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ウェストコットの言うことは純然たる事実であった。個の力で勝るはずのエレンが目標を仕留め損なっているのは、毎回精霊たちが妨害に入ってくるからに他ならない。(Date a live, novel)

I have looked up the word 入る in many dictionaries but can’t find a relevant definition for 妨害に入る in this context. So what does 〜に入る mean here? Or how should I understand it generally (when it is used in an abstract sense)?

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It helps to understand that this に in 妨害に[入る]{はいる} is


(Ⅲ)動作・作用の結果、状態や目的などを表す。
...
㋗《下に移動を表す動詞を伴い、動詞連用形や動作性名詞に付いて》移動の目的を表す。
「映画を見行く」
「家まで忘れ物を取り帰る」
「町に買い物出る」

(source: 明鏡国語辞典)

In other words it indicates the purpose of a movement verb like [入る]{はいる}, 行く, 帰る, etc. So 妨害に[入る]{はいる} means to enter/step in/approach in order to interfere/get in the way.

A few other examples:

見舞いに行く
To go in order to visit someone [who is sick]

学生が質問に来る
A student comes in order [to ask] a question

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So what does 〜に入る mean here?

〜に入る here is just a modification for 妨害, so it is basically equivalent to 妨害してくる.

Or how should I understand it generally

You can think of X に入る as "come and do X" or "start to do X".

Here are examples that I came up with:

  • 仲裁に入る
  • 成層圏に入る
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    I think 成層圏に入る means you physically enter the sphere, right? – broken laptop Mar 28 at 15:13

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