The meanings of Exit and NO Exit or Entry and NO Entry are naturally opposite.

When I see an [Entry] sign, it means 'enter here'.

When I see a [No Entry] sign, it means 'do not enter'.

In this respect, considering the definition of trespassing, what would a [No trespassing] sign mean? Could it mean *free to enter? (No - No entry without permission?)

No Entry means the contrary of Entry. No Trespassing shall therefore means the contrary of Trespassing? How could appearance defy logic?

Are we putting the car before the horse? In order to trespass, someone first needs to enter without permission. If there already were a no trespassing sign before someone had even been entering, could the absence of trespassing be interpreted as a green light?

3 Answers 3


Trespass: to enter the owner's land or property without permission.

No Trespassing: Do not enter the owner's land or property without permission.

They are contradictory as trespassing is essentially meaning go on a land that isn't yours without your permission, while no trespassing means DON'T go on that land that isn't yours

  • So that their ''contradictory meanings'' of which you speak be reflected without ''hidden nuances'', you need to add " without your permission '' at the end of BOTH definitions. The result would be exactly relevant to the point I am trying to make.
    – Specialist
    Jan 30, 2018 at 7:57
  • What is the point you are trying to make. I don't understand what you are trying to say now Jan 30, 2018 at 14:39

A "No Trespassing" sign means exactly what it suggests: If to trespass is to enter without permission, no trespassing means Do not enter without permission.

I don't think I've ever seen a sign encouraging trespassing as it wouldn't make sense - to encourage it would be to give permission, so it would no longer be trespassing!

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Maulik V
    Jan 29, 2018 at 5:21

You are correct that a sign saying "Enter" gives permission to enter. You are also correct that "trespass" means "enter without permission. Thus a sign that said "Trespassing" would be self-contradictory because it would be giving permission to enter without permission.

You are also correct that a sign saying "No Exit" denies permission to exit. So a sign saying "No Trespassing" denies permission to enter without permission. It may be redundant, but it is not contradictory. It means "Keep Out."

  • Yes. I am asking what would be the definition of NO trespass.
    – Specialist
    Jan 29, 2018 at 4:23
  • If trespassing meant 'entry without permission is not allowed', what would 'no' trespassing entail but the contrary?
    – Specialist
    Jan 29, 2018 at 4:31
  • But that's the thing, trespassing is the act of entering without permission, it's No Trespassing that states it's not allowed. Jan 29, 2018 at 4:35
  • if no trespassing states it's not allowed, then what does trespassing state?
    – Specialist
    Jan 29, 2018 at 7:11
  • 1
    @Specialist - You seemed confused. And I thought you were here to learn – that’s what this community is about. If you are going to interpret earnest efforts to help you understand as “unkind,” maybe you should find another place to ask your questions.
    – J.R.
    Jan 30, 2018 at 11:26

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