invasion’, can be used in a more metaphorical sense), but it’s smaller in scale or time. If an invasion is massing your army on the border and charging across it, an incursion is more like sending out a raid or a scouting party.

Since the word "incursion"denotes “the act of entering”, if the police raid a property with a warrant, can that also be properly called an “incursion on a property”?

Yes. If entry by invitation can be an incursion, as in the case of someone coming into a school to make a presentation or conduct an event, then entry by lawful authority can reasonably be called an incursion also.

Strict definitions notwithstanding, incursion implies to me some sense of illegality or at least unwelcomeness. The school at which I am a governor, does not have ‘incursions’ of visiting speakers - they are [nearly] always welcome. Now OFSTED inspectors on the other hand…

The word “incursion” does not denote a simple “act of entering”. An incursion is a hostile entrance. Other synonyms are raid, attack, foray, onslaught etc. Here is a bunch of synonyms: None of them suggest any kind of invitation/welcome/hospitality.

You could use the word in the context of “incursion on a property” - from the point of view of the resident it would be an incursion, but the police would not use the term. However, in relation to a visit to a school? No way, it’s just not the correct use of the word.

The use of “school incursions” is quite common from what I can see online.

To answer the original question - use the word however you want to, to mean absolutely anything you want it to. After all, this is how language evolves. There is no right or wrong usage. Whatever anyone says or writes is just fine.