fence

noun, often attributive
\ ˈfen(t)s How to pronounce fence (audio) \

Definition of fence

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 archaic : a means of protection : defense
2a : a barrier intended to prevent escape or intrusion or to mark a boundary especially : such a barrier made of posts and wire or boards
b : an immaterial barrier or boundary line on the other side of the fence in the argument
4a : a receiver of stolen goods
b : a place where stolen goods are bought
on the fence
: in a position of neutrality or indecision

fence

verb
fenced; fencing

Definition of fence (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to enclose with a fence
b(1) : to keep in or out with a fence
(2) : to ward off
2 : to provide a defense for
3 : to sell (stolen property) to a fence

intransitive verb

1a : to practice fencing
b(1) : to use tactics of attack and defense resembling those of fencing
(2) : to parry arguments by shifting ground
2 archaic : to provide protection

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Other Words from fence

Noun

fenceless \ ˈfen(t)s-​ləs How to pronounce fenceless (audio) \ adjective
fencelessness noun

Verb

fencer noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for fence

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

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Examples of fence in a Sentence

Noun We put up a fence around our yard. the only way to prevent motorists from trying to use that unsafe bridge is to put a fence across the road leading to it Verb a house with a fenced-in yard He stole watches and fenced them on the street.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Those seven wreaths will be hung on that fence line as part of a three-part ceremony. Lois Szymanski, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "Wreaths Across America spreads tradition honoring veterans to more Carroll County cemeteries," 11 Nov. 2019 The memorial was made of fence posts connected by chains hung with blank dog tags. BostonGlobe.com, "Then bagpipes began to play.," 11 Nov. 2019 But a disagreement over a longstanding fence line soon spirals into an all-out war of taste, class, privilege and entitlement. courant.com, "Community News For The Windham Edition," 8 Nov. 2019 Some people are just gonna pigeon-hole him as a two-down, fence post, run defender. Mike Rodak | Mrodak@al.com, al, "The 25 potential 2020 NFL draft picks in Alabama-LSU," 7 Nov. 2019 Only as the yaks rush the fence line when Cissell shakes a bucket of treats are their unique features revealed — wiry coats, curly horns and powerful legs straight out of Tibet. Washington Post, "A yak escaped a butcher and gained Internet fame. It’s the latest struggle for his former tech worker owner.," 22 Oct. 2019 In an attempt to avoid the bird’s attack, the man dramatically swerved from the path, the man hit a fence post and fell to the ground. Ashley Boucher, PEOPLE.com, "Cyclist Dies After Crashing Into a Fence While Trying to Avoid a Swooping Bird's Attack," 16 Sep. 2019 Aidin Vaziri reports on what changes are planned — including fence lines along the perimeter for the first time in the festival’s 19-year history. Taylor Kate Brown, SFChronicle.com, "Bay Briefing: 4,000 vulnerable people, and far fewer answers," 4 Sep. 2019 Once bottles have become trash, entrepreneurs around the world are turning them into printer ink cartridges, fence posts, roofing tiles, carpets, flooring, and boats, to name only a few items. Laura Parker, National Geographic, "How the plastic bottle went from miracle container to hated garbage," 23 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Near Southwestern Law School in the Koreatown neighborhood of Los Angeles, a grass strip between the sidewalk and curb is fenced off with green plastic to keep homeless people away. Tim Arango, New York Times, "As Homelessness Surges in California, So Does a Backlash," 21 Oct. 2019 For the past eight months, the 1,700-acre field has been fenced off to let the grass, along with 250,000 saplings, grow undisturbed by the cattle, sheep and goats that roam free in this region. Aryn Baker / Mbar Toubab, Time, "Can a 4,815-Mile Wall of Trees Help Curb Climate Change in Africa?," 12 Sep. 2019 The Park Service fenced off watering holes on the North Rim to try to force the bison into the national forest, where they legally can be hunted. Felicia Fonseca, Washington Post, "Grand Canyon to make second run at corralling bison herd," 2 Sep. 2019 The building at 1918 25th Court North is fenced, but the fence had been cut near the main entrance and homeless people are known to take shelter in the property. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, "Remains found in abandoned north Birmingham building 3 months ago now identified," 7 Nov. 2019 The playground today has been partially fenced in, and children’s playground equipment occupies much of the lot. Bulletin Board, Twin Cities, "Sunday Bulletin Board: “I found this $10 bill in the snow by your driveway. You must have dropped it.”," 3 Nov. 2019 Near Southwestern Law School in the Koreatown neighborhood of Los Angeles, a grass strip between the sidewalk and curb is fenced off with green plastic to keep homeless people away. BostonGlobe.com, "Homelessness is an expanding crisis that comes amid skyrocketing housing prices, a widening gap between the rich and poor, and the persistent presence on city streets of the mentally ill and drug-dependent despite billions of dollars spent to help them.," 22 Oct. 2019 The work is part of a 43-mile span of fencing that also traverses the adjacent Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge. Juliet Eilperin, Nick Miroff, Anchorage Daily News, "Border fence construction could destroy archaeological sites, park service finds," 17 Sep. 2019 The roughly 700 miles of fencing along the nearly 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border were all constructed under Trump’s predecessors. Los Angeles Times, "Trump and the hurricane: How much damage did he do?," 13 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fence.' 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 fence

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for fence

Noun

Middle English fens, short for defens, defense defense entry 1

Verb

Middle English fensen, derivative of fens fence entry 1

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Statistics for fence

Last Updated

14 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for fence

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

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More Definitions for fence

fence

noun
How to pronounce fence (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of fence

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a structure like a wall built outdoors usually of wood or metal that separates two areas or prevents people or animals from entering or leaving
informal : a person who buys stolen property from thieves and sells it

fence

verb

English Language Learners Definition of fence (Entry 2 of 2)

: to put a fence around (a place or area)
: to keep (something or someone) in or out with a fence
: to fight with swords : to practice the art or sport of fencing

fence

noun
\ ˈfens How to pronounce fence (audio) \

Kids Definition of fence

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a barrier (as of wood or wire) to prevent escape or entry or to mark a boundary

fence

verb
fenced; fencing

Kids Definition of fence (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to enclose with a fence fence a yard
2 : to fight with swords : to practice the sport of fencing

Other Words from fence

fencer noun

fence

noun

Legal Definition of fence

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a barrier intended to prevent escape or intrusion or to mark a boundary
2a : a receiver of stolen goods
b : a place where stolen goods are bought
fenced; fencing

Legal Definition of fence (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : to enclose with a fence
b : to keep in or out with a fence
2 : to sell (stolen property) to a fence

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More from Merriam-Webster on fence

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for fence

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with fence

Spanish Central: Translation of fence

Nglish: Translation of fence for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of fence for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about fence

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