fence-sit·​ting ˈfen(t)s-ˌsi-tiŋ How to pronounce fence-sitting (audio)
: a state of indecision or neutrality with respect to conflicting positions
fence-sitter noun

Examples of fence-sitting in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Zelensky is expected to try to persuade fence-sitting countries to rally behind Ukraine’s war effort. Farnaz Fassihi, BostonGlobe.com, 18 Sep. 2023 Fears of retaliation continue to dominate the news cycle and loom large in the minds of policymakers, particularly in key fence-sitting countries such as Germany and South Korea. Time, 20 July 2023 There was nuance -- at least in their comments to reporters -- with a fair share of fence-sitting or waiting to see where the wind blows. Michael Casagrande | McAsagrande@al.com, al, 31 May 2023 Lincoln’s responding call for troops made plain that there would be a war and that Tennessee, like other fence-sitting Upper South states, would have to choose sides. Daniel Feller, The Conversation, 20 Apr. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'fence-sitting.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1904, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of fence-sitting was in 1904

Dictionary Entries Near fence-sitting

Cite this Entry

“Fence-sitting.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fence-sitting. Accessed 3 Oct. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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