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

Synonyms for barrier


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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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web Their hydrating facial cleanser gently removes dirt, makeup, and other debris without disrupting the skin’s natural protective barrier, or stripping it of its moisture. Grooming Playbook, The Salt Lake Tribune, 13 May 2022 Reduce inflammation that can exacerbate signs of aging with this GH Beauty Award-winning Vichy Laboratoires serum, which contains a prebiotic ferment to improve the health of skin’s barrier. April Franzino, Good Housekeeping, 13 May 2022 The arrangement is opposed by many of Northern Ireland’s British unionists, who say the new checks have created a barrier with the rest of the U.K. that undermines their British identity. Jill Lawless, ajc, 11 May 2022 Gravel biking, which typically takes riders over more forgiving terrain, has a relatively low barrier to entry. Washington Post, 9 May 2022 Specialized cells within the eel’s electric organ pump ions across a semipermeable membrane barrier to produce an electrical charge difference between the inside versus the outside of the membrane. Timothy J. Jorgensen, The Conversation, 9 May 2022 The brand just launched Rose From Above, the first sunscreen to incorporate upcycled ingredients, which serves double-duty as a primer and barrier protector. Jennifer Chan,, 8 May 2022 But the rules angered many unionists, who maintain that the new checks have created a barrier between Northern Ireland and the rest of the U.K. that undermines their British identity. Arkansas Online, 8 May 2022 But the rules angered many unionists, who maintain that the new checks have created a barrier between Northern Ireland and the rest of the U.K. that undermines their British identity. Sylvia Hui And Peter Morrison, Chicago Tribune, 7 May 2022 See More

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.

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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Time Traveler for barrier

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

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Dictionary Entries Near barrier



barrier berg

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Last Updated

16 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Barrier.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for barrier


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


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

More from Merriam-Webster on barrier

Nglish: Translation of barrier for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of barrier for Arabic Speakers


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