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

Volume/Speed: 600 cfm/145 mph EGO LB5300 An effective leaf mover with a focused air stream, well suited to moving damp leaves out of channels and along fence lines. Drains its battery quickly; use boost mode with discretion. Ryan D'agostino, Popular Mechanics, "We Test the Very Best Leaf Blowers You Can Buy," 5 Nov. 2018 Agents patrolling a border fence in a remote desert area in Arizona several miles west of the Lukeville Port located the group. Paulina Dedaj, Fox News, "128 illegal immigrants found abandoned in Arizona, Border Patrol says," 2 Oct. 2018 Criminal damage Someone damaged a retractable fence post of a home in the 2500 block of Independence Avenue on June 28, police said. Alexandra Kukulka, chicagotribune.com, "Blotter: Wallets stolen from lockers in Glenview," 6 July 2018 Mexican migrants leap from the border fence into the United States along the US-Mexico border near Tijuana in this November 1991 file photo. Brenda Medina And Glenn Garvin, miamiherald, "Trump dialed it up to 10, but his predecessors often treated migrants with disdain," 2 July 2018 Pogreba again turned toward the fence line and ran into a field. Jim Riccioli, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Here's what authorities say happened leading up to a massive manhunt for Jonathan Pogreba in Eagle," 7 June 2018 On Sunday, Israeli forces killed three Islamic Jihad militants in retaliation for an explosive device planted along the Gaza border fence. Ruth Eglash And Hazem Balousha, BostonGlobe.com, "Tensions rise as Gaza militants fire more than 50 mortars, rockets into Israel," 29 May 2018 My duties were to pick and sort passion fruit, install fence posts and irrigation systems, and drive a large tractor. Mike Miller, PEOPLE.com, "Han Solo Star Alden Ehrenreich on Why Getting Paid Less for Films Can Sometimes Be a Good Thing," 25 May 2018 After a violent day of protests along the Gaza border fence that coincided with the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, late-night hosts weighed in on the building's relocation from Tel Aviv. Katie Kilkenny, The Hollywood Reporter, "Late-Night Hosts Tee Off on Opening of U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem," 14 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Toskas said over half of buildings in the Mati area, 30 kilometers (19 miles) east of Athens, were constructed without permits, while beaches were fenced off, obstructing people fleeing the flames from reaching the water. Costas Kantouris And Menelaos Hadjicostis, Fox News, "Burials of Greece's wildfire victims begin," 28 July 2018 Italians, meanwhile, object that migrants are being fenced out by foreign leaders — in France, Switzerland and Austria — looking out only for themselves. Chico Harlan, Washington Post, "The French-Italian border reveals the essence of the European clash on migration," 28 June 2018 This is why Drake and Robinson recommend being extremely vigilant with pets, especially if your backyard is not fenced in. Elena Weissmann, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Why coyote sightings are so common in Milwaukee, and what to do if you see one," 18 June 2018 The worst case would be for the burial ground to end up like the historic Germantown potter’s field, which was fenced off after the Philadelphia Housing Authority’s Queen Lane tower was torn down. Inga Saffron, Philly.com, "Queen Village makes room for memorial to a historic African American burial ground," 7 June 2018 Steel fencing replaces the concrete wall in especially rugged areas. Fox News, "Israeli wall rising near border with Lebanon stokes tensions," 6 Sep. 2018 Sunnyslope collects signatures Sunnyslope is in the process of collecting petition signatures to begin fencing off a number of its alleys. Megan Janetsky, azcentral, "'Highway for bad things': Phoenix tries closing alleys after neighbors complain of crime," 6 July 2018 According to the Albany County Sheriffs Office, the tornado caused minimal damage to some structures, power poles, power lines, and fencing. Gina Martinez, Time, "This Guy Snapped Some Spectacular Pictures of a Tornado in Wyoming (With His Phone!)," 7 June 2018 Danijel Glumac, 29, of Indianapolis, pleaded guilty to money laundering and to fencing the items the Finans stole. Justin L. Mack, Indianapolis Star, "Indiana trio that scammed $1.2 million from Amazon gets sentenced to federal prison," 5 June 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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Dictionary Entries near fence

fen

Fen

fenagle

fence

fence arbor

fence law

fence lizard

Statistics for fence

Last Updated

12 Dec 2018

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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