The unlawful personal appropriation of public lands; wrongful encroachment on, or enclosure of properties belonging to the public (e.g. highways, sidewalks, forests, harbors).
1150–1200, Middle English, from Anglo-Norman; alteration of Old French porpresure (enclosure, occupied space), from porprendre (to seize, occupy, enclose), from por- (f) + prendre (to take); from Latinprehendere.
English Wiktionary. Available under CC-BY-SA license.