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

Keep scrolling for more

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

barricade, barrier, hedge, wall

Synonyms: Verb

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

Antonyms: Verb

assail, assault, attack

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The military released video footage showing large crowds of protesters gathered near the fence and hurling objects. Fares Akram, The Seattle Times, "Rockets from Gaza Strip hit Israel; 4 die at border protest," 31 Mar. 2019 Colton responded like any anyone would—by jumping an eight-foot fence and then disappearing into the Portuguese countryside in the middle of the night, prompting Chris Harrison to drop the F-bomb on camera. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Colton and Cassie from 'The Bachelor' Had a Hometown Date Do Over," 20 Mar. 2019 Neal is urging homeowners to consider gap insurance or parametric insurance that can cover that deductible, plus other assets that traditional policies don’t cover, such as pool enclosures, fences and outbuildings. Ron Hurtibise, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Do you have enough homeowner insurance? Here's how to find out," 13 July 2018 The Trumps are to spend the evening at the U.S. ambassador’s official residence in central London, where new fences and counter-terrorism concrete barricades have been installed ahead of the visit. Christina Boyle, latimes.com, "When Trump visits Britain, thousands of demonstrators plan to show him some resistance," 11 July 2018 Decor: The streetscape outdoor dining patio at the restaurant front entrance has cafe seating framed by a fence and protected by a traditional cloth awning. Philip Potempa, Post-Tribune, "Guide to outdoor dining in Chicago suburbs and NWI: Don Quijote Restaurante in Valparaiso," 5 July 2018 And never position yourself or others under a tree during a storm or go near wire fences and power lines. Victoria Cheyne, Houston Chronicle, "Tips for preventing lightning-related deaths and injuries this July 4th," 3 July 2018 If Sephora was on the fence about continuing their relationship with Olivia Jade, public outcry might have made the decision easy. Marci Robin, Allure, "Sephora Cuts Ties With Lori Loughlin's Daughter Olivia Jade Over College-Admission Bribery Charges," 14 Mar. 2019 Two men, Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson, who had met Shepard at a bar in Laramie, Wyoming, robbed and beat Shepard, then 21 years old, and left him tied to a fence outside of town. Tara Isabella Burton, Vox, "“Welcome home, Matt”: Bishop Robinson welcomes Matthew Shepard — and gay Christians — back to the church," 26 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Practitioners spend hours in costumes that evoke military traditions, learning Russian military history and fencing with sharp swords, including foils, epees and sabres. Mauricio Savarese, Fox News, "World Cup host set for historical fencing to forget soccer," 1 July 2018 The developer’s banner stretching across construction fencing promises beautiful apartments, with floor-to-ceiling windows, trees and flower beds, a little pool of blue water. Petula Dvorak, Washington Post, "‘Where do I go now?’ In D.C., fear as a decrepit homeless shelter is finally closing.," 10 May 2018 About 500 people responded, with bullet-proof glass, door locks, metal detectors and fencing among the security items mentioned repeatedly, officials said. Leslie Postal, OrlandoSentinel.com, "School-safety measures will take time, cost a lot, districts say," 2 Apr. 2018 Crews will continue to relocate equipment and trailer from area roads and will install water barricades and fencing. Rosemarie Stein, OregonLive.com, "Portland Metro Wednesday Traffic: A look ahead at upcoming construction projects for next week," 28 Mar. 2018 Nearly 2,000 miles of rivers, desert, chaparral and fencing separate the United States and Mexico, and a wall advocated by President Donald Trump could soon be built along some parts of the border. Daniel Wheaton, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Border Overview," 14 Mar. 2018 The omnibus spending bill Trump signed in March includes $1.6 billion for fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border, not for Trump’s wall. Salvador Rizzo, Washington Post, "Two Trump speeches, two dozen dubious claims," 9 Apr. 2018 Plans to replace fencing along that part of the border began under President Barack Obama's administration, but CBP didn't receive the $18 million needed to proceed until last year. Rafael Carranza, azcentral, "Rep. Ruben Gallego: Don't use defense dollars to build border wall," 30 Mar. 2018 The Senate bill would have extended current funding for the Homeland Security Department, including money for fencing, bollard barriers, levees and technology—but not a concrete barrier. Kristina Peterson, WSJ, "The Wall Funding Deals Trump Rejected," 14 Jan. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about fence

Dictionary Entries near fence

fen

Fen

fenagle

fence

fence arbor

fence law

fence lizard

Statistics for fence

Last Updated

18 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for fence

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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
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

Keep scrolling for more

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

What made you want to look up fence? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

an enemy or opponent

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!