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verb ob·struct \əb-ˈstrəkt, äb-\

Simple Definition of obstruct

  • : to block (something, such as a pipe or street) so that things cannot move through easily

  • : to slow or block the movement, progress, or action of (something or someone)

  • : to be in front of (something) : to make (something) difficult to see

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of obstruct

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to block or close up by an obstacle

  3. 2 :  to hinder from passage, action, or operation :  impede

  4. 3 :  to cut off from sight <a wall obstructs the view>

obstructive play \-ˈstrək-tiv\ adjective or noun
obstructiveness noun
obstructor play \-tər\ noun

Examples of obstruct in a sentence

  1. A large tree obstructed the road.

  2. A piece of food obstructed his airway and caused him to stop breathing.

  3. She was charged with obstructing police.

  4. She was charged with obstructing justice by lying to investigators.

Origin of obstruct

Latin obstructus, past participle of obstruere, from ob- in the way + struere to build, heap up — more at ob-, strew

First Known Use: 1590

Synonym Discussion of obstruct

hinder, impede, obstruct, block mean to interfere with the activity or progress of. hinder stresses causing harmful or annoying delay or interference with progress <rain hindered the climb>. impede implies making forward progress difficult by clogging, hampering, or fettering <tight clothing that impedes movement>. obstruct implies interfering with something in motion or in progress by the sometimes intentional placing of obstacles in the way <the view was obstructed by billboards>. block implies complete obstruction to passage or progress <a landslide blocked the road>.

OBSTRUCT Defined for Kids


verb ob·struct \əb-ˈstrəkt\

Definition of obstruct for Students


  1. 1 :  to block or make passage through difficult <A fallen tree is obstructing the road.>

  2. 2 :  to be or come in the way of :  hinder <She was uncooperative and obstructed the investigation.>

  3. 3 :  to make (something) difficult to see <The new building obstructs their view of the ocean.>

Word Root of obstruct

The Latin word struere, meaning “to build,” and its form structus give us the root struct. Words from the Latin struere have something to do with building. A structure is something that was built, such as a house. To construct is to build by combining parts together. To obstruct is to build an obstacle that blocks a passage or path. Destruction is the process of taking apart something that was built.

Medical Dictionary


transitive verb ob·struct \əb-ˈstrəkt, äb-\

Medical Definition of obstruct

  1. :  to block or close up by an obstacle <veins obstructed by clots>

Seen and Heard

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


to expose to danger or risk

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