barrier

noun
bar·​ri·​er | \ ˈber-ē-ər How to pronounce barrier (audio) , ˈba-rē-\

Definition of barrier

1a : 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 barriers or Barriers plural : a medieval war game in which combatants fight on foot with a fence or railing between them
3 : something immaterial that impedes or separates : obstacle behavioral barriers trade barriers

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Synonyms for barrier

Synonyms

barricade, fence, hedge, wall

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Examples of barrier in a Sentence

Concrete barriers surround the race track to protect spectators. The tree's roots serve as a barrier against soil erosion. The mountain range forms a natural barrier between the two countries. Both leaders are in favor of removing trade barriers. Cultural barriers have made it hard for women to enter many professions. He argues that regulations should not be viewed as barriers to progress.
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Recent Examples on the Web

But this $150 Kelty removes at least on barrier to getting out there. James Lynch, Popular Mechanics, "This Spring’s 11 Best Camping Tents," 1 May 2019 Regularly taking excessively long showers or baths is one potential problem, since that can strip away natural oils from your skin’s lipid barrier, the fatty outer layer that keeps moisture in and irritants and allergens out. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "How Often Should You Really Shower?," 10 Jan. 2019 The economics of menstruation matter — a good policy can help ensure that the cost of periods does not pose a barrier to anyone’s ability to obtain an education, live with dignity, and participate fully and productively in civic life. Jennifer Weiss-wolf, Teen Vogue, "Tampon Tax Struck Down in Nevada Vote," 7 Nov. 2018 Just a few years back, activists and organizers thought that their biggest barrier was public apathy. Harper's BAZAAR, "Signs For Hope," 16 Aug. 2018 The language barrier with some Microsoft reps didn't help. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "How I went from testing a fancy new graphics card to shouting at Windows 10," 24 Nov. 2018 The new rules mandate that compliant playgrounds need to be accessible via ramps and barrier-free travel routes, include a range of accessible play options, and provide an appropriate surface beneath all accessible equipment. Megan Barber, Curbed, "Why cities need accessible playgrounds," 20 July 2018 For travelers, don't stress about a language barrier and currency exchange rates. Kara Ladd, Harper's BAZAAR, "Just Back From...Nosara, Costa Rica," 10 July 2018 Dawn Oliver Wiand, Executive Director of the Iowa Women’s Foundation, says the lack of affordable, high-quality child care is a huge barrier to women’s economic survival, let alone success. Chloe Angyal, Marie Claire, "The Cost of Child Care Is Crushing American Families. What Will the Presidential Candidates Do About It?," 15 Apr. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'barrier.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of barrier

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for barrier

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

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Statistics for barrier

Last Updated

3 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for barrier

The first known use of barrier was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for barrier

barrier

noun

English Language Learners 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

barrier

noun
bar·​ri·​er | \ ˈber-ē-ər How to pronounce barrier (audio) \

Kids Definition of barrier

1 : something (as a fence) that blocks the way
2 : something that keeps apart or makes progress difficult a language barrier

barrier

noun
bar·​ri·​er | \ ˈbar-ē-ər How to pronounce barrier (audio) \

Medical Definition of barrier

1a : a material object or set of objects that separates, demarcates, or serves as a barricade — see blood-brain barrier, placental barrier
b : 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 : a factor that tends to restrict the free movement, mingling, or interbreeding of individuals or populations behavioral and geographic barriers to hybridization

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More from Merriam-Webster on barrier

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with barrier

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for barrier

Spanish Central: Translation of barrier

Nglish: Translation of barrier for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of barrier for Arabic Speakers

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