fence

noun, often attributive
\ ˈfen(t)s \

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 \ adjective
fencelessness noun

Verb

fencer noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for fence

Synonyms: Noun

barricade, barrier, hedge, wall

Synonyms: Verb

bulwark, cover, defend, fend, forfend, guard, keep, protect, safeguard, screen, secure, shield, ward

Antonyms: Verb

assail, assault, attack

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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

Osborne crashed the truck into a playground fence and fired several shots at a group of students outside for recess. Jeffrey Collins, The Seattle Times, "SC teen pleads guilty to murder in death of father, boy," 12 Dec. 2018 These symbols, really hieroglyphs, appeared on posts and bridge abutments, on fences and outbuildings. Roy Berendsohn, Popular Mechanics, "The Hobo Hieroglyphs: Their Secret Symbols, Explained," 21 Nov. 2018 Below the turbine there’s an adorable rural setting complete with rolling green hills and a cottage featuring a satellite dish, picket fence, and working porch light. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "New Lego kit builds a working 3-foot wind turbine," 28 Sep. 2018 Monday: Rhys Hoskins swings for the fences in the Home Run Derby, 8 p.m. Scott Lauber, Philly.com, "Phillies' Maikel Franco making a play to stay | Extra Innings," 12 July 2018 The Major Leaguers swing for the fences in their Home Run Derby on Monday night and participate in the All-Star Game on Tuesday night. David Furones, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Hollywood youth baseball player qualifies for MLB’s Jr. Home Run Derby," 12 July 2018 In a nutshell, the gate and fence and fee program are unpermitted. Peter Fimrite, SFChronicle.com, "Fight brewing over Privates Beach in Santa Cruz County, which charges $100 yearly fee," 12 July 2018 Compounding the challenge for opposing pitchers is that the homers have come organically, and not because the Dodgers are swinging for the fences. Mike Digiovanna, latimes.com, "Kenta Maeda dominates the Cubs over seven innings in 2-1 win," 26 June 2018 Jonah Hill Has Pink Hair Now Alo Ceballos/Getty Images The low-key style icon swings for the hair-color fences. Tyler Watamanuk, GQ, "Jonah Hill Has Pink Hair Now," 18 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

At airports large and small, there has been an emphasis on installing enhanced fencing and deploying more-advanced motion detectors and other sensors to identify intruders. Andy Pasztor, WSJ, "Horizon Air Plane Theft, Crash Exposes Cracks in Airport Security," 11 Aug. 2018 The National Capital Planning Commission on Thursday postponed a decision on the Smithsonian National Zoo’s proposal for extended security fencing and the reduction of the zoo’s pedestrian entrances from 13 to three. Michael E. Ruane, Washington Post, "Plans for new Zoo fence and entrance put on hold," 12 July 2018 To get the farm up and running, the center will spend about $75,000 for fencing, equipment and irrigation supplies and to drill a well. Yvonne Wenger, baltimoresun.com, "Baltimore's Franciscan Center to farm land in Howard County to help feed the city's poor," 24 Apr. 2018 Instead, the money has been used to strengthen or replace existing fencing with more secure fencing. Jill Colvin, The Seattle Times, "Reading between the lines of Trump’s Oval Office tussle," 11 Dec. 2018 Mitch Byers, 25, a foreman at a fencing company in Paradise, lost his home in the Camp Fire and moved his family to Arizona less than two weeks later. Harriet Torry, WSJ, "Economic Damage From California Fires Spreads Further Than Blazes," 11 Dec. 2018 The first generation of conservation involved fencing in national parks, Coe says. David Scharfenberg, BostonGlobe.com, "Did humans drive this polar bear insane?," 13 July 2018 Among their options: installing panic buttons across campus, constructing fencing to wrap around the entire campus, remodeling the front entrance, relocating some classes and installing locking mechanisms inside every classroom door. Shelby Webb, Houston Chronicle, "Santa Fe ISD trustees to vote on high school security upgrades," 10 July 2018 Ax-throwing centers have popped up in places from South Florida to Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles, featuring fenced-in throwing lanes to chuck axes, take out aggression and channel Viking skills in a safe environment. Kyle Arnold, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Ax-throwing joint coming to downtown Orlando," 10 July 2018

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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Learn More about fence

Dictionary Entries near fence

fen

Fen

fenagle

fence

fence arbor

fence law

fence lizard

Statistics for fence

Last Updated

10 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

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

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

: 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 \

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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with fence

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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

Comments on fence

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