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

The National Apartment Association study looked at barriers to apartment construction, which range from land availability to community opposition. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Is San Diego really that tough for homebuilders? Apparently yes, study says," 14 June 2019 As protesters blocked streets with metal barriers and hurled water bottles, police fired tear gas and rubber bullets, and threatened to use more force to disperse the crowds. The Economist, "Why Hong Kong’s protesters are braving tear gas and rubber bullets," 12 June 2019 The protest that stretched past midnight into Monday was largely peaceful, though there were a few scuffles with police as demonstrators broke through barriers at government headquarters and briefly pushed their way into the lobby. Fox News, "Hong Kong to push ahead with extradition bill despite mass protests, fears that 'anyone can disappear'," 11 June 2019 Instead of directly absorbing energy, electrons can also tunnel through barriers to get to the conduction band. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, "Wireless nanowire lasers absorb infrared, emit blue light," 1 June 2019 The fund will also help with other barriers to access, such as travel or lodging. Glamour, "Here’s How You Can Help Women in States With Extreme Abortion Bans Right Now," 15 May 2019 As barriers to inherent progress, mountains have always forced travelers to slow down and mingle with the communities that cling to them and, more often than not, to avail themselves of a stranger’s kindness. National Geographic, "Why the world’s most daunting mountains inspire me," 11 Apr. 2019 But pure physics dictates that putting an obstacle in the way of any pathogens is preferable to just spewing them into the air without any barriers. Colleen Stinchcombe, SELF, "Here’s How Far Germs Spread Through Sneezing and Coughing," 13 Feb. 2019 During his tenure at the top of Renault and its alliance partner Nissan Motors Co., Mr. Ghosn broke through cultural and operational barriers that once kept auto makers moored to their native lands—a feat that many considered impossible at the time. Nick Kostov, WSJ, "Curtain Falls on Carlos Ghosn’s Reign Atop Renault," 24 Jan. 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

17 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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