interloper (n.)

1590s, enterloper, "unauthorized trader trespassing on privileges of chartered companies," probably a hybrid from inter- "between" + -loper (from landloper "vagabond, adventurer," also, according to Johnson, "a term of reproach used by seamen of those who pass their lives on shore"); perhaps from a dialectal form of leap, or from Middle Dutch loper "runner, rover," from lopen "to run," from Proto-Germanic *hlaupanan "to leap" (see leap (v.)).

OED says Dutch enterlooper "a coasting vessel; a smuggler" is later than the English word and said by Dutch sources to be from English. General sense of "self-interested intruder" is from 1630s.

updated on July 07, 2019