Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

barrier

play
noun bar·ri·er \ˈber-ē-ər, ˈba-rē-\

Simple Definition of barrier

  • : something (such as a fence or natural obstacle) that prevents or blocks movement from one place to another

  • : a law, rule, problem, etc., that makes something difficult or impossible

  • : something that makes it difficult for people to understand each other

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of barrier

  1. 1 a :  something material that blocks or is intended to block passage <highway barriers> <a barrier contraceptive> b :  a natural formation or structure that prevents or hinders movement or action <geographic barriers to species dissemination> <barrier beaches> <drugs that cross the placental barrier>

  2. 2 plural often capitalized :  a medieval war game in which combatants fight on foot with a fence or railing between them

  3. 3 :  something immaterial that impedes or separates :  obstacle <behavioral barriers> <trade barriers>

Examples of barrier in a sentence

  1. Concrete barriers surround the race track to protect spectators.

  2. The tree's roots serve as a barrier against soil erosion.

  3. The mountain range forms a natural barrier between the two countries.

  4. Both leaders are in favor of removing trade barriers.

  5. Cultural barriers have made it hard for women to enter many professions.

  6. He argues that regulations should not be viewed as barriers to progress.



Origin of barrier

Middle English barrere, from Anglo-French, from barre bar


First Known Use: 14th century

Rhymes with barrier



BARRIER Defined for Kids

barrier

play
noun bar·ri·er \ˈber-ē-ər\

Definition of barrier for Students

  1. 1 :  something (as a fence) that blocks the way

  2. 2 :  something that keeps apart or makes progress difficult <a language barrier>




Medical Dictionary

barrier

play
noun bar·ri·er \ˈbar-ē-ər\

Medical Definition of barrier

  1. 1a:  a material object or set of objects that separates, demarcates, or serves as a barricade—see blood-brain barrier, placental barrierb:  a contraceptive device (such as a condom or cervical cap) that prevents sperm from entering the uterus—often used before another noun <barrier contraception>

  2. 2:  a factor that tends to restrict the free movement, mingling, or interbreeding of individuals or populations <behavioral and geographic barriers to hybridization>





Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up barrier? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to expose to danger or risk

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ